Thursday, December 6, 2007

Divine appointment pt. 3

I met with the Assistant Superintendent of the local school district on Wednesday. He had previously said that he wanted me to substitute teach in his district and perhaps do more. In our meeting yesterday, he told me that he discussed my situation with the Superintendent. They agreed to offer me a regular teaching position. Since I don't have a teaching credential, they offered to pay for me to get my credential through an alternate program. Moreover, they want me to teach at a special magnet high school. The unique aspect of this school is that when the students graduate, they will have two years of college credit under their belts.

"I'll have my instructional coordinator get all the information you need regarding the credential program," he told me. "We'll walk you through the process, and make it as easy for you as possible. Once you get the information from my instructional coordinator, give it some serious thought and get back to me."

I'm still amazed at how this all started through a simple encounter with a man at a café. I'm grateful to God, but I struggled with a lot of mixed feelings. I don't want to be a life-long teacher. I want to be involved in ministry full-time. I know you can do ministry as a teacher, but I don't believe it's my personal calling. Three good friends gave me some wise counsel regarding the situation. They all see God working in and through this job potential. Please pray that I clearly discern God's leading in all this.

BTW, I went back to the Driver License Office (DLO) to return the second NY driver license I had. You may remember that I was going to try and hold on to my new NY driver license and only surrender my soon-to-be-expired NY license.

"Hi, I'm here to surrender my second driver license," I told the woman at the counter. "I surrendered one yesterday, but I have one more to turn in."

"Did you get a letter from New York state telling you that you had to surrender this license?" she asked. (Apparently, the government will track you down if you try to possess two licenses from two different states.)

"No, I didn't get a letter. I was just in here yesterday. The bottom line," I explained to her, "is that God would not let me keep it."

"God's power is strong, isn't it?" she commented.

"Yes, ma'am, it is."


theolsons December 6, 2007 at 10:41 PM  

Very exciting news! When will you need to make the final decision of whether or not you take this job?

Sheryl Meyer December 9, 2007 at 9:51 AM  

Brian - I was blessed to read your story about the flooded baptistry and the gym floor. I am a worship leader in the Kansas City, MO area. My husband is considering a job change that would bring us to Rochester and it seems God has led me to your blog to at least encourage you, in case this move does not happen.

I am currently on staff at at large church and we are getting ready to plant a church in the area. It is not a church split but things are weird because of some of the same reasons you mentioned in your blog that your church had confusion and/or stagnation. The lead pastor who started the church almost 20 years ago is still here and God has began moving him away from our church and into Asian pastoral leadership training, mainly in China. The problem is, while he has lost his vision for our church, he is still holding on to it. This is made possible for him by the fact that we have a plurality of leadership that has to unanimously agree on every decision. So he is really not the lead - he continually reasserts his view that he is “just one of the pastors.” He even went so far as to survey the entire congregation on where they thought our church should go in the next 10 years. He will not cast vision for anything and the church has been in a stagnation phase for about 10 months. There is no visionary leadership. It’s like my husband says, “You put 7 engineers in the same room and ask them to design something, you’re going to get 7 different designs. Then when it comes time to pick one, you’ll have 7 different solutions to its problems.” We have 7 pastor/elders and this is the predicament we are in. We have the same problem in our worhsip ministry - several teams, few of which were formed as worship leadership teams but as bands of people who “just want to play.” It’s a mess.

Earlier this year, the Lord gave me a word that I would not be on staff there for more than about a year and my purpose was to lay a foundation in the worship ministry for the church to finally hire a worship pastor (something I’ve been advocating for since 2003 - it had been thrown around that I would fill such a position but not all of the pastors believe in women pastors). That will now be a reality as I have announced our family’s intention to plant the new church. At the time God spoke to me, the church plant was not on the radar because a pastor had not stepped up to the task. What struck me about reading your blog was how you and your wife took sabbatical to seek God’s direction for your lives and ministry. Our pastor, Nick, and his wife did the same thing in August and when he came back, he said, “I’m your man for the church plant,” and resigned as Executive Pastor of our church. I had a baby girl in early October and basically had my own little sabbatical when I took maternity leave from then until now (today is my last day of leave) and my husband and I realized that God was opening the door for us to help plant the church with me being the worship director. My current salary will end as of July 1, 2008, and from Jan-July, we will be raising support while I will be leading every week for the church plant in addition to my normal responsibilities for our church. Everything is full steam ahead for that. Nick made proposals to the pastor/elders on a Tuesday and that morning, at the same time, my husband received a call from a competitor saying they had been asked to target him for this paricular position in Rochester. Michael, my husband, is an engineer and has a very good reputation in his industry so he is getting job offers all the time. This one, however, was different. It’s a huge career advancement opportunity. The thing is, he is in his “dream job” right now. My parents live here (grandchildren are their lives), we are starting the church with Nick, we’ve been remodeling our home all year, our son is in Kindergarten and very well-adjusted. We have no reason to leave - but we sense God pulling us to at least consider this opportunity. The woman did not call back for two weeks and we began to wonder if it was just another job opportuntity that wouldn’t amount to anything. I asked the Lord to not let her call back if it was not something He wanted in our lives. We sort of let it go and stopped wondering when she would call. Last Tuesday, we were on our way to Nick’s house to work on our support letters when she called again. Our heads were spinning. “What’s going ON?” we asked with a laugh.

I will tell you that as of today, we do not have an official offer but when Michael shared his thoughts about compensation with the headhunter who called him, she seemed to think it was very doable and asked him to send his resume. He asked for the combined total of our salaries! I would not have to work and could at least start out volunteering my time to wherever God would lead me in worship leadership. So we’ll see what happens. It is possible that if they want to interview him that we would, as a family, be up there the week of New Year’s, as we are going to be visiting my in-laws in Pittsburgh, PA, and would request an interview January 2nd. It would be an all-day interview and we would drive up the night before, be there all day, then leave the next morning.

I am led in my spirit to tell you all of this because we look at the Rochester area (the entire northeast for that matter) and our perception, which could be off, is that the place churches need to be planted is up there. We have SO many non-denominational churches in addition to the denominational ones here in the midwest. It is truly the Bible belt. When I googled “Rochester, NY churches,” yours was the only one that came up that was not a specific denomination. We went to Maine and New Hampshire on our honeymoon and observed the same thing. The Northeast is RIPE for God’s grace, as you have so eloquently and humbly described, and we are open to the possibility that maybe God’s plan for our involvement in this church plant will still be a reality but will look different if we take this job in Rochester.

I have been a worship leader for over 10 years and have other interests such as drama/acting and student ministry. If I’ve learned anything it is never to ignore that “still, small voice” - every time I do, it’s a lesson to learn. Thankfully, God is not the God of regret so I can’t say that I would regret those lessons, but how it would glorify Him more if I’d only listened the first time…haha….as I tell my 6-year-old ALL the time - “First time, Caleb, you need to listen and obey the FIRST TIME!”

This may just sound like gobblety-gook to you - I don’t know you - you don’t know me. We may never step foot in Rochester. We may live there. I don’t know. Moving away from my parents would be VERY hard. But we are open to God’s perfect will and when I read your blog, all I know is the Lord said, “Share.” My e-mail is if you would like to contact me. I will pray for you, Brother, that peace reigns over your marriage and your home and that the direction you seek will be clear and unclouded, pointing you to His PERFECT will and timing. I believe God with you for those things and abundantly more than you could ever think or imagine. In the authority of Jesus’ name we stand.

Sheryl Meyer Says:
December 9th, 2007 at 6:24 am
It just occurred to me that you may have e-mailed me and I deleted it. I don’t have your e-mail address or I’d just e-mail you and your wife directly. Also, I thought since your last blog entry was November 11th that possibly you don’t check this very often. At any rate, I pray you and your family are encouraged, blessed and standing firm in your faith. I may just be whacky in thinking that God would lead me to your blog because our family MIGHT move to Rochester and He just MIGHT want us to meet you to explore ministry together…but my husband and I try to leave ourselves open to the Holy Spirit and what God is speaking to us - so we walk through all open doors and see which ones He closes behind us, indicating that’s where He wants us. Please e-mail me even if it’s just to tell me that you think I’m looney - at least I’ll know you received my post.

Sheryl Meyer December 9, 2007 at 9:56 AM  

Forgot to check that I wanted follow-ups e-mailed.

Sheryl Meyer December 9, 2007 at 10:14 AM  

Hmmmm.....shouuld've read your previous posts sooner. Didn;t realize you were in Dallas. :) I can see God's favor is on you. And I don't think it's just because you need a job or need to make a decision. When we walk in obedience, His favor is a covering and we see His grace every day no matter where we are.

We're stll seriously considering the move to Rochester. Who knows, God may bring your family back there.

Brian December 9, 2007 at 9:04 PM  

Hey Olsons,

I've got to go through all the material they sent me, find out what's entailed in the credential program, and get some more details. I plan on getting back to them this week. I need to find out about salary, start date, job responsibilities, etc.

Brian December 9, 2007 at 9:42 PM  

Hi Sheryl,

Nice to "meet" you. My background is also in engineering: aerospace engineering.

Sounds like you guys are in transition with a lot up in the air, as well. My wife and know the feeling! I pray you and your husband will be able to clearly discern the Lord's leading and go forward in faith.

Thanks for the encouragement in your comments.

As far as going back to Rochester some day: anything is possible with the Lord. So often I find myself wanting to get several years ahead of God, rather than being content with where He has me now. I know there are all kinds of lessons that I need to learn. I'm slowly getting to the place where I can embrace being here in Dallas. I am excited for what's next, though I have no idea what it will look like.

Blessings to you and your husband as you follow the Lord.

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