the dirty business of the church

I have been interviewing for a new position at another church for six months now.  It was a large church very far away from my home, but I made it through several phases of the interview process and had grown extremely interested in the position.  After the final phase: the weekend visit, I have received a phone call that the search committee would like to end the process with me now.  Honestly it was a demoralizing and painful phonecall to take.

As with anyone who receives this type of phonecall, my first questions were, “What was it about me that you didn’t like?  Is there anything I can work on for my next potential interview?”  The initial response was that I just didn’t seem to fit the church, which could mean millions of things!  As I pressed for more specific examples of areas I can improve, the search committee chair said, “We believe in our process and we took into consideration all the feedback everyone gave us from your weekend visit.  We felt like you connected extremely well with our youth and we know that you are a very gifted youth worker.  But we felt that it took you a while to connect and engage the adults.”

The next statement nearly drove me to hang the phone up on the spot.  She said, “This position is of a director in every sense of the word.  Much like a band director guides the different sections of the band, this position will direct many different aspects of the ministry.”

Those were my words.  That was my analogy.  In my short meeting with the Interim Youth Director, as he stumbled and stuttered through a shaky explanation of what it is like to lead the youth ministry at this church, I interjected my philosophy of what youth ministry should be, to his deep sigh of relief.  He obviously liked the idea, so he used it to stab me in the back.

I didn’t defend myself and claim my analogy.  As I listened to the explanation of the committees’ final decision, it was becoming clear to me that it was the Interim’s opinion of me that reigned supreme.  It became clear that they did not feel that I am suited to carry out my own philosophy.

I trust in God’s plan.  We had prayed that if this was not where we were meant to be, that it would be perfectly clear to us.  Up until that phonecall, it was looking fairly clear that we would be moving.  The sting of the door being slammed in our face is fading and we are moving on, thankful that it was made clear that this wasn’t the church for us.

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