Friday, March 12, 2010

Beyond Our Control

NOTE: See my post of Thursday, April 18 for an important update.

After I was called to serve as pastor here in Cokato, I was privileged to talk with a more than one member of the "call committee" who let me know that the "call process" was quite a personal challenge for them.  It was enough of a challenge that some of the members felt very discouraged along the way.

Something good happened through the process, however.  They grew in their personal faith life.  They became desperate enough to pray and search the scriptures for help.  They grew more dependent on our Lord.

This is the same thing that happens whenever Christians face situations and challenges that are beyond our personal ability to handle or control. When we become discouraged or broken, we can become willing to cry out to the Lord.  We can become willing to follow wherever He leads.

I am praying that something similar will happen to me this year, and also among our church council members.  At the council meeting on Tuesday, they will appoint a committee* to examine our denominational affiliation.

This is a seemingly impossible task.  Some members of our local church have said that they will always be members of our denomination, the ELCA, and are upset that we are even thinking of examining that relationship.  Other members will leave our local church if we stay in the ELCA, and no amount of discussion will persuade them to change their minds.

How will we proceed?  I honestly do not know what our local church will do.

But, one thing I know: If we are willing and desperate enough, God will use the process to draw us to himself as we come up against what seems to be impossible.  If we are willing, God will bring us to our knees in prayer and we will pray and listen for his voice, calling us to himself.  If nothing else positive happens from call committees or denominational evaluation committees, at least those concerned will be forced to deepen their faith.  If not, I honestly think we will despair.

On the call process website of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod, you will find this prayer.
Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Are we willing to pray this prayer and honestly expect God to answer?  Are we willing to cry out to God, asking Him to "make us" follow our Lord no matter where he leads? Please pray that I will be broken before the Lord and be willing to do whatever He asks of me.  Let's pray that our church council and committee members and indeed all of us here at Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato will do the same.  Let's pray that the Lord will use this time so we can do nothing but cry out to Him for help.  Let's pray that this process will deepen our faith and trust and willingness to follow our Lord.

We cannot do this any other way.

* The committee is being established according to a resolution that was approved at our congregational meeting in late January.  The resolution came from a congregation member and I was unaware of it until that morning.  Last night I found out where it came from -- it is from the "Faithfulness Gathering" website.  I had never heard of this group until last night.  The resolution we adopted as a congregation (in PDF form) can downloaded by clicking this link.  For another perspective, go to the website of Lutherans Concerned.


  1. The links to "faithfulness gathering is broken

  2. Hi Wayne! I just checked it and it seems to work... try again...