Part 2 – You can read Part 1 here.
There was a lot of dejection and despair. When we got back, I started reaching out to people to see if they knew of anything. The person who first directed me to the church in White Rock encouraged me to connect with them and see if there was room for some sort of arrangement. The funny thing is, from the moment we were invited to speak, Alyssa and I had been joking about working there.
We started to be more intrigued by it when they invited us back, but really assumed it would never happen. But now, even though I was probably the most broken I had ever been, I allowed myself to think this might be something. The overwhelming grace and love of God and of Alyssa allowed me to be hopeful. On the 15th of November, I preached my second sermon, invigorated by the opportunity to do something. Almost two weeks later, I met with the board about the possibility of ministering there. It was a very informal interview, more so a time to see what each other had in mind and see any potential options.
A couple hours after I got home, I got a call from the board chairman who told me they were going to bring it to the church for consideration. Due to bylaws, the meeting was not until 20 days later (2 Sunday’s notice) on the 13th of December. In the meantime, I had picked up part-time work at London Drugs stocking shelves and preparing to do graveyards during the Christmas shopping season. The three weeks seemed to drag on and my patience was tested. Finally, the 13th arrived. Alyssa and I went to my parents’ church for a Christmas play and then stayed for lunch. All four of us kept looking at the time, as we did the math anticipating when the phone would ring. We left just after 2, so that I could get home and get some rest before my shift that night (you got to love midnight to 8:30 shifts).
About half-way home the phone rang, but since I was driving I let it go to voicemail. Expectantly Alyssa played the message, “Mat, its George from FBC White Rock. Give me a call when you get this message at…” no information, no hint at what it would be. I was trying to focus on driving, which was challenging as I analyzed every word and intimation. Finally, we got home and I nervously called him back. The first few seconds were painful and then finally he said, “we took it to the church and they want to consider you as our Pastor.” It was good news and a step forward. The board wanted to meet with me again, the next week, and I was invited to speak the first three Sundays of 2016. I had been under the impression that they were voting on us, not voting to consider us. However, despite my misunderstanding of where we were at, I was very excited about their due diligence and the progress we were making.
FBC White Rock is a small church, so Alyssa and I were under the impression that it would be part-time work. The thought of multiple jobs concerned us and we had been praying that somehow it could be full-time. This prayer was answered at the second meeting. The meeting took place at 10:30 on a Monday. I had worked the previous two nights and had my family Christmas get together on the Sunday previous. So I was pretty tired as I drove to the meeting and really tired as I drove home. This meeting was more of a formal interview and the questions were a bit more focused. My initial feeling was that things were going well. They got even better when they mentioned the salary and hours as reflecting full-time work. I was overjoyed at the thought of this.
Christmas was busy and when it ended, so did the night shifts. This meant, I was back to work during the daytime, but always thinking about the upcoming opportunity. Let me tell you, there is a completely different feeling when you walk in to preach as a guest, and when you are preaching for a job. My fear was that I would choke, that I would become so fixated on what might be that I forget about the process to get there. I think this is a danger we all face, forgetting that when the process is perfected, the result we seek will follow. So as hard as it was, I really tried to slow myself down and keep my focus on the task of writing.
During the summer, someone called the process of being hired to a pastoral job a ‘soul-sucking.’ From my perspective, this has been true for most of my experiences. However, in this case, it was not true, as it had been a fairly smooth process. That doesn’t mean everything was perfect but I was happy how it was progressing.