It always amazes me to see how God chooses to work. When we left Texas and Southwestern Seminary the plan was to settle in, put our heads down and just simply focus on getting Dusty through a new semester at a new school. We even looked forward to the opportunity to become a part of a local church body where we could just be members for a little while. This meant no one asking as to be heavily involved or make any type of major decision. It was a chance to recover from the burnout we had been experiencing. God, however, had different plans.
Not long after we moved it seemed like doors we’re opening for Dusty. First came the invitation to tug along to the local association meeting where Dusty had the opportunity to meet with other pastors in the area. Then came the invitation to speak in chapel in a local Christian school as well as fill in for the pastor of a local church while he was out for a family emergency. Not long after that came the call for pulpit supply at another small church (and when I say small I mean tiny) and again for the church we were attending as members. Within 3 months of us being back in southern New Mexico Dusty was provided with the opportunity to preach God’s Word from the pulpit more times than he had preached in the 7 years we lived in Fort Worth. It was exciting. Dusty was enjoying the opportunity to fill in where needed and still have the flexibility to focus on his school work and the steadily growing business.
The middle of November and into the beginning of December brought with it the incredibly short notice call for Dusty to fill the pulpit at the tiny church again several weeks back to back. We were happy to be there. The group of individuals in this congregation are loving and sweet and so inviting. After our third week in a row the writing was on the wall. They were looking for a pastor and they had their sights set on Dusty. And Dusty was feeling pulled in that direction as well. The only question that hung in the air was this: “In what capacity are they wanting to call Dusty in as their pastor?”
There was a bit of confusion as to what they as a church body thought they needed in terms of a pastor. For some they term “interim” continued to be used. This meant they wanted someone to come in, preach on Sunday, and help them to put together the needs, wants, and desires for the church as they sought out the person God had set aside for that church. It meant we would be with that church body for a year at the most.
For others the idea of “bi-vocational pastor” was the direction they were wanting to go. This would mean they would call Dusty to be the one who is the pastor of that church bringing with it all the responsibility of a pastor as laid out in Scripture. But it would also mean that the church would not be his sole source of income. This is the type of pastor position Dusty has had his entire ministry career.
And so, on Sunday December 15, 2019 Dusty preached his message to a room full of 7 people. We all enjoyed a lovely potluck lunch afterward. Once our bellies were full the business began. We spent some time talking about what the church is wanting and feeling God is leading them to do. We discussed what Dusty’s thoughts were after having taken the time to pray. And by 3 PM Dusty had officially been called, voted on, and accepted the offer to become the new bi-vocational pastor at New Life Baptist Fellowship Church in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
So here we are, embarking on a journey that is both very familiar and very unfamiliar all at the same time. The church is small and it is struggling. But they have heart. They have a heart for the Lord and they have a desire to see those who are lost come to know Him. We are excited at the opportunity to work within our community to help develop and grow our new church home while also connecting and partnering with other churches in town.
And we are scared. This isn’t our first rodeo and we have been thrown and injured in ways we never thought possible. We have had setbacks in our lives that have caused us to question each decision we have ever made when it comes to our ministry involvement and the idea of walking back into that potential is terrifying.
But God. You see, that is the key. But God. God knows what He is doing. The last 5.5 months has been rocky to say the least. Adjusting to change always is. Dusty took a class that caused him to open some old wounds and really truly finally do some reflection and begin the process of lasting healing. And that meant tempers were short and emotions were raw. But we have made it through and we are stepping out on faith as we begin this new (and not so new) journey as the pastor of this tiny church hungry for growth and change.
So I am going to ask you to pray for us. Be praying that Dusty will have is heart tuned to the Lord. Be praying for the people we will be leading and for the people God will bring to us. Be praying that we can become a place of hope and love and care for those in our community. Be praying for our family as we seek to lead and love this group of people the way God has called us to lead and love. And pray for our community that God will open the hearts to those we would reach out to.