To this day, I suspect that Berean’s search committee had resumes from two Charles Kings (it is, after all, a pretty common name) and that they pulled the wrong one when making the call. Mistake or no, there I was, and I hope Berean will agree God gave us eleven good years together!
During a time of restlessness, nine years into my tenure in Burnsville, I scanned music ministry job postings. We ended up going to interview with a church in North Carolina. It was a botched weekend, on the church’s side: they had not been clear about the expectations, and it seemed they were eager to move much faster than we were, or than we thought they were. There were other issues that concerned Karen. We returned to Minnesota, disagreeing pretty strongly about whether to take the next step, which seemed to be tantamount to agreeing to go.
We were approaching our 20th wedding anniversary, and a decade in ministry, and had the most difficult, most terrifying season of life together. Finally, even my thick head could see that even if I didn’t see the danger Karen saw, she has a better danger radar than I do; she is smarter than I am; and that this move might just undo us. Call it feminine intuition. I call it the Holy Spirit. She was right. And when I gave that church my final “no,” we stepped back and assessed the situation.
Karen, being Karen, thought she was wrong to be so obstinate. I believed she had to be in order for me to pay attention to her keener spiritual sense. She promised never again to say “no” to a job I was interested in. I asked her to say “no” as often as she needed to to keep me from being stupid.
Two years later (during which time I was not looking for other positions!) I was candidating for the worship and music position at College Church in Wheaton. True to her word, Karen never said “no.” I had finally learned enough (if no more) to ask, include, and press her input at every step. When we were asked to come to College Church, it was for both of us an exciting step to take. Not easy, mind you . . . leaving people you love, and a home in which you are happy, is never easy. But it was exciting.
Thirty years ago this month, I became a pastoral musician. I’m still trying to sort out all that means, and I’m still eager to fulfill that vocation, in whatever form it takes.