It was a Saturday afternoon when my phone started to ring, and as I looked down at the buzzing device I noticed it was our lead pastor, Mike Slaughter. Mike doesn’t call me that often (especially on a Saturday), so I knew it was important. In that moment, Mike told me that our district Methodist leadership had asked to talk with me about possibly serving another church. He said, “Tony, I’m going to tell you the same thing that a Bishop once told me: ‘Test your call’.” His wise words echoed in my head, and from there it has been one heck of a roller coaster ride.
Through a tremendous amount of prayer, discussion, scripture searching, and more prayer, Karen and I came to the conclusion that we were called to Centerville United Methodist Church. Truthfully, this choice wasn’t an easy one, because we love our Ginghamsburg Church family. The experience, the people, and the love we’ve felt over the last three-and-a-half years have blessed us beyond words. We have grown as a family and as Christians.
The one prayer that Karen and I kept saying was, “Lord, please make this clear to us. Hit us with a two-by-four, and leave no doubt where you are calling us to serve.” The night that we met with the Centerville UMC team we knew. The proverbial board smacked us in the face and we both agreed that this was where God wanted us to be.
The thoughts and emotions of leaving our Ginghamsburg Church family are still a little surreal, but there is one thing that I always remember: We are taking that family with us. The people, lessons, and love we have felt will always be in our hearts. It has truly made us better servants of the Lord.
Over the next sixty days, we will officially transition out of Ginghamsburg. But we will know that the DNA of the church runs deep in our veins. We are also excited beyond measure to see what God has in store for us at Centerville. At the end of it all we know that this is a God-calling, and we trust in that above all else.