This past year has been a weird one. God called me out of my last church at the end of last year. He provided for us through August by a generous severance package, and through now by a steady flow of preaching opportunities. And now it seems that the way He is going to continue providing is going to be through work at my local cigar shop. It is certainly not for lack of trying to find another church call. In fact, there are several that have been on the table, but as of right now God has not opened any of those doors. He opened this one. It is the only door that is open.
So I am walking through it.
I was in this place once before. After I graduated from seminary, I went right into a teaching job at a private Christian school teaching Bible and history. But a big shakeup in the school administration brought in a new headmaster who wanted to start with new people, so I suddenly found myself out of a job. I ended up working in the accounting department for a national telecom company. I was there for several years. During that time, I was asking myself some hard questions. Had I misheard God? Had I wasted all that time and money preparing for ministry? Why would God lead me here?
Those questions are popping back up, but they do not come with the terrible angst that they did before. God can do what He wants with me. I want to serve Him and love His people and be a source of grace and truth to the people I meet. I don’t need to be a church pastor to do that. My identity is not in being a pastor of a local church, but in being a son to my heavenly Father.
I love being a pastor, but I will love a break from the pressures of pastoring too. While it will be less money, it will mean more time with family and more time to finish my PhD. And perhaps more time to be consistent with my blog and writing.
And so, I will let go of the “Pastor Dan” title for now, and take up my longtime moniker given to me when I was working at A Little Taste of Cuba Cigar Parlor in Princeton, “Pastor Pardon.” Pardon being my favorite brand of cigar.