Friday, December 07, 2007

A Sense of Call

I think I've said it before - I write when I'm inspired. That makes it a bit difficult to write a regular blog. This week has been busy on and off and has had a number of interesting things in it. However, as you may have noticed, I have not been inspired enough to write any of it down. However, this week I was reminded of how God had gotten my attention 17 years ago.

I had a chance to go downtown on Wednesday to attend and share a few words at a former colleague's celebration of their 25th year working at Yonge Street Mission. I met Bill Ryan in 1982 when I was doing my seminary placement at Yonge Street Mission. He was the pastor of Church on the Street (COTS) - one of the first street churches in Canada. I sat on the Advisory Committee for COTS and then followed Bill as the pastor when he became the director of the Community Centre - another branch of YSM.

He spoke of his call to work at the mission and interestingly enough, my call to work at the mission was closely linked with his. At a COTS advisory committee meeting in October of 1990, Bill said to the group that since he was coming up to his fifth anniversary of his tenure as pastor of COTS he was going to spend the next few weeks evaluating his call to the church - but he was sure he was going to remain.

It was at that moment that God popped a thought into my heart: "Michael, why don't you do that?" Do what? "Become the pastor of Church on the Street!" God (I said), didn't you hear Bill? He said he was sure he was going to remain. Then I put it out of my mind - except it wouldn't stay out of my mind. I started thinking about it all the time - until about two months later when I made an appointment to talk to Bill about how he was doing and about this irritating thought that wouldn't leave my mind

What he told me at that lunch meeting blew my mind! He said that immediately after the advisory committee meeting that past October, the executive director of YSM (Rick Tobias) asked him to be the next director of the Community Centre. God had confirmed the call to me the day He had given it to Bill. We both were amazed at the timing of God.

It took me another couple of months to convince my mind of what my heart was already sure about. In July of 1991 I became the pastor of Church on the Street and then worked for Yonge Street Mission for the next nine and a half years.

No comments: