On Jan 2, I was installed as lead pastor of Redwood Covenant Church, but that weird word “instillation” utterly fails to capture all that I experienced in that inspiring, thrilling, and emotionally draining day.
Hoping that the word “installation” just might carry connotations I have missed, I searched its meaning and found a disappointing list of tepid definitions, like these…
1. “To place machinery or equipment in a position and to adjust them for use.” First of all, I am more than a gadget. Second, I don’t want to be a gadget.
2. “To transfer software from a file to a permanent location on a disk.” I’ve installed enough software to know that both hardware and software becomes obsolete at an accelerated pace, which might concern me about my installation, but it doesn’t because I am more than code.
3. “To put into position or rank.” I don’t care for that either, because I’m not a fan of authoritarian leaders. And that’s not just because I was born in 1960. It’s because I believe that Christian leadership patterned after Jesus is much more than a position or a label.
4. “To settle into a position.” OK, that gets close, kind of. I am settling in, but not to a position. I’m settling into a call.
A biblical view of “call” is a response to God’s invitation to redirect your life toward God’s redemptive purposes. To follow God’s call is to orient your life under God and toward the needs of the world. To discern this call involves listening to the voice of the Spirit, the confirmation of the Church, your God given gifts and talents, and your intellect and emotion. Listening to your wife is also a good idea.
When a combination of the dimensions of call comes together, it’s not just good or right; it’s beautiful and true. Last Sunday I experienced a conflation of those dimensions breathed by the breath of God, directed under the guidance of the Spirit, full of mystery, joy and casseroles. And that’s why I’m so bemused by that word, “installation.”