I never candidated for the office of pastor. After filling the pulpit one Sunday when I was out here working on Founders Ministries things with Ernie Reisinger (who had recently retired to this area), the deacons aske me to consider becoming their pastor. I read their constitution and by-laws on the airplane back to Texas and by the time we touched down at DF-W I knew that I could never take on that role, primarily for two reasons.
First, they had just gone through a messy separation with the founding pastor and in reaction had written up a policy for dismissing a pastor to which I could never submit myself. It was unbiblical and not even very prudent. Secondly, though their articles of faith were painfully brief, they required their members to believe in the “pre-tribulational, premillinnial rapture” of the church. While I had no fight with those who held that view, I didn’t. So I wrote the deacons a letter, thanking them for their interest and declining any further conversation about the matter.
In an interesting and somewhat humorous chain of events, they held a special business meeting and voted to change those two provisions the next week, and followed that with a unanimous vote to call me to be their pastor. On a return visit I gave each deacon a copy of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith and explained that this would be the theological foundation of my ministry. I spoke plainly and directly about what I saw that was wrong and needed to be changed. When the key leader in the church encouraged me to preach a short sermon that Sunday morning because they were “all pretty mature Christians and don’t really need a lot of preaching,” I responded by preaching 65 minutes (note: I am not advocating this, simply reporting it in the interest of full disclosure). After much prayer and a strong sense of God’s leadership, I accepted their call.
Several observers predicted that the church would shut its doors within a year.