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Resignation, Part 31

This is a weekly series of fiction. You can find the other chapters HERE at my fiction page.

Everyone looked up as the door to the meeting room opened. Dale Adkins stood in the doorway. They all looked at him and smiled. David stood up and walked toward the door, offering his hand to the man he only spoken to on the phone. They shook hands for a second and then walked to the meeting table.

“Dale, let me introduce you to everyone. To your left is Teresa Smith. Beside her is Tom Davis. At the other end of the table from you Bill Johnson. Beside me, here, is Fred McGinley.”

“Good to meet all of you and good to be here today.” Dale sat relaxed and ready to go. Interviews of any sort were a necessary evil.

David spoke first. “Let’s start out with an easy one. When did you come to know the Lord?”

Dale licked his lips. He was just a little dry and wished he had some water. He kind of grinned and gave the answer he always gave, the one that caused more than one person to scratch their heads. “I feel like I’ve always known Him. I’ve been in church all my life and always loved it. I was a good boy and never gave my parents any trouble. I think most people just assumed I was saved. Then, I was sitting in church one Sunday. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with the thought that I was as lost as anyone. I prayed to the Lord and repented. I didn’t really need anyone to walk me through it. I knew what to do. Then I went down at the invitation and made it public.”

Tom had a perplexed look on his face. “You mean no one led you to the Lord?” Tom scratched his chin as he asked the question.

“Well, Tom…it’s Tom, right? I would say that hundreds of people led me to the Lord. Hundreds of sermons and Sunday school lessons. Years of VBS. I didn’t really need anyone to walk me through it. I knew that. But most of all, I would say that the Lord led me to the Lord.”

Tom frowned. “I’m not sure what that means.’

Dale grinned and chuckled a bit. “Tom, some days I don’t either.” Everyone else, including Tom, chuckled along with Dale.

Teresa spoke up. “Tell us about your family.”

Dale sat up a little straighter. “I’ve been married to Melissa for almost ten years. We have two boys and daughter. The boys are Ben and Caleb. Our daughter is Leah, but she is much prettier than the one that was married to Jacob.”

Fred McGinley snorted and worked hard to hold to keep from laughing out loud. He decided that he would ask the next question.

“How did you get into the ministry?”

Dale paused for just a second. Sometimes he asked himself this same question.

“After I came to know the Lord, everything went about the way it was going, except for one thing. I studied the Bible more and I saw things that I hadn’t before. I was always a leader in the youth group, but, for some reason, became even more of one. When it came time for Youth Sunday, I was asked to speak. I prepared a sermon that I thought would take me about thirty minutes to give. It took about ten minutes, but I loved it. I kept getting asked to speak and lead Bible studies. Somewhere along the way I realized that I wanted nothing more than to proclaim the word of God.”

“College was a great time of growth. I majored in Religion, though I hate the name of that major. I interned in a couple of churches. I took a couple of summer mission trips and preached every chance I got. There just wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. After college, I went to seminary. I pastored a church while there. I went ahead and got my doctorate. For the past four or five years, I’ve taught at Covenant and preached when I had the opportunity.”

Dale noticed that Teresa was taking notes on everything. Tom wrote a few things down. Fred nodded and smiled a lot. David watched everyone else’s reaction. He was puzzled by Bill Johnson. He sat there with his hands behind his head and looked at the ceiling.

Tom decided that it was his turn to ask a question. He had been trying to come up with a question for several days. He thought he had come up with the perfect one.

“Are you a Calvinist?”

Dale looked at Tom, framing his response. “Tom, I hope that I don’t answer this in a way that blows my chances here. Let me ask you what you mean by that question. What do you think a Calvinist is?”

Tom turned just a little bit red. “Well, you know, you believe in predestination and stuff.”

“Well, Tom, if you’re asking me if I believe that those God foreknew, He predestined, then yes, I believe that. If you are asking me if I believe that He predestined us to adoption as sons through Christ, then yes, I believe that. I believe the Bible. ”

“If you’re asking me if I believe anything because of a systematic theology that is followed by others, then no. If you’re asking me if I have ever tried to convert anyone to follow John Calvin, then no. I follow Christ and try to point people to Christ and Him only. I want Him to glorified through the preaching of the Gospel. I’m not sure if I answered your question, though.”

Tom looked down at his pad and then back up. “I think you answered it fine.”

Bill Johnson chuckled a bit. “I guess it’s my turn to ask a question. What would you tell a guy who has helped cause a lot of problems in this church and just found out that he has a brain tumor?”

Dale close his eyes for just a second. Finally a question that wasn’t normal. He was prepared for all of the normal, churchy questions. This one caused him to pause for just a second.

“Bill, the first thing I would do is find out where that man was in his relationship with the Lord. I would pray with him and hope that he was right with the Lord. Then I would encourage him to go before the church and confess it. Seek forgiveness among the church. Then I would gather the elders and pray over him and anoint him with oil. Finally, I would talk to him and ask him what the prognosis from the doctors was.”

Bill looked at him. “The elders? Don’t you mean the deacons?”

“No, Bill, I believe that there is a huge difference between the elders and deacons. I’m not saying that the deacons can’t be a part of it. But I’m talking about the spiritual leaders of the church.”

“You don’t think the deacons are the spiritual leaders of the church?”

“No, I don’t think that’s their specific role. I think elders are responsible for the spiritual direction of a church. And I think there should be a team of those to work with the pastor. The deacons have their own vitally important role to play. They should be working on the physical needs of the church. Who is taking care of the widows? Who is taking care of the needy? Who is making sure people are doing ok?”

David finally spoke up. “Let’s take a short break. We all may need something to drink. We’ll come back to some more questions and you may have some for us.”

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  1. May 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    This is good stuff, I can’t wait until the weekends are over to read the next chapter. It’s different, real, and captivating. Keep it up!

    • May 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Thanks John….I have dreams of tightening it up and publishing it.

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