The first conversation that the Succession Planning Committee had with Rev. Dale Melenberg was in January, 2016. He asked us some tough questions about our church and gave very insightful answers to our questions to him. After a few days, Pastor Dale informed us that he was not able to move forward with Hope Fellowship for a number of reasons, including his ministry in Calgary and the work on his doctoral dissertation. We got over the disappointment but did not forget about that great first conversation. In September, when the committee was challenged to go over the names we had contacted to see if there were any changes, Pastor Dale’s name came up again at the top of our list.
I was given the task of following up and, I have to admit, I put off making the call. I procrastinated.
In the meantime , Pastor Dale and his wife Gloria were having conversations about the next challenges that they would be tackling in ministry. They wondered if they should consider a call to another church or continue with their current ministry. After much prayer and discussion, they decided to remain open to God’s leading but not pursue anything. They would be open if anyone contact them. The next day, I called them.
I don’t think that God blesses procrastination, but in this case, God used my delay for His purposes. This time Pastor Dale indicated that he was open to talking with us some more.
We have had 2 Skype calls since then, one with Pastor Dale and Gloria and one with the VLB elders and Pastor Dale. It was a delight to speak with both of them and we took turns asking and answering questions. Once again, the questions from the Melenbergs were thought provoking.
After these conversations, it became apparent to all of us, Pastor Dale included, that we needed more conversation but face to face. T hey will be flying in to visit us on from Jan. 5-8. Jeff volunteered to be the Melenbergs' chauffeur to and from the airport. The Melenbergs had taken in Jeff and his family when Jeff was undergoing cancer treatments in Calgary. It was the Melenbergs who had driven Jeff, so now he’s wanted to drive them and re-connect with a family who meant so much to him in Calgary.