I took a deep breath to push the fatigue from my mind and body. After traveling seven hours to be here, my wife and I were now holding cups of strong coffee, surrounded by thirty people, and trying to connect names with faces.
They examined us closely, some smiling, some sizing us up like wary customers looking for a used car. Four months of correspondence, telephone conversations, research, and prayer had brought us to this moment. Every facet of my life would soon be explored publicly. I knew I would need the endurance of a distance runner just to withstand this evening. I was being interviewed.
The church, a major congregation in the South, was looking for a senior pastor. They had sent me a bulky package of materials-results of a congregational self-study, membership statistics, a statement of mission and purpose, and comprehensive financial reports for the previous five years.
I, in turn, had provided them with my background and experience.
We had planned our three-day interview trip ...1