In seminary it finally became a real possibility: Someday I would have a church of my own. And when graduation neared, having a rather inflated view of my abilities not untypical for a seminarian, I eagerly mailed my dossier to churches whose pulpits were vacant.

When my mailbox failed to overflow and my phone didn't ring off the hook, it became apparent my hour had not yet come.

I would have to pay my dues by ministering as an assistant pastor for a few years. Which I did, and enjoyed. After all, the congregation soon recognized my vast talents and genuinely seemed to love me, as I did them. Yes, they also offered some constructive criticism, but the longer I stayed, the more it became apparent to all concerned I had a great future in the church.

And the more the congregation spoke about my fine potential, the more I sat gazing out my office window, contemplating how graciously I would handle success in my own church.

Finally, when my time as an assistant was fulfilled, I received a call ...

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