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The pastorate demands high emotional investment--and sometimes you wonder if there's a return.

The following account is based on actual events.

The service had ended an hour ago, and Pastor Brian Wells had long since said good-by to the last departing worshipper, but here he was, still lingering in the cool of the narthex. He didn't know why, really; he'd already sent Carol and the boys home while he closed up, and he knew they'd be impatiently waiting to start Sunday dinner. He leaned forward against the tall panes of glass separating the sanctuary from the narthex, and gazed over the empty pews one more time.

The message had been strong that morning. At times his energies had been so focused that he'd seemed to enter what athletes call the zone, a feeling of effortlessness and euphoria when your concentration is most intense. He was tired now, but it was a good tired, and he wanted to savor it, like a basketball player after a big win.

As he looked across the sanctuary, Brian found it hard to believe he'd been at Community Church of Madison only eight months. He and Carol had fit ...

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