The Odessa Record -

By Rev. Mark Squire
Pastor at Zion-Emmanuel Lutheran Church 

Pastor's Corner

The Call Answered


January 4, 2018

Last month, my Pastor’s Corner article explained the “call” process of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Over the past six weeks, I considered a call to serve as pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Saint Ansgar, Iowa. It involved a visit to the congregation, much discussion, and, most of all, a lot of prayer.

People in the community have also been praying for God’s will to be done (or, as some people have told me, praying that God’s will be that we stay!). Over the course of the past six weeks, God seems to have answered our prayers for wisdom. The answer is not what I expected, and in many ways not the answer I was looking for. God seems to have made it clear that his will was different that my expectations and my self-centered desires. I always imagined I would be here for many years, and I wanted to remain here. But, God’s plans were different. On Sunday, December 31, I announced to the two congregations I serve that God has led me to accept the call to serve as pastor at Immanuel in Saint Ansgar.

It will be tempting to think that I am taking this call because we liked the congregation better, the city better, or the people better; or because it is much closer to family; or because there was some reason for us to leave. But, none of that is true. This has been an extremely difficult decision; not because God’s will does not seem clear, but because personally we have no reason to leave. We love the town of Odessa. We love Salem in Marlin. We love Zion-Emmanuel in Odessa. The churches have been blessings to us in so many ways. There is one, and only one, reason why we are taking this call: because we believe strongly that this is where God is leading us and calling us.

I can say without hesitation that it is my honor and my pleasure to have served in Odessa these five and a half years. I have gotten to know many of you, rejoicing with you in good times and mourning with you in difficult times. But, ministry will continue through his Church. After all, the Church is not about me, just as it is not about you. It is the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ is Lord of the Church, just as he is Lord over death. He is the one who gave his life for the Church, and he is the one who rules over it in love and mercy. It’s Jesus who forgives, Jesus who saves, and Jesus who loves. Just as he has been raised from the dead, those who are found in him will be raised to be with him in glory when he comes again.

May God be with you and continue to bless you with his Word of love in Christ.


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