“Some friends of mine, a pastor and his wife, moved to a new church a few years ago, based on a strong sense of call to that particular community. Their first year or two in the new parish were very difficult. Their house in the old community didn’t sell for almost a year, causing quite a strain on the budget. And not long after arriving at the new church, they were embroiled in a church battle that had been brewing for many years, one that the pastor forced to the surface where people had to deal with it. The six months or so that they and the congregation spent working out that situation were as unpleasant a time as anyone could imagine, and the church nearly split in two. Some people did end up leaving the congregation, but the church resolved the problem and not only survived but flourished once this decades-old issue had been identified and repaired. The pastor and his wife had serious questions about their call amidst all the difficulties, but they persisted in their work with the congregation. In the end, the pastor turned out to have been just the right person to help the congregation expose the elephant in the middle of the room and banish it, which was essential to do if the congregation was to continue on and even grow. He and his wife came to realize that their sense of call had, indeed, been real. The results of their work there were the fruits of the Spirit. But it was very difficult to know that while they were in the midst of the anger and frustration of many in the congregation.” (209-210)
Farrington, Debra K. Hearing with the Heart: A Gentle Guide to Discerning God’s Will for Your Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003. pg. 209-210.