This pastor had a vision for his church to do a women's retreat. He called to see if we had any openings in our calendar for 2010. He said he would take any date we could give. And he also shared some specifics about his vision for the event, all of which I resonated with in my spirit. We had closed our booking for the year. But I talked to Angela about it; since her parents live in Jackson, I thought maybe we could kind of consider it a work-vacation weekend. The kids could ride horses and four-wheelers with their grandparents, and we could do the event at the church. She agreed. We gave him a date in April. We were pumped about it.
Then I got a call from him (his name is Ben) a couple of weeks later. This one was less lighthearted. He called me to tell me that his worship pastor had resigned to take a job at a university. He was calling because he felt like the Lord led him to call me...presumably to help him find a worship leader. I knew I could help him find his guy. My heart did not really consider even for a moment that I might possibly be the guy. But since I know so many great guys in worship ministry, I felt well-equipped to be a good connector of people in this situation.
He wanted to visit face to face to talk about it, so he drove to Franklin one day (Jackson is less than 2 hours west of Nashville) so we could spend the day talking about what he's looking for in a worship pastor. I did some preliminary work..made him a list of 6 or 7 people...listed their basic facts, listed what I perceived as strengths and weaknesses of each one, and listed why I thought each one would be an asset to the church.
He got here early one morning and we went straight to it. We started talking about his vision for his church, what he was looking for. We talked about his calling – how he came into his calling as a pastor. We talked about our wives and kids (they have four kids ages 5 and under). We talked “shop” – church stuff. I love talking church shop. Love talking about serving this generation with other people who love it. Strangely, we had this eerily close rapport. We talked for much of the day, and I made it through my list of worship guys for him. But he was not interested in the list. He checked out for much of the list. He finally said, “I hate your stupid list. Get your list outta my face,” or something funny to that effect. He was not there for my list. He was there because the Lord put me on his heart as the guy for his church. I practically laughed him out of my house. No disrespect meant. I just knew that it was something I wouldn't even consider...my schedule is so crazy...our boundaries are nicely set...this Cottrell train is moving, and wasn't about to jump tracks. He might have been disappointed, but I didn't budge. It simply wasn't a possibility. His offer was even very accommodating: continue doing what I'm doing - Living Proof, other travels, recording, writing - and just make my home base there with them. He said they had a staff for me that would help me make it all happen, and would make it so that the church wouldn't miss a beat when I'm away. But it still seemed equivalent to going to live on Jupiter to me. Not a possibility.
We had had a great day...even had a 20-minute encounter with Steven Curtis and Marybeth Chapman at Target. Ran into my pastor's wife at Starbucks. It was a fun day. He headed home that afternoon.
A couple of days went by…going on with life…texting occasionally with this pastor. He still talked of being convinced that I might be the guy. But I wasn’t budging. Then that Saturday I got a direct message on my twitter account from him that said:
"Ok, so I couldn't sleep last night. Prayed HIS will for YOUR life audibly with my wife, and silently as she drifted off."
That's funny, because I could not sleep that night either.