For about a month I’ve pondered the Divine Call to Atonement Lutheran Church. After talking to lots of people, considering both my present calling and the calling to Atonement, thinking long and hard, and praying for our gracious God’s guidance, I have decided to accept the Call to be your new pastor at Atonement.
I want to be clear that in no way was I eager to leave Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, or even thinking about leaving. It is one of the highest honors in our church body is to be trusted to train the next generation of pastors. I have greatly appreciated my time in doing so, and have great respect and admiration for my colleagues. What we as a Synod ask them to do is critical. Again, I feel extremely honored to have been part of that for the past 7 years.
And, I have greatly appreciated the advice and counsel and even passion of those who have encouraged me to stay at the Seminary. I’m grateful for your thoughts and your prayers. Honestly, I agreed with pretty well everything shared with me regarding reasons to stay.
But the more I considered the Call to Atonement, the more I came to the conclusion that, at this time in my life, in the life of Atonement, and in the life of our church body, it is appropriate for me to accept this Call. Part of this was that, since I got the Call, there has not been a day when I haven’t thought, “I think I should maybe accept this Call.” By contrast, there hasn’t been even one day when I’ve said, “I think I should turn this Call down.” Granted, that was often a 60-40 lean, or even a 51-49 lean, but nevertheless, it was a consistent lean. Every day.
Out of fairness for our church body, for the Seminary, and for the students who are training to be pastors, I would suggest that I serve at the Seminary through the first semester of the 2021-2022 school year. I realize that delays my full-time start at Atonement, but I think that’s the appropriate way to do it in this situation, given how close the start of the new school year is.
My favorite passage for the past 18 months (or so) has been Psalm 2:4a “The one enthroned in heaven laughs.” Finally, the one enthroned in heaven can chuckle at my ditherings, at our ditherings. He rules all things for the good of his Church, and he always will. I have zero doubt that will be the case in this situation as well. So while I do not look forward to leaving the Seminary, I look forward with eagerness to serving the saints at Atonement, and prayerfully, the many future saints who will come to know Jesus through our ministry together.
Pastor Tom Kock
Tuesday, August 10, 2021