A Personal Update


Those who know me well might want to sit down for this one.

The co-chairs of the preacher search committee at our church announced this morning that my name has been proposed as the church’s new full-time preaching minister.  This is most definitely not a done deal since I (and the rest of the elders) insisted on feedback from the congregation this week.  If the proposal proceeds, however, I am willing to transition into that full-time role in March.

(Pause for friends and family who didn’t listen to the suggestion to sit down.)

Both my current work (law school administration) and my church find themselves in important times of transition, and I have struggled for the past several years with serving in effectively pastoral roles in both places and the accompanying feeling that I am unable to do justice to either one.  And I care a lot about doing justice.  At one point during the past year I tried to step back from church leadership but circumstances simply would not allow that to occur.  Maybe that was a sign.  Now, through lots of late-night talks and prayers with my sweet wife, it seems right that I focus full attention on church.

Those who don’t know me well may not know that I served as full-time preaching minister for a wonderful group of people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for nearly a decade (early 1999 to late 2008).  Some preachers take a sabbatical after such a run.  Apparently, I went to law school for nine years instead.

This is a big week for me and for us.  My law school years have been fantastic, but this may be a time for transition.  I do hope that the congregation will share their thoughts with the church leadership so that the proper decision is clear.  If the time isn’t right, then, well, who would want that?  But if it is, I am ready to dive in.

My blog is titled, Starting to Look Up.  Looking up is surely how I will spend this week.

30 responses to “A Personal Update

  1. We are so grateful for your willingness to step into this position. It is truly an answer to prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. grant.nelson@pepperdine.edu

    Dear Al, I came to Pepperdine when both you and Ben Gifford arrived. Both of you are now transitioning to new major roles. God blessings on the two of you. Grant

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Al, you are with out a doubt (in my mind) a very good choice as our new minister. You’ve always impressed me as a soft spoken godly man full of grace and love.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, Al and Jody…”I’m dancing in the streets”!!! I’ve so often wished we could have you “full time”, but never dreamed it was a possibility. I do believe you are the right person, Al, at the right moment. Jody, thanks for your encouraging and supportive love for Al and for the congregation. Praying for blessings all around and sending you love…Carolyn

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well now, I can’t stop grinning at this news!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, Al! It certainly is tough to leave a great place like Pepperdine Law. For me, two years later, I’m glad I made this decision so I can be in Arizona to support my family. At first, my goal was to help my father out after my mother’s passing, but since then, my sister had a baby, and my brother’s family returned to the Catholic church. I’m so glad to have been here for it all. I have no doubt the law school will miss you greatly, but your congregation is clearly thrilled at the prospect of having you full time!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Praise God, great opportunity both for the church and for you. We will be praying for you and Jody and for the University Church and for the law school as well. Blessings….Rich and Sandy

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Al, you keep making it more difficult for me to find you – but I will! I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Praying for you and your family during this upcoming of possible transition!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. WOAAHHHH!!! That’s awesome! If you do become elected, can you please record your sermons and upload them as podcasts so Nicole and I can listen????

    Thanks in advance! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Al, as you begin this process, this reminds of Ecc 3:11 which in part states that “He(God) has made everything appropriate in its time.” I am exciting about this news and will be praying for you, your family and UCC.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Al and Jody – Rich and I were at UCC yesterday and doubly blessed to hear the news that you have been asked to serve UCC in a more formal way. We are very excited and pray God makes your decision clear. Even though we aren’t “current” members, we were for over 30 years (does that count?) and we are cheering!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, I praise God that He has put this service on your heart! You know us and we know you and we fully support and applaud this decision! You have all the characteristics and spiritual maturity needed for this very unique and vital ministry! May God empower you and fill you with peace and encouragement! Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Claudia Sangster

    Al, change is never easy even when you know it is the right way to go! I pray for discernment for you and your family as you navigate this decision process and for peace when you make the decision. If discernment is measured by the responses above, I think you are getting great affirmation for a particular decision…however, I don’t know what the Law School colleagues are saying and can only imagine that they are pushing for you to stay! So, I will pray that God will make His will clear! 😀🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: A Bittersweet Sunday At Pepperdine - Eric Allen Kauk

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