Pastor brings spirit of intentionality to new pulpit
Last updated 10/23/2019 at 2:53pm | View PDF
Life on Purpose. That's the title of Pastor Jason Salyers first sermon series at Hinsdale Seventh-day Adventist Church since arriving from Minnesota in early September. Having an anchored purpose in the face of shifting circumstances is certainly a topic he can speak into.
"I don't think that we have lost our purpose. We don't create our purpose. We discover our purpose," Salyers said. "Even in those times when life gets flipped upside down or we take a sudden shift of what we perceive to be our course, we can trust that God is in control. He is present through (the changes), and he is still guiding us in our purpose."
Salyers had been leading a congregation in Wayzata, Minn., for six years when he was contacted by the president of the denomination's Illinois conference.
"He told me he was compiling a list of candidates to fill the senior pastor spot in (Hinsdale) and would I be willing to have my name considered," Salyers related. "It was a shock to me."
He didn't give it much thought until several weeks later when he was informed that his name topped the list. A visit from the Illinois delegation and subsequent visit here by Salyers affirmed the calling.
"It was a good fit. They extended an offer to come, and we accepted," Salyers said.
Growing up, Salyers attended religious school but did not see the church as his potential employer.
"I had several teachers tell me that they thought I was going to go into ministry," he recounted. "I wasn't thinking or dreaming of that. I wanted to be an archaeologist. I like history."
In high school he sensed a stirring that joining the clergy was his calling, leading him ultimately to earn his divinity degree and onto a pathway of parishes.
"I pastored in Atlanta, and then back in Chattanooga, which is where I'd done my undergrad," Salyers said. "Then Minnesota, and now here."
Changing ministerial posts has its pros and cons, as one might imagine.
"One of the beautiful pieces is getting to meet and love new people and work within different cultures," he said, citing the regional diversity he's encountered from stints in the South and the Midwest. "The biggest downside is you grow to love people, and then you're taken from them."
The lifestyle becomes even more complicated as a husband and father of two young girls. There's upside to the downside, too, though.
"You look back a few years later and you have beautiful friendships all over the place," he said. "Transitions aren't easy, but overall it's interesting and it's fun."
Salyers said the experience informs his pastoral caregiving and helps him cherish reciprocal care from his welcoming communities.
"That's a reality a lot of us face - we lose a job or get transferred," he said. "That's why I lean so heavily on my congregants.
"I feel like God's hand is in all of it."