The Interview


Nerves. Stomach churning nerves. I had been nervous before, but this time was different. This time was a first.

Diana and I pulled into the parking lot with tempered excitement and bursting uncertainty.

As we got out of the car and walked hand-in-hand to the door where the team to interview us had gathered, we immediately sensed a warmth and even a strange familiarity.

Introductions. Exchange of pleasantries. Simple chatter.

We took our seats for the interview to begin.

Diana sat to my right. Around the tables formed in an oval, Brian Beasley sat to my immediate left. Shirley Davis sat on Brian’s left and the rest — David Routh, Amber Ward, Neal Hughes, Curt Whitley, Susan Marshall, and Robin Halsey — wrapped around the tables with Robin sitting next to Diana.

Prayer. The interview had begun.

As questions began to focus on Diana and me, and Pleasant Garden Baptist Church, I can distinctly remember my nerves settling. Question followed question. Our answers began to be more and more relaxed as we, almost imperceptibly, began to converse rather than interview. We laughed. At a few points, some of us even cried. I distinctly remember tears in David Routh’s eyes on a couple occasions. In Amber’s as well. Not so with Brian. The lawyer in him held his cards so close to his chest I had no idea what he was thinking or sensing.

The first of two moments when I knew that God’s hand had been all over this interview occurred when Diana began to share about her mission trip to India the year before. With zeal, joy, and passion she affirmed a church with a strong missions emphasis and exalted the God who guides our steps into difficult places. After she finished, Curt looked at her with a glint in his eye and said, “Diana, I’ve got just one question, why didn’t you apply for this position?” All of us laughed a joyful laugh of closeness, camaraderie, even friendship.

The interview moved on through other questions, conversation, dialogue. As we finished around the two hour mark, Diana slipped to the restroom with a couple others. That’s when the second moment happened. A couple of the ladies on the committee asked to see pictures of Joseph. As Diana returned and began to chat with them, showing pictures of our wonderful child, it occurred to me: if that hadn’t gone well, they wouldn’t have wanted to know about Joseph.

A few minutes later, Diana and I left. As we got into our car, with tears in the corners of our eyes, she said, “They felt like friends we’d known for a long time.”

They did. They sure did.

*March 26, 2019 marks the one year anniversary of the first interview Diana and I had with the Search Committee from Pleasant Garden Baptist Church.


Author: drroberthefner

I am a husband, father, minister, teacher, and author striving to love Jesus. A fan of all things Tolkien, Lewis, Marvel and Star Wars. I live in Pleasant Garden, NC, and am honored to serve as the Sr. Pastor at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church. I like school (Fruitland Baptist Bible College, A.A., 2001; North Greenville University, B.A., 2003; The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, M.Div., 2007; and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ed.D., Education, 2013). I have been married to Diana since 2003 and we have one son, Joseph. You can connect with me on Twitter @RobertHefner.

8 thoughts on “The Interview”

  1. How blessed are we the people of Pleasant Garden Baptist Church that God brought your family into our family!
    I look forward to the years ahead as we all grow and experience life in the Lord’s service together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chuckled at your comment that you couldn’t tell what I was thinking – my main thought was that your answers to our questions were better than “ideal responses” that I would have scripted out for a candidate. We prayed for God to make it clear when we met His man for the position and He certainly answered that prayer that evening!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am laughing at your comment about Brian. And crying as I recall the many things God did and continues to do. But they are tears of joy. He blessed us so much with His joy through the process. Forever grateful.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Aunt Ruthie & I are so thankful for you, your precious family & all that God has done & continues to do in your lives. We can visualize the glory & thankfulness shining from your Mother’s saintly face. May God continue to bless you & family always.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for sharing. This was such a blessing to read of God’s hand in this journey. God answered us mightily in our prayers. We are so richly blessed to have you all here with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The interview was so GOOD, we were amazed!!!! God was answering above and beyond what we had asked!!! The only way He could have made it more clear, would have been to have have a flashing neon arrow pointing down on you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So nice to be able to share this with the church family! Thank you, looking ahead to many years here at Pleasant Garden with your precious family.

    Liked by 1 person

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