This is part two of the introduction message from Darrell Thompson, Chairman of your Pastor Search Committee (PSC). The other dedicated and committed members of your PSC are Amy Baker, Cecil Davis, Bill Gardner, Meghan Greene, Jennifer Hendrix, Beckie Maynard, Eric Palm and David Westberry.
In last week’s Vision, we introduced the five Phases involved in the pastor search process and stated that we are currently in phases 1 and 2:
- Getting Acquainted
- Considering Candidates
A “Commissioning Ceremony” is being planned for both worship services (traditional and contemporary) this Sunday, March 11. We urge each member of First Baptist Church (FBC) to pray for this service, the PSC, and our future pastor; and to make plans to attend this special service in the life of our church on March 11th.
Last week, the PSC introduced a schedule of five congregational listening sessions to begin on Sunday April 1 at 4:00PM in the fellowship hall. These listening sessions are designed so the PSC can hear information from the congregation that will be used to develop the church profile and the pastor profile for FBC. Listening to the congregation and obtaining this information is absolutely an essential step in the pastor search process! Each of the five listening sessions will address a different topic designed to encourage congregational input; therefore, we strongly encourage the congregation to make attendance at all five sessions a priority and a matter of prayer.
Each of the five listening sessions will be on Sunday afternoons at 4:00PM in the fellowship hall and childcare will be provided. Each listening session will take place around tables, a facilitator will lead our time together, and table monitors will be at each table to assist with the discussion and to take notes and document the comments. Dr. Bill Wilson, from the Center for Congregational Health, will facilitate several of our conversations and will guide us through this important process. A detailed description of each session and the date for each session follows:
- April 1 “Heritage” – The congregation has been shaped and formed by what went on before it and the congregation needs to know, appreciate and celebrate heritage. During this listening session, we will explore the history of the congregation. We will learn from previous “watershed” events (both highs and lows) in the life of our congregation. We will identify and celebrate significant moments and accomplishments in the congregation’s life. We will decide what is important from the past that needs to be carried into the future, and what “excess baggage” should be left behind. With the input from this session, we will update our written history.
- April 15 “Mission” – Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” A congregation must redefine its sense of purpose and direction and determine what distinguishes it from other churches and organizations in the community. In this focus group, we will define the boundaries within which we will operate (core values). Core values are those values which the church will never compromise and is willing to pay a price to uphold. We will define why the church exists (mission statement). The mission statement establishes why the work is done, but not how that work is done. We will define what the church aims to accomplish (vision statement) or a clear, specific picture of what the church will look like at a particular time in the future, usually one to three years. We will define the specific practical steps it will take to achieve its mission/vision (ministry plans). The ministry plans should then determine how things will be accomplished and include priorities and organizational structure.
- April 29 “Leadership” – Every congregation must be conscious of developing new leadership for ministry and for incorporating younger and newer members into its body. We will affirm the different styles and talents of leaders. We will discuss these questions: “How do we make decisions?” and “What kind of lay leaders do we need?” We will review healthy, realistic and open decision-making processes and structures. We will review the existing committees within FBC. We will think about the “leadership culture” of both ministerial and clergy leaders here at FBC.
- May 6 “Connections” - In this listening session, we will document the congregation’s theological position. We will address the relationship of the church and the Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. We will discuss the organizations the congregation partners with financially and why. How are mission monies collected and where do they go? We will become acquainted with other external entities with which the congregation has ties both religious and secular. It is important that the new pastor understand and essentially align with the congregation’s theology and practices. Consequently, exploring these “connections” may be one of the most important things a congregation does to bring clarity for calling of the next pastor.
- May 20 “Future” - What is our shared vision for the future? We will finalize the consensus on desired leadership style of the new pastor. We will finalize the pastoral profile including clear expectations about the desired personal, professional, and leadership traits and skills of the new pastor. We will ask the process question, “How can we make the new Pastor and family feel welcomed and needed by our community of faith?” We will discuss meaningful installation and start-up plans for the new pastor. Our work in this final session will enable us to complete both a Congregational Profile and a Pastor Profile. These will be essential tools for us as we go about our search for the pastor God intends us to have.
In addition to these listening sessions, the congregation may also share any information that should be considered in developing the church and pastor profiles with the PSC by sending an email to email@example.com
or mailing their comments to:
FBC Pastor Search Committee
P.O. Box 10010
Tallahassee, Florida 32302
Additionally, anyone can personally share information directly with any member of the PSC. The PSC is also willing to visit with any SMBS class, ministry group, committee, or organization to obtain your relevant information. Phase 2 (preparation) of the pastor search process must not be rushed, and the congregation must be comfortable with the profiles that will be developed before we move on to the next phase in calling a new pastor. A congregation must know who it is and where it is going before calling a new leader.
When we as a church are satisfied with the church and pastor profiles, we will then be ready to move to Phase 3 and begin gathering names of potential candidates from church members and other sources. As you leave the “commissioning” service this Sunday please take a “stone” (see 1 Peter 2:5) that will serve as a token of the covenant between the PSC and the congregation and our agreement to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.
Prayerfully Submitted By
Pastor Search Committee Chairman