As we approach December and the Christmas Holidays, it’s time for an update on the progress of your search committee. Here, again, are the steps recommended by the PCA, our church’s denomination. I laid them out in the very first blog post when we had only completed the first four. Here is our progress:
Select Pastoral Search Committee – complete
Organize the Committee – complete
Develop Church Profile and Information Package – complete
Distribute Church Profile Package through the PCA, seminaries, personal contacts, and networking – complete
Select candidates for initial telephone interviews – partially complete
Collect references in writing and telephone conversations – in process
Narrow field to top candidate(s) – in process
Invite candidate(s) to visit Pinelands for on-site interviews with search committee – decisions about who to invite are scheduled to be made on Dec. 11th
Visit candidate’s church
Invite candidate to preach at Pinelands
Select final candidate and develop Candidate Advocacy Package for congregational review
Congregational meeting to discuss candidate and to vote on extending call to candidate
Celebrate God's great provision
We have eight men in the process currently and we have extensively interviewed three of them. We have also collected numerous references for each of those three candidates. The remaining five men are still being reviewed for possible interviews.
The Book of Church Order states that “every church should be under the pastoral oversight of a minister, and when a church has no pastor it should seek to secure one without delay.” It’s difficult to predict the timing of when we will recommend a candidate to the church. We long for our new pastor to be installed and to begin his work at Pinelands, and yet we remain patient and wait on the Lord for His leading.
Our committee periodically establishes timelines for various activities and this has been a useful discipline for keeping the process on track. We established December 11th as a decision milestone for whom to invite to Miami for interviews. This will be an important meeting for our group and we are fasting and praying that day as we look for the Lord’s guidance. Please be in prayer with us; if you would like to fast in solidarity, it would be appreciated.
The BCO further states “The pulpit committee shall, after consultation and deliberation, recommend to the congregation a pastoral candidate who, in its judgment, fulfills the Constitutional requirements of that office and is most suited to be profitable to the spiritual interests of the congregation.” While we are in the “consultation and deliberation” phases, which are now through step 12, we cannot share much information about any specific candidate. Once we have determined which candidate is “most suited to be profitable to the spiritual interests of the congregation” we will be distributing a full and detailed report about the man, his ministry, and his family: That’s the Candidate Advocacy Package in step 13. This will be in tandem with his visit to preach in our pulpit.
This is a closed process to protect the candidates’ present ministries and to protect our church. No church likes to hear that its pastor is being considered by another congregation, and yet this happens from time to time. But knowing that most of the candidates we look at will not be selected, it is important to maintain confidentiality in the process because these men will continue to pastor at their current calling. We ought not do anything to disturb the peace of his present church.
It’s also a protection for our church. The BCO requires that a small group of people be chosen to work this process and to recommend one candidate. The search committee is not meant to assemble a menu of choices for the church to consider. The search committee is tasked with listening to the Lord and making the best decision based on His leading. Bringing multiple options before the congregation would create, at best, a political situation, and at worst, chaos.
Thanks, again, for your prayers and kind words of encouragement. It seems that almost every time we meet, one of the committee members will share a little encouragement they’ve received from the congregation. We appreciate your emails and conversations. We are here to serve Pinelands and we are honored by your trust in us.
For His glory,
PS The committee will be taking off December 18th and 25th for a well deserved recess, resuming our normal weekly Tuesday evening meeting schedule in January.
Hi cristy my family and I are looking for a good chuch to attend in miami I was wondering if we would be welcome in yours, we just moved in the city, though I had to go work overseas please advise if possible God Bless you and your family greatly.