We have some big news! We are beginning the process to search for a new Associate Pastor.
Throughout this summer, our Session has been developing some of the next steps in our transition process since the resignation of Laura and Libby. Along with the Personnel Ministry Team, our Session decided to form an Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (APNC) to search for an Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation.
We are currently finding members to serve on the APNC and hope to have all seven members picked within the week or so. From there, our Session will call a congregational meeting on a Sunday morning to elect these members. This congregational meeting will likely occur in early September, so stay tuned for that.
What’s an Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation? This person will lead our church in raising up the next generation of children and youth to be passionate followers of Jesus. They will lead a team of volunteers and interns to form and nurture young people’s faith in God.
Why an Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation? While there are many specific elements to this decision, here are the three primary reasons for our choice:
- Increasing amounts of research in youth and children’s ministry are finding that intergenerational ministry is one of the most effective methods in equipping young people to live their whole lives of faith. Young people are more likely to stay engaged in the church over the long haul when they are in relationship with adults in the church. The more continuity we can have between children’s, youth, and young adult ministries, the more we can equip our young people to be a part of the whole life of faith. Having one staff position overseeing the ministry of children, youth, and young adults will help ensure continuity between programs and maintain a consistent vision throughout young people’s lives.
- We want to find the most qualified candidate possible for this position. Therefore, we are open to calling an ordained or non-ordained individual. This gives us the most options and allows us to cast the widest net in our search process. Offering a position with benefits through the PC(USA) Board of Pensions widens the appeal of this position so that people from all areas would be more likely to apply.
- Hiring one potentially ordainable staff person offers a financial savings to our church when compared to the costs involved in having two positions. In long run, this option will cost our church less.
Once the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee is elected, it will begin its work in September. This process can be a lengthy one, so we continue in a time of transition. I am estimating that this process will take us at least into the spring of 2019. Thus, this academic year will be one of experimentation and transition. It as an opportunity for us to try new things and see how the Holy Spirit is leading us.
Relatedly, I’d like to invite you to an open forum meeting we are having on Tuesday, 8/21, from 5:30-6:15pm in the Commons to talk more in depth about this process, provide an update on our plans for fall programming, and discuss any other questions you may have.
I’m thankful to be doing ministry with all of you!
Austin D. Hill