How Do We Find a New Pastor?
As you probably know, I recently announced my decision to transition out of my role as pastor of Astoria Community Church and accept a position as Assistant Pastor at another church. You can read about that decision here.
A question some of you are asking is, “How do we find a new pastor for our church?”
In our denominational tradition, an important principle is that local congregations have the right to choose their own pastor. The Presbytery will not assign you a new minister. The Session of elders will not choose one. Calling a new pastor for ACC is a choice the congregation needs to make together. How is this done?
Here are three ideas to keep in mind in understanding how ACC will find a new pastor.
1) The process.
According to our denominational guidelines, our congregation needs to elect a Pulpit Search Committee tasked with the job of researching and recruiting a new pastor for ACC. After completing their work, the Search Committee will present the congregation with their recommendation of a new pastor for the church members to vote on whether or not to call him to serve.
Our denomination’s Administrative Committee (AC) provides lots of helpful resources to assist churches in this process. The AC recommends that the Search Committee consist of church members representing a broad cross-section of the congregation. For example, the committee could include:
- Women and men.
- Long-time members and newer members.
- Older and younger people.
- Singles and marrieds.
- Members from as many different households as possible.
- Members from various ethnic backgrounds.
- Members representing various ministry teams in the church.
Of course, for this important role, the church will want to select men and women of prayer who exhibit godly wisdom and who will do a good job listening to other members of the church. To get an idea of the kind of work a Search Committee does, click here.
The members of ACC will vote to select a Pulpit Search Committee at a congregational meeting on Sunday, May 7, following the worship service. Though nominations may be made at the meeting, we encourage members to make nominations in advance. If you are a member of ACC and would like to nominate someone for the Search Committee, click here.
2) Pastoral Care.
The process of finding a new pastor will probably take at least 6-7 months, maybe longer. It is important that you know that during that time, you will not be without pastoral care.
Much of this care will, of course, come from the leaders of our church. Our Session of elders is responsible for the spiritual oversight of our congregation. I can attest that the elders in our church take this responsibility very seriously. They are a team of godly, kind-hearted men who have been a great source of encouragement to me over the years. You can count on your elders for prayer, counsel, and support. Currently active members of the Session are Sunny Arora, Joe Kickasola, Bryan Taylor, and Raul Rojas.
You can also count on the ACC Diaconate Team. Our Diaconate is a team of men and women who care for the financial, spiritual, and physical needs of people in our church. Our Diaconate is led by Andrea Mungo. Current active members of the team are Annette Scattoni, Kimberley Williams, Tina Liouzis, Toni Ellis & Will Poon. You can contact the Diaconate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am also thrilled to announce that Rev. Jim Fredere has agreed to serve as Interim Pastor of ACC while the congregation looks for a new pastor. Jim is an ordained pastor in our denomination and is very experienced in ministry, having served in numerous contexts overseas and in New York. Jim and his wife, Carin, are already actively involved at ACC. They host a Community Group in their home and serve in other ways. Jim is a true follower of Christ with a genuine pastor’s heart. I am so happy he will be helping ACC through this time of transition.
More than anything, for ACC to find a new pastor, it is vital that we all be in prayer.
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” God cares deeply about the needs of his people. The harvest field belongs to him and the workers serve under his authority. He is able to position the right people in the right place at the right time for the work of his kingdom. So pray with faith for him to do this.
God already knows the person he will send to shepherd ACC through this next season of our church’s life. Begin to pray right now for that pastor. Pray for God’s blessing and direction in his life. Pray that God will smooth the way to bring him to ACC. Pray for God to prepare our congregation spiritually for the next season of God’s work among us.
A good way to pray with others for our church is to join a Community Group. Groups will be starting up next month. Most of them will be engaging in a 7-week Bible study on the topic of prayer. This is a great opportunity for you to connect with others in the church. You can sign up for a Community Group here.