Highland’s Transitional Period: Where Are We?Dear members and friends of Highland Avenue Community Church,
We are now officially in the “interim period” here at Highland Ave. As much as it can be a tiring period it can also be very exciting. The interim period can be a time of growth and regrouping, a time of self-study, a time of reassessment and setting of new directions. It can be like the Christmas season filled with anticipation and hope, not knowing exactly what we will get on Christmas morning but knowing that someone is making an attempt to find just the right present for us. And if we see God as our Father…it’s really quite exciting to wonder what he has in store for us!
However, if in our search for a new pastor we were to just sit and patiently wait for God to plop our next pastor in our lap, then maybe the Christmas metaphor would be perfect. But that’s not how God chooses to work. He wants us involved in the process. Adam named the animals, Moses helped lead the Hebrews out of slavery, Joshua and the Israelites were to go in and clear out the Promised Land, Jesus invites us to be yoked to him…you get the picture. There is God’s part and there is our part. So what is our part?
There are a lot of steps that need to be taken during this transition and if you want to see the official overview for installing a new pastor, you can access the electronic version of the denomination’s manual at the Church of the Nazarene’s website (http://nazarene.org/ministries/gensec/Manual/display.html); see Section 115 of the manual for details.
That being said, here’s where we are in that process so far:
1. Connie Rench has been selected as “pulpit supply” and the existing pastoral staff has elected to stay on in order to provide continuity in weekly worship. Grady Gillespie will be speaking once a month and, along with members of our Leadership Council/Finance Committee, he will provide program/staff oversight freeing Connie to focus primarily on weekly sermons.
2. We have already initiated a search process for a new pastor in accordance with our denominations bylaws. We have invited all of you to be part of a self-study that will identify our church’s pastoral needs – that was the survey that was handed out this previous Sunday and is available to take online. This will help us develop a church profile for our potential candidates.
3. Rev. Miller – our District Superintendent – will advertise our vacancy among various ordained ministers. We have already offered some suggestions and invite you to provide us with any suggestions for possible candidates should you have any. Keep in mind that this is a sensitive step. Should you suggest someone who is currently active as a pastor elsewhere, then the process of adding him to a list of potential candidates might create undo tension at their current placement should it come to light. We ask that whomever you suggest, that it be kept confidential in your discussions with others so as to provide appropriate discretion. It’s not about being secretive, its about not causing discomfort to other communities. If someone were to consider a call away from an active position elsewhere, we want the prompting to be from God and not from hurt feelings or division caused by rumors or whispers between church communities.
4. Finally, once a list of viable candidates is compiled then our search committee will read ministerial profiles, screen candidates, conduct interviews, check references, and eventually select a candidate who will be recommended to the entire congregation. At that time, our church members will vote whether or not to accept the candidate as our new pastor. The length of this last step depends on a lot of factors, but the desire is to get it done sooner rather than later while taking enough time to find the best fit possible.
Please know that we will keep you informed on a regular basis. We ask that you continue to pray with us for wisdom, discernment, and unity throughout this process.
In Christ’s name,