As of last Friday, the FPCG's Ministry Information Form (or MIF to the insiders) is complete, approved and available for the world to see, including talented ministers. This is a major milestone on the path to finding our next Senior Minister. It is meant to say: who we are, what is important to us, what skillsets we are looking for and clarify the job expectations.
We have reviewed the results of the CAT survey completed in late 2020/early 2021 by our congregation. We have interviewed our clergy and volunteers in leadership positions. We have had informal conversations with members of the congregation. Here is some of what we have found.
It is practically unanimous; everyone wants a strong preacher and teacher. We want a leader to provide a strategic vision for our congregation. Individually we want to belong to a community. We like being intellectually challenged and stirred. Some want group experiences, while others seek and prioritize individual pastoral care. Many have joined with young children as an attempt to expose and teach their children, others join as they enter a new phase of adulthood. Like any family, ours is one of similarities and differences.
Turns out that is the easy part; the trick is figuring out how much of this will actually fall upon the shoulders of our new Senior Minister. Our own experience points to a tremendous burden on our past staff. It turns out the model for thriving churches is having a senior minister that focuses on preaching, teaching and leading. The daily execution on many of the other key responsibilities is done by other staff, whether they are ordained, full or part time as well as member volunteers. After thoughtful discussion among our committee, congregation members, and session we believe this model is best for FPCG going forward. This idea is reflected in the words chosen for our MIF.
We are already receiving interest from candidates around the world who have reviewed our posting. While we expect this to continue for some time, we are also networking with highly respected ministers and seminary leaders to spread the word of our need. Our expectation is to be very busy over the next few months reviewing candidates, listening to sermons and pushing Zoom to its limits. While we don't have a line of sight into timing of having a candidate to present to the congregation, we are certainly moving in the right direction.
I know you are asking, "how can I help?". Just like you are expecting us to thoroughly vet the top candidates, we need to expect the best candidates are vetting us. As we approach the fall, it will be time for the tide to ebb to new highs. That includes worship attendance, Sunday School attendance, Vacation Bible Camp or asking our nominating committee (Emily Sternberg, chair) how you can help. Mark, Andre and Ellie are creating momentum. Let's enjoy this momentum together.
Keep an eye out for another progress update in August as well as on Homecoming Sunday, which is Sunday, September 12th.
Thank you for your prayers and patience. We are trusting the process, having some faith. After all isn’t what this is all about?
Chris Loveless, PNC Chair
Chris Loveless, Chair
Michelle Binnie, Vice Chair
Courtney Raker Spada
Diane Brown, alternative