January 27, 2020.
At a standing-room-only congregational meeting on Sunday January 26, on the recommendation of the Lead Pastor Search Team, and with the unanimous vote of the Board of Elders, the congregation at Harvard Avenue Christian Church voted by loud and unanimous affirmation to call Rev David Emery to serve as our next Lead Pastor.
Rev Emery has served the last 17 years at Middletown Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. The heart and prayers of Harvard Avenue are with the people of Middletown in this season of transition, even as the church is already preparing itself to welcome our new Lead Pastor at the end of March.
With deepest gratitude for the work of the Search Team, and with deepest trust and faith in the work of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
January 20, 2020.
Yesterday in worship, Lead Pastor Search Team member Diana Booren shared the exciting news that we have a candidate to serve as Lead Pastor! With the January 16 vote (unanimous) and recommendation from the Board of Elders, the candidate’s profile now comes before the congregation for a final vote.
This vote will take place during our already-scheduled 2020 Annual Meeting, THIS SUNDAY January 26 @ 10:00am. We look forward to seeing you there!
January 15, 2020.
The Lead Pastor Search Team continues its work, both as a full team and in smaller focused subteams. Since August, they have met more than 20 times and exchanged thousands of messages! We look forward to an update from the Team on Sunday January 19, in both worship services.
December 18, 2019.
Thank you to Lead Pastor Search Team member Diana Booren
for sharing (Sunday 12/15) a beautiful summary and update of the almost-four-months’ work the LPST has done in our behalf.
or read Diana’s comments.
We remain prayerful through this full and active holiday season for all of the work that continues behind the scenes and into the new year.
December 11, 2019.
The Lead Pastor Search Team remains faithful in their work, meeting frequently, and caring for many tasks in between. We will hear from Team member Diana Booren on Sunday morning (both worship hours) with an update to their work and progress.
Read below to catch up on the process so far.
(If you miss worship Sunday, we will record the update and share that audio file on this page next week.)
December 4, 2019.
The Congregational Profile has been completed and submitted to the Oklahoma Regional Office. This means that over the next few weeks, Candidates are preparing and submitting their personal Profiles for consideration.
The Search Team will meet over the next two weeks to prepare for the next steps once Candidate Profiles have arrived.
Thank you for the ways you are encouraging, praying for, and supporting our Lead Pastor Search Team in their careful and meaningful work.
November 20, 2019.
Thank you to everyone who completed a Congregational Survey, offered comments, and remains in prayer for our Lead Pastor Search Team.
The LPST anticipates the Congregational Profile will be completed within a few days, and sent to the Regional Office to be included in the search-and-call system. Within a few weeks of the Profile being received and processed in the Regional Office, the LPST anticipates receiving initial profiles from Pastoral Candidates seeking consideration.
As we near Thanksgiving, we are filled with gratitude for the thoughtful and diligent work of our Lead Pastor Search Team – for their weekly meetings, their hours of individual work in between, and their prayerful discernment toward calling our next Lead Pastor.
November 13, 2019.
The Lead Pastor Search Team is so grateful for everyone who took time to complete a survey, share additional comments, and reflect on our story as a church and our dreams for the future. The Team will be compiling all of our responses into a Congregational Profile, which they expect to have completed within the next two weeks.
November 6, 2019.
The Search Team continues to meet frequently, and work in between meetings, to compile responses from the Congregational Survey, which will create the Congregational Profile that will be shared with potential Lead Pastor candidates. Having detailed insight into the needs, dreams, and faithful desires of a congregation helps the Search Team have the most productive conversations with potential Lead Pastors. Thank you for the ways you are helping to make this possible. Taking care with this step makes all the others possible, and moves toward a fruitful result!
If you’ve not completed a survey yet, please do so this week. The LPST would like all surveys returned by Sunday November 10. You can use the online Survey, or pick up a hard copy at the Peake Commons Welcome Center (return it to the church collection box at the same place). Answer as many or as few of the Survey questions as you choose, using the comments box at the end for any additional remarks. All Surveys are anonymous and confidential, read only by the Search Team.
October 30, 2019.
In the 10 weeks since their first meeting (Aug 27) the Lead Pastor Search Team has meet together 9 times (almost weekly), including several hours with Oklahoma Disciples Regional Ministers, and with a congregational consultant.
In addition, team members
– met with 7 individual staff members;
– wrote, designed, posted, and printed the Congregational Survey;
– are receiving those Survey responses and compiling them for preparing the Congregational Profile; and
– are having countless individual conversations with members, participants, leaders, and groups.
THANK YOU for keeping their important work and ministry in your prayers.
This week includes a slight shift in team make-up, as Meredith Howard steps away from the Team, and Tom Maxwell and Janet Briggs step in. The work of this ministry is vast, and significant. Your participation through the Congregational Survey*, your prayers for the ongoing intentions and process, and your encouragement of this work matter more than you can know.
*Answer as many or as few of the Survey questions as you choose. There is a COMMENTS box at the end of the survey, where you can offer any comment, insight, or suggestion to the LPST. Hard copies of the Survey are always available at the Peake Commons Welcome Center, and can be returned there (to the ‘church’ box). All Surveys are anonymous and confidential, read only by the Search Team. THANK YOU for being part of this important process.
October 23, 2019.
During worship on Sunday (Oct 20), we heard from convener of the Lead Pastor Search Team, Ryan Buchan. The Team continues their very frequent meetings, and is working right now collecting and compiling your responses to the Congregational Survey. You can listen to Ryan’s brief comments here – his thanks to the congregation, and his encouragement of our work together:
Surveys are available online and in hard copy at the Peake Commons Welcome Center (you’ll see the ‘church’ collection box!).
This is an incredibly important tool in preparing to meet candidates for the Lead Pastor role. The Team needs something to put in the hands of interested pastors, to give basic details about the church, but also to share the deeper story of who we are. It helps both sides of the equation work on equal footing.
If you find the questions more than you want to respond to, please simply scroll to the bottom of the page and use the comment box. You can offer any comment, suggestion, or insight about our church and your hopes for the new Lead Pastor. Everything can be offered anonymously, and will be helpful to the Team as they work.
October 16, 2019.
The search team continues to work diligently on your behalf, meeting every other week. The major task at this point has been orientation to the ‘search and call’ process and developing a plan for moving forward.
The LPST has met with our regional ministers, and visited with a consultant, and made time to check in with pastors and staff. All are clear that the first major task is developing a congregational profile, which depends on input from the congregation. This profile will outline who we are as a congregation and who we hope to become. It is also the first piece of information interested candidates will receive about Harvard Avenue Christian Church.
Your input is vital to this process, and a congregational survey has been developed. This survey is anonymous, has a dozen very brief questions, and will take less than 10 minutes to complete. It will be available October 18 – November 10, both in paper form at the Peake Commons Welcome Center, and via an online survey tool (click here). Your survey responses allow us to tell the most complete story about life at Harvard Avenue, as it has been and as we hope it can be.
In order to allow time for a complete response and a careful compilation, we anticipate gathering the survey responses and completing the profile by Thanksgiving. There is other work happening within the team while the survey is being returned and the profile written. We will continue to share next steps as they are available.
October 2, 2019.
Our LPST continues to meet every two weeks, and is entering a stretch where there may not be a lot to actively update about, although there will be a good deal of work continuing. At present, the team is compiling resources and gathering best practices to create a process of surveying the congregation for input into the Congregational Profile. (see below)
When there is specific information to share, and particular ways for the congregation as a whole to participate, that will be made available as quickly and completely as possible. In the days in between, the Team remains grateful for your prayerful support and words of encouragement as they represent us in such meaningful and careful work.
September 18, 2019.
At their Sept. 12 meeting, the Lead Pastor Search Team met with Rev. Pam Holt, Regional Minister and Rev. Michael Davison, Associate Regional Minister, for orientation to the resources and process available through the Christian Church (Disciples) in Oklahoma. Here are some brief take-aways from an info-packed conversation:
- We are not a team of people looking to ‘hire the next minister’. We are a group of people gathered to call our next Lead Pastor. This is significant, because we need to keep God at the center of this process.
- This is a significant moment in the life of our congregation; we need your help and your prayers.
- The first major step is to build a congregational profile. This is a significant undertaking that will take several months; it involves a significant amount of data gathering, turning this data into usable information, and writing a narrative about who we believe God has called us to be.
- Once a congregational profile is completed, it will be submitted to the Regional Office; from there it is shared with ministers within the search and call process. Once we submit a congregational profile, then the search team will receive profiles of possible candidates.
- It is important to remember this is a confidential process. Our team will work diligently to keep everyone informed regarding where we are at in the process, but we cannot talk about specific people. Many of the candidates we will be considering are actively serving other congregations, so it is essential that we maintain the strictest confidentiality for their benefit and integrity, and ours.
- We will have a progress poster displayed soon in Peake Commons. It will be updated each time we complete a significant step in the process to calling our next Lead Pastor.
- From time to time, we will give updates during worship. Also, all the information updates regarding our search process can be found on our website on the LOOKING AHEAD page (linked from the front page), linked in our e-news each week, and in our monthly Faith Matters newsletter.
September 11, 2019.
The Lead Pastor Search Team meets this week, September 12. They will be joined by Regional Minister, Rev Pam Holt, and Associate Regional Minister, Rev Michael Davison, for orientation to resources and support available from the Region during this search and call process.
Join us in worship on Sunday September 22, when we will offer a blessing for this Team. Your ongoing prayers for their work, and your active engagement in the full life of the church during this transition season, are so powerful. Thank you.
August 27, 2019.
The Lead Pastor Search Team has been confirmed and will begin with orientation to their work together moving forward. We will offer a blessing and commissioning for the Search Team during worship (both services) on Sunday September 22. Thank you for your prayers for these faithful servants, with gratitude for the prayerful discernment of our Board of Elders who invited them into service.
LEAD PASTOR SEARCH TEAM
Ryan Buchan, Search Team convener
Jason Dent (Exec Team representative), ex-officio
August 12, 2019.
As directed by the Harvard Avenue By-Laws, and outlined in the process below, the Board of Elders has spent considerable time in prayer and discernment, and is meeting this week to pray together and collaborate by concensus to determine potential members for the Lead Pastor Search Team.
Those invitations will be extended, and a complete list of Search Team members will be shared with the congregation as soon as the entire Team is confirmed. We will also outline next steps as the Team begins its orientation, congregational connection, and search process together.
July 31, 2019.
A NOTE FROM OUR MODERATOR.
Dear Harvard Avenue Friends,
The Church’s elected leaders, elders, ministers and staff are actively involved in the transition to a new Lead Pastor. Our By-Laws prescribe a process for this change. We are following that process as the search begins.
Jason Dent, Jennifer Annis, Lisa Rhynes and I make up the Executive Leadership Team (ELT); we are working closely with Bob Flint and our Elders, who will create a Search Team for the next Lead Pastor. Several of us have been speaking with Rev. Pam Holt, our Regional Minister, who can offer advice, resources and wisdom.
A plan is in place to cover the Lead Pastor’s duties during the transition, including filling the pulpit, visiting the sick, lifting the congregation’s concerns in prayer, and continuing HACC’s business operations. The ELT is available to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact any one of us. We will continue to update you all along the way.
What can the congregation do?
Pray for our church, its ministers and staff, our search team and our future lead pastor.
Be gentle and patient with each other as we transition to this new phase. This will not go as fast as we might wish. It is a 1000-mile journey and we are on step five.
Attend, participate in worship, and give. Your presence counts now more than ever.
Celebrate the important things about us that have not changed. We are Christ’s church, planted here at 55th & Harvard on purpose, for a reason. We are spiritually and financially healthy. Our gifts, talents and passions remain intact. Our mission to share the gospel is an eternal one.
I believe our congregation will thrive in the coming months. We will demonstrate our faith and our love for God and one another.
– Darita Huckabee, Moderator; Harvard Avenue Christian Church
July 11, 2019.
With direction from our Congregational ByLaws, the Executive Leadership Team has requested our Board of Elders spend July and August in discernment and preparation to invite a broadly representative Search Team for a Lead Pastor to the task at hand. Over the life of the process, there will be time for prayer and study, conversation and listening among the whole church, and for review and recommendation of a candidate.
We will communicate as often and as quickly as possible throughout this process.
The first step of the process is to fully celebrate and faithfully conclude the ministry of our current Lead Pastor. This has been our focus and will be through Sunday July 28, when we will offer a blessing and sending for Rev Mark Briley, at the conclusion of each worship service.
As of mid-July:
- The Personnel Team has met to officially receive the resignation of Rev Mark Briley, who will conclude his pastorate at Harvard Avenue on July 28 2019.
- The Executive Leadership Team has met to review the full process and participation involved in a Pastoral Search.
- As they are tasked via the Harvard Avenue Christian Church ByLaws with inviting into service the Search Team for a Lead Pastor, the Board of Elders has met to review the process.
- The Elders are in a period of prayerful discernment and will meet in August to determine a list of invitees, and extend invitations, at which point their official role concludes.
- In consultation with the Executive Leadership Team and church staff, the Elders will identify a plan for pastoral leadership in the interim season, and secure assistance from Regional Staff and/or a congregational consultant who will bring particular expertise to the process. This will be communicated to the congregation as quickly as possible.
- This allows the Search Team to begin its work, which includes inviting congregational conversation and insight, besides the obvious identifying and considering of potential Lead Pastor candidates.
- Once a candidate is identified, that recommendation will come from the Search Team to the Elders and Ministry Leadership Team for review and approval, and then to the congregation for a vote in a special called meeting.
There are no hard-and-fast dates in a Search process. In most congregations, the full work may take six to twelve months. The process is designed to provide a season of space for celebration, grieving, evaluating the congregation, and making space for the unique gifts of a new pastor – therefore the interim season takes as long as a congregation needs to properly and healthily discern the leading of the Spirit.
We trust that God, who is already at work in us, is doing far more than we can ask or imagine. We are grateful for the already and ongoing prayers of a faithful people, and for the abiding presence of a generous God.