When an announcement is made about the transition of a Lead Pastor, there is surprise, grief, celebrating of life together … and there are questions.
We will use this page, and our other communication avenues (email, newsletter, worship bulletin, class/group contact persons, etc.) to be in touch as often as possible: outlining the process; identifying the participants; updating on steps taken; inviting input in specific ways; and always asking for your continued prayers – for this church, its leadership, and the ways God is moving to deepen and strengthen our bonds of faithfulness, and our commitment to following the ways of Jesus.
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.