Woodcrest’s Lead Pastor Search
There were several questions asked at the annual meeting regarding the Lead Pastor search. So, we’d like to provide an update to ensure the congregation is fully aware of Woodcrest’s process to select our next lead pastor. Here is a summary of the various roles and activities involved in the process.
What is the congregation’s role in selecting the new pastor?
The congregation selected the Lead Pastor Calling Committee last spring. The team is made up of Eli Hart (Chairman), Jessica Berreth, Andrea Burt, Laurie Hansen, Derek Parker, Chris Thomas, and Dave Waldoch.
The congregation also completed a survey last summer that helped shape the profile of Woodcrest that is used during the search process. We’ve asked for the congregation to pray for our next pastor and this process using the 31-day prayer journal and to support the calling committee that the congregation elected. When a final candidate is presented, the congregation will have an opportunity to meet him, see him preach and then will vote whether or not to approve his appointment. If approved, we ask that the congregation fully commits to helping welcome him and his family to Woodcrest.
It is our prayer and expectation that our selected candidate is a great fit for Woodcrest. And these candidates are also seeking their right next ministry placement. We know the candidates are seeking God’s will first and foremost, praying over this process and interviewing us as we interview them.
How is the Pastor Placement Process (P3) led by our denomination Converge North Central helping?
The P3 team from Converge North Central has deep expertise in guiding churches through the placement process and helping match churches with excellent candidates for their pastor roles. 90% of the over 100 pastors they’ve helped place in the last 7 years are still with the church they joined.
P3 designed the survey given to the congregation last summer and has hosted sessions to guide the Calling Committee through building out our church profile. P3 has all of their pastor candidates take a series of assessments and interviews and uses that information to create a detailed profile containing more than 30 pages of information for each candidate. P3 then identified the top candidate matches from their large pool and conducted preliminary calls with each to ensure the candidates were a viable match for Woodcrest.
Since presenting the viable candidates to Woodcrest, they’ve helped the Calling Committee interpret the assessment information for each candidate – to see how each aligns with our desired candidate attributes. P3 is now supporting the Calling Committee with the interview process (providing a pool of sample questions to pull from, giving guidance on areas to dive deeper into, etc).
P3 has also given suggestions on how to conduct our Candidate weekend events which will include several opportunities for Woodcresters to meet the candidate and his family (more details below).
What is the Lead Pastor Calling Committee doing?
The Calling Committee has prayed to discern and trust God’s will in this matter and to lean into Him for wisdom. This is important in every phase of the process as we also use the 31-day prayer journal. The Calling Committee completed several assessments that, combined with the findings from our churchwide survey, were used to shape a preliminary profile of the pastor Woodcrest is seeking.
The Calling Committee participated in a several hour workshop with P3 and our Leadership board (minus Pastor Pete) to further refine the Woodcrest church profile and our expectations of pastoral candidates. Key components of this profile include the level of education desired, pastoral experience, commitment of faith, teaching grounded in the Scripture, heart for God’s people, strong ability to connect with people and a bias for action.
Update on the process:
There are currently 3 active candidates that P3 sourced for us – as they most closely matched the profile of the pastor Woodcrest is seeking. The Calling Committee has completed preliminary “get-to-know-each-other” interviews with all 3 candidates via Zoom. The Calling Committee have all watched several sermons from each candidate and we have scheduled deep dive interviews for all 3 (virtual – via Zoom) during the weeks of February 20 & 27.
After those interviews, the Calling Committee will check references and determine how many viable candidates remain. We will also determine if more Zoom calls are needed, or if it is time to bring one or more candidates (and their wives) to Woodcrest for in-person discussions.
After meeting him (or them) face-to-face, the members of the Calling Committee will make our selection. As our constitution specifies, we will present one candidate to the congregation during the candidate weekend. There will be a number of ways for Woodcresters to get to know the candidate during that weekend. These will include Q&A sessions, meetings with ministry leaders, spending time with the staff, enjoying a meal with a few small groups, meeting some of our youth, etc.
The candidate will preach at both services that Sunday and the congregation will vote that day as the final step in the selection process. There will be a reception event planned for shortly after this vote. In the unlikely event that the Calling Committee does not find a suitable candidate among the three, or the church votes not to approve the candidate presented, we would begin the process of sourcing candidates again.
We hope this helps provide an overview of the process we are undertaking together. We are confident that God already knows who he will have lead Woodcrest in the future, and we are trusting Him to guide us to that pastor. We ask for your continued prayer over this very important phase in the life of Woodcrest and look forward to celebrating with you when we have found our next pastor.
Blessings all, the Lead Pastor Calling Committee:
Eli, Jessica, Andrea, Laurie, Derek, Chris, and Dave