An October 2012 Update from the PNC
It has been six months since the congregation elected the eleven of us to serve as the Pastor Nominating Committee, and what a busy six months it has been!
As you can see from our PNC Process checklist, we have crossed off quite a few things on our list, from gathering input to writing the Church Information Form (CIF) to posting the position and advertising it to gathering names and recommendations. The result is that we now have a list of around 200 names of possible candidates for that position.
Those names have come to us in a variety of ways:
- Some are people who responded to the CIF posting or to the advertisements we have placed in both national and international publications.
- Some were identified by the PCUSA’s Church Leadership Connection “matching” service as fitting the requirements we outlined in the description.
- Still others have been referred to us by members of the congregation and by a broad cross-section of more than forty leaders in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the wider church.
That list of around 200 names also encompasses a wonderful diversity of pastors at different stages in their careers with different gifts and from different places, including some from other countries. We are particularly pleased about that diversity, as we have been intentional in wanting to ensure a breadth of representation among those being considered.
We are now carefully reviewing the information about each one of the possible candidates, researching them to learn as much about them as we can, and discussing them with multiple people who can speak to their gifts and possible fit as Pastor of Fourth Church. We are using Internet searches, websites, posted sermons, and other information available online to be thorough in our research about candidates before we reach out to them—which is helpful given the sensitivity of the discussion (since most candidates will have jobs currently).
We also still continue to receive names to add to the list. To all of you who have passed along recommendations of possible candidates, thank you! If you have someone in mind whom you would like us to consider, please let us know soon at email@example.com, as we’d like to add them to the list.
Part of what is informing our review of candidates is the information gathered through the Pastoral Search Survey in which many of you participated this spring. It is proving invaluable in helping us talk through and shape the criteria that we use when evaluating candidates, and it will also offer the candidates a unique look at our congregation.
As you may have seen over the summer, we posted that summary online. If you haven’t already, we invite you to take some time to reflect on it as well, for what it says about Fourth Church today and who we aspire to be as a congregation, for what it is that we value in a Pastor, what we look for in a sermon, and more.
You’ll see, for instance, that a majority of the respondents placed high value on a pastor’s role as preaching inspiring sermons and leading worship sensitive to congregational needs. High priority was also placed on administrative and stewardship skills and commitment to the broader church mission. Most expressed a strong preference for thought-provoking and challenging interactions to comforting and reassuring interactions. And many felt that it is essential that a sermon makes us reflect on issues and events that go beyond our personal life and local community; is challenging and thought provoking, carefully composed and skillfully delivered, spiritually moving and inspirational.
When we were elected six months ago, it was with the anticipation that this process would take eight to eighteen months. The step we are currently on—“review Pastor Information Forms (PIFs) of those applying and contact referred candidates and conduct interviews as well as background and reference checks”—is one that will take the longest, the one in which we will be investing several months. It is also the step for which confidentiality requirements mean we are unable to report until we have moved on to presenting a nominee, which likely will not be until sometime next year. So while we may seem “quiet” for the months ahead, please know we are working hard on the most important part of this entire process.
Through it all we continue to covet your thoughts and prayers—both for our work as a committee on behalf of this great congregation and for the candidates who are applying and being considered. And we remain available for your ongoing questions and recommendations via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pastor Nominating Committee
Nicholette Andrews-Maggio, Juli Crabtree, Ranjan Daniels, Sam Evans,
Joan Hall, Marc Miller, Mark Nelson, Brad Pierce,
Arlene Raine, and Hilary Richardson