As we step into the month of August, we are nearing the one year mark of our discernment process regarding church staffing. In August 2011, church leaders (a combined team of Church Council and Diaconate) entered a process of discerning; the question was future staffing at First Baptist Church. We embarked on a journey that took us through several activities (a prayer vigil, listening sessions, exploring outside sources and deliberation among leaders). The leadership team concluded that God was leading us toward an additional staff person who would have broad responsibilities; yet his/her focus would be in outreach and worship. This decision was presented to the congregation in October. A consensus vote revealed overwhelming support for this direction. Last winter, a search team was formed to identify a candidate to fill the position. The search team has been working for months surveying profiles, contacting potential candidates and interviewing candidates. They have taken their work seriously; they have offered their best to determine God’s leading in this matter.
All of these efforts have led to a unanimous recommendation. The search team is proposing that we hire Matt Headley as Associate Pastor at First Baptist. Matt has been active in pursuing God’s direction over the past few months. In the meantime, an opportunity for outreach with Youth for Christ was presented to him last month. After contemplating the options and conversing with Matt, the search committee has determined that Matt serving 3/4 time at First Baptist and 1/4 time with Youth for Christ will benefit everyone. On August 12, the membership will have an opportunity to vote on this proposal.
This decision has not been in haste; it has taken almost a year to complete. The committee has followed a spiritual discernment process as they have deliberated, and members of the congregation have had input as well. As the church body is asked to finalize the calling of an Associate Pastor in the coming weeks, I want you all to be assured of the due diligence of this team and in the process they have authentically sought and indeed sensed God’s leading in this decision.