A lot has transpired since our last written
update on the status of WGC’s pastoral search, both in the search process and
in the world!
The Search Committee was very busy through the
months of February and into early March reviewing applications, conducting
phone interviews, and contacting candidate references. We reviewed over 60 applications, conducted 8
phone interviews and contacted references for 3 candidates. The Search Committee then compiled applicable
information related to our top 3 candidates and turned this information and the
search process over to the Elder Council in March.
The Elder Council then prayerfully reviewed the documentation put together by the Search Committee and narrowed the list to 2 candidates. Then COVID-19 changed the trajectory of our search process! The Elder Council conducted a combination of phone and Zoom engagements with the top 2 candidates and has narrowed the list down to our top candidate. We are hoping to bring him in for an on-site interview in the near future. This process has obviously been delayed by the COVID-19 related travel restrictions, but as things begin to ease up we are hoping travel will be possible soon. The Elder Council is extremely excited about the alignment between our vision for ministry at WGC and this candidate’s passions and experiences. We look forward to sharing more details with the congregation as the process moves forward.
On behalf of both the Search Committee and the
Elder Council, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the faithful
WGC family for your prayers and support throughout this process. We can so clearly see the fingerprints of the
Lord’s involvement in the process on many levels. We are humbled and sincerely grateful to God
for his wise direction, for his sovereign control of this process, for his
manifest love for our church and for his sustaining strength for those of us he
has allowed to be along for the ride.
Please continue to pray with us that the Lord will bring this process to a successful conclusion - one in which God is honored and WGC’s need for a Godly shepherd is met with the man of his choosing - and that he will give the leadership of WGC and our candidate continued wisdom, direction and sensitivity to his spirit.
For the Search Committee and the Elder Council,
The Search Committee is pleased with the progress of the search thus far. We posted the position on a number of seminary job boards in early December and some resumes trickled in throughout the month, likely limited by the holiday season. We met again on January 4 and decided to broaden the search to some additional job boards, and we have received a number of promising applications since then. The position is currently posted on approximately 14 job boards.
We will be continuing to receive application materials throughout at least January and February and will simultaneously be vetting the candidates and narrowing the applicant pool. The Search Committee continues to desire the prayers of the congregation that the Lord will bring the right candidate to our postings (if He has not already done so, which is certainly possible!), and that He will give us as a committee the wisdom and insight that we need as we evaluate and interact with candidates. We also want the congregation to feel free to ask us about the progress of the search and to encourage us in our work!
For the Search Committee,
Eric Beachy, Chair
Search Committee Update
Pastor Alfy Austin has faithfully served World Gospel Church as our Senior Pastor since September 2008. In early 2018, Alfy informed the Elder Council that he felt God was leading him into a different phase of life and ministry and that he planned to retire from World Gospel Church in the early summer of 2020. The Elder Council spent most of 2018 and the early part of 2019 preparing to lead the WGC congregation through the pastoral transition process. A change in pastoral leadership is always a challenging time in the life of a church - there is invariably a sense of loss, and we certainly feel that with Alfy’s planned departure. However, Alfy and the Elder Council have been very diligent to prayerfully lay a solid foundation for a God-honoring transition process, and we are confident that God will lead the man he has chosen to shepherd World Gospel into the future to us.
In June of 2019, Alfy’s planned retirement was shared with the World Gospel congregation and shortly thereafter a Search Committee was formed. The Elder Council selected a committee of individuals broadly representative of the congregation and whose skills and spiritual maturity they believed would contribute to the search process. The Elder Council asked Worship Elder Eric Beachy to chair the committee. The other members of the Search Committee include Betsy Allison, Timothy Chow, Nicole Heath, Erin Huttinger, Bret Mishler, Jonathan Schlak and Denise Schwartz.
The Search Committee began meeting in September and has been meeting regularly as further preparations have been made to conduct the search process. Between the Elder Council and the Search Committee, several important documents have been compiled including a Job Description and a Philosophy of Ministry for World Gospel Church as well as a Fact Sheet for the church and a narrative description of the church and community. The Search Committee participated in a half-day training put on by JB Symons, who assists churches and organizations in transition processes. The training improved the Search Committee’s comfort level in a number of important areas and highlighted the need for diligence and thoroughness in the search process.
In summary, the members of the Search Committee recognize that we have been charged with an important task with significant implications for the future of World Gospel Church. Our role will be to evaluate applicants for the Senior Pastor position through reading resumes, written communication, conducting phone interviews, pursuing references, doing background checks, etc. Our goal will be to narrow the pool of candidates down to several promising candidates whom we will present to the Elders for consideration. The Elder Council will then finalize the selection process and select a candidate to present to the congregation a pastoral candidate. This man will then be brought in for a candidating weekend and a congregational vote will be taken on extending a call to him. We will do our best to keep the congregation regularly apprised of the progress of the search process.
The members of the Search Committee recognize that this task is one in which we need the continuous wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. We desire to blanket this process in prayer as a committee and covet the ongoing prayers of the congregation for the Search Committee and the Elders, as well as for the man God has selected to be the next pastor of World Gospel Church.
For the Search Committee,
Eric Beachy, Chair