An Update and Request for Prayer Regarding our Search for an Assistant Pastor
July 15, 2021 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
On behalf of the elders, I would like to provide an update on our search for an Assistant Pastor. We invite the members and friends of Oak Hills to be praying for this process and our church.
- The Need. Since we purchased our building in Shawnee in 2015, Oak Hills has been growing steadily in both attendance and giving. The elders believe that in order to maintain continued, healthy growth we need additional pastoral leadership. This additional leadership will provide essential oversight to help existing ministries continue to develop to meet the needs that accompany growth and to create new ministry opportunities. Through the financial growth with which God has blessed Oak Hills, we believe we are now ready to offer a full-time call for an assistant pastor. This will still stretch us financially, but we trust that the additional pastoral leadership will encourage continued growth.
- The Job Description. The job title we have used is Assistant Pastor for Discipleship and Outreach. There are three primary areas of responsibility: Youth & Children, Outreach & Assimilation, and Small Groups. These responsibilities include activities such as the evaluation and establishment of our youth and children’s curriculum and programs, training and encouragement for personal evangelism, and overseeing our Life Group ministry. The Assistant Pastor will also assist with other general pastoral needs such as assisting with Sunday morning liturgy and occasional preaching. With the scope of responsibilities, we are looking for a minister who is ordained or ordainable in the PCA.
- Assistant Versus Associate? Some have wondered about the difference between an Assistant and Associate Pastor. Our denomination has set this distinction. An Assistant Pastor is called by the Session and an Associate Pastor is called by the congregation. Therefore, an Associate Pastor is a member of the Session, but an Assistant Pastor is not. There are a variety of benefits and purposes for this distinction. For a young man just graduating from seminary, an assistant pastor call provides the opportunity to be ordained, grow in his ministry skills, and gain valuable experience. I benefited from this sort of call in northern California before coming to Oak Hills. An Associate Pastor typically will be someone who has some ministry experience and senses a call to a non-preaching ministry. We are open for our Assistant Pastor to transition to an Associate if this seems wise for both our congregation and the minister.
- The Status of the Search. We posted the opening with the PCA’s pastor search board and a few seminaries. We have had ten applicants. We ask each applicant to submit answers to a questionnaire that seeks to help us get to know their ministry passions and preferences. We have conducted Zoom interviews with five of the applicants. We have had follow up conversations and spoken with references for four applicants. At this point, there are two applicants who are drawing our attention. We have some more interaction planned in the next couple of weeks. We may have one or both applicants visit Oak Hills. When we get to that point, we intend to inform the congregation and give opportunity for people to interact with the candidate(s).
We appreciate your prayer during this process. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Pray that God will clearly lead and provide the man of his choosing for our church. Pray that Oak Hills will continue to be bold and faithful in her longing to make known God’s astonishing grace. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to speak with me or one of the elders.