It has been my privilege to serve as pastor of Calvary Church for over 23 years. Through different “seasons” of ministry, and not a few changes, Melissa and I have been blessed by the support, encouragement and love showered upon us by this congregation. I can’t imagine anything in which I would have rather invested these years.
But as we all know, things change and we all get older. Melissa and I have discerned that it is now time to look toward the next “chapter” of life. Together with Calvary’s leadership, we have decided that I will retire from my role as pastor in the summer of 2021.
Calvary’s Session has been discussing this eventuality for several years. Our Elders understand that transition is a pivotal time for a congregation. It can also be difficult to navigate. For that reason, Session decided to contract with a consultant through ECO to lead us in a process of succession planning. The purpose of this plan is to minimize disruption and maximize potential as we go into a time of change and transition.
Session began the planning process with a Session Retreat last May facilitated by John Terech, a member of the ECO staff trained in this area. Over a span of 8 hours, the Elders learned about the dynamics of pastoral transition, “continuity factors” which need to be considered by organizations in transition, and different models of pastoral succession.
They also began to discern which of these factors need to be addressed in the life of our congregation, and to map out a strategy to do so. Areas of focus included:
• Organizational stability – looking particularly at finances, personnel, and building
• Identity – being able to clearly articulate Calvary’s mission, values, strategy, measures, and vision
• Movement – developing short and mid-range goals
Session has been at work to address these areas, particularly focusing on matters of organizational stability. They have also decided to work with another resource through ECO to help us to crystallize and communicate our identity, mission, and vision. This “vision frame” process will begin in the next few weeks.
The plan is to have all the preliminary work done by the end of this summer so that Calvary may select a Pastor Nominating Committee to begin its work in early fall. The hope is to have a candidate to present to the congregation by late spring 2021 who would begin early to mid-summer. This timeline would allow for a 1 – 2 month overlap between me and the new pastor to assist him or her in becoming acclimated to the congregation. This is, of course, just a brief description of the process more details will be forthcoming.
On behalf of Calvary’s Session, I’m asking you to do several things. First, I ask you to pray . . . pray . . . and pray some more. The second is trust. Trust God, who is Lord over the future of Calvary Church. Trust Calvary’s leadership who have sought and are continuing to seek God as we walk through this process. Third, remember that God is at work in the life of this church here and now. Embrace and join in what God is already doing in the life of Calvary Church as we walk together into the future.
Grace & Peace,