Letter From Session
December 11, 2019
Dear Church Family,
We are writing to update you on our search for a new associate pastor and to ask for your help in suggesting names of members who can serve on a new nominating committee. Thank you for your patience, faith in God, and love for the church.
At the September Congregational Meeting we received a report from the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (APNC). After more than two years of a diligent nationwide search using the denominational call system and a search firm, we could not find a qualified candidate for the approved position of Associate Pastor of Children, Students and their Families. The congregation dismissed the APNC with great thanks. The next step was for Session to discern a path forward and communicate to the congregation. This letter is the result of that discernment. We are deeply grateful for the hard work of the APNC and for their persistence and integrity in the process.
What did the Session learn? The original position description approved by Session was too expansive, the pool of experienced ordained individuals too small, and the traditional call process for this position unexpectedly too long. As a result, we changed the position description to “Associate Pastor of Student Ministries” and found a more efficient process within the denomination. This process is focused and more personal—the Presbytery of San Diego works with us to find a short list of qualified candidates. The called candidate, known as the Designated Associate Pastor, serves for a designated period of time (two to four years). After the designated period, the Associate Pastor can be “installed” indefinitely by vote of the congregation.
Why do we need another pastor? Presbyterian churches of our size and with our kind of ministries have between two and three associate pastors. Pastors uniquely lead by officiating at communion, weddings, baptisms and memorial services, and serving on Session and in Presbytery. The theological education and training of pastors is the cornerstone of thoughtful and biblical pastoral leadership of the whole church in discipleship, worship and service. An Associate Pastor for Student Ministries will be a voice for the next generation and add depth and bench-strength to our pastoral staff of Mike, Paula and Juan Daniel.
Why student ministries? In the past decade we have sought to take “sticky faith” and “growing young” seriously—discipling our children and students to be fully devoted followers of Jesus within an intergenerational church. The Reveal study recommended we prioritize making disciples—growing hearts, inviting and modeling intimacy with Jesus. We believe an Associate Pastor of Student Ministries will provide consistent spiritual leadership and collaborate with other ministries as we pursue this priority.
What is our process moving forward? The congregation will be asked to approve a Designated Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (DAPNC) slate of 5-7 spiritually mature and active members at the February 9 meeting based on nominations previously received from the congregation. The DAPNC will interview and present a candidate to the congregation for approval. The approved candidate will be installed (and ordained if necessary) at the earliest time possible. Our expectation is that this process can be concluded during 2020.
What can the congregation do? Recommend names for the DAPNC using an online form, or send recommendations or questions to Judy Enns, chair of the Nominating Committee, by January 5. Attend the February 9 Congregational Meeting. Pray for God’s will in the selection of the DAPNC and the candidate. Thank you.
Steve Carter, Janice Coy, Judy Enns, Juan-Daniel Espitia, TJ Freeland, Mike Garrett, Connie Kortman, Mike McClenahan, Paula Nance, Rebecca Nunes, Anita Power, Steve Rossier, John Steel, Paula Taylor, Wendell Wierenga