Searching for a Lead Pastor: A Session Update

We’re thankful that Ron Lutz will continue to serve as lead pastor at New Life until mid-2017. As his retirement approaches, the Session is working through the many facets of what we hope will be a successful transition from one lead pastor to another.

A primary link in the chain is the Search Committee. The search committee is part of the standards of our denomination (Presbyterian Church in America) to call a new lead pastor. In essence, this committee does the absolutely critical and time-consuming work of finding and screening potential candidates. They will match the position, our unique church culture, and our ministry needs for the future with the gifts and graces of a pastor who will work with us toward a future of growth in line with the vision of our congregation. In the process, they will go through dozens of suggestions, resumes, and interviews.

While they and the Session will seek to be very transparent about the process, there will be confidentiality about specific names. For the most part, the congregation will hear almost nothing about candidates. Some will be eliminated quickly. Others will rise to follow-up interviews, visits to hear them preach, and if serious enough, will be introduced to groups of leadership and focus groups from the congregation until someone is presented to the whole body.

The makeup of the committee is important. If the committee is too large, it will struggle getting together and moving forward with decisions. If it is too small, it doesn’t represent the congregation well. Each person on the committee must commit extensive time to the process. This is not for the faint-hearted. The Session wants a committee of 7-9 people. We will have elders on the committee, and a variety of other members of the congregation. The most important goal is to have a team made up of growing, servant-minded believers who, together, will be alert to all the facets of the ministry here at New Life. The team will need to have complementary gifts: interviewing, organizing, and communicating among others.

Our goal is to present the search committee names to be voted on by the congregation this fall. Then the real work for this team begins. Please pray for God to lead us as this committee comes together.