January 1, 2017
Happy New Year, Valleydale! As 2017 gets underway we thought it fitting to take a moment to update everyone on the progress of our Senior Pastor search.
During Vision Night on December 14, 2016, we gave an update to about 125 members who were in attendance. This communication will cover the same information with a brief update regarding what will be occurring next.
To begin with, thank you for your faithfulness in prayer for the congregation and the search team. This is a work that is bathed in prayer and we all feel that and are encouraged by the knowledge that so many are praying. Finding the man God has chosen is a spiritual work and it requires spiritual tools. This team will do our best to use tools associated with any job search while acknowledging that they are useless without the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Again, thank you for your prayers and for the fellowship we have through Christ.
The following is a summary of the team’s activity that commenced in late August 2016:
1. Team Development – This phase was spent forming the team and getting to know one another better. During this period we prepared for the work ahead.
a. Team Covenant
b. Prayer Covenant
2. Membership Feedback – In this phase, we gathered feedback from staff and the congregation to help us formulate a guideline that would help us seek and recognize the person God has chosen as our next Senior Pastor. Feedback was gathered from approximately 235 staff and members, ranging in age from 21-83 years. Of the responses, 52% were males and 48% were female, and membership ranged from 1 year to over 35 years. Thirty-five percent of those responding included specific comments for consideration.
a. Surveyed staff and congregation
b. Findings from survey (listed in no particular order):
i. Areas of highest effectiveness
1. Missions (~90% of respondents said the church was effective)
2. Preaching and teaching
5. Giving and stewardship (~75% of respondents said the church was effective)
ii. Areas of Senior Pastor emphasis
1. Preaching and teaching
3. Pastoral care and shepherding
4. Healthy community and unity
3. Senior Pastor Profile (Non-binding guideline) – We formed a profile from the feedback that helped us answer the first question each candidate has of us: “Can you describe who the church is looking for?” It is important to note that we have felt this process is helpful to understand the needs of the congregation and for initiating conversations, but it is generally not a litmus test used for eliminating potential candidates.
a. Scriptural foundation – Colossians 1:9-10 and Psalm 51:17
b. Spiritual discernment
c. Heart of the church
4. Communicate Profile
a. Vision Night – Launched updates to the church’s Pastor Search website
b. Network of ministry contacts – Focused on contacts through staff, members and friends of Valleydale Church
c. Church Community Profile
5. Initial Evaluations
a. We have reviewed approximately 30 candidates to date.
b. Profile grid – How a candidate aligns with our church
c. Listening and assessment
d. Initial contacts confirming interests
6. Initial Interviews
a. First round commencing 1/5/2017
We are encouraged by the candidates that have presented themselves to us. We are blessed to enjoy the prayerful consideration of several men of God. It has been our prayer from the outset that this process will progress in God’s timing and that we would not rush it out of any desire on our part. We pray that we are faithful in this area of our search covenant while at the same time being thankful to see strong candidates emerge so early in the process.
At this point, we will continue to seek God’s guidance, prayerfully evaluate the candidates and continue to be open to those God would lead in our direction.
May God bless our church,
Greg Graves and the Senior Pastor Search Team
Valleydale Senior Pastor Profile Synopsis
Praying for the Lord to help us discover a man who reflects Col 1:9-10: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
These traits are evident by a spirit of humility from faith and dependence on Christ. Psalm 51:17: “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise”
The MAN/ELDER (Pleasing To God – 1 Timothy 3:1-7/Titus 1:5-9)
He has a reputation that meets the scriptural qualifications for an Elder or Overseer. He is approaching his prime phase of ministry having demonstrated spiritual maturity, refined through life experience, sufficient to lead as Senior Pastor within the Valleydale Church bylaws.
The SHEPHERD (Full of Spiritual Wisdom – I Peter 5:2-3)
He is a hard-working servant leader with wisdom necessary to develop staff and lay leaders who collaborate with him in caring for the flock, enriching congregational life, unifying the body and making disciples.
The TEACHER (Filled with Knowledge of God – Joshua 1:7-9, 2 Tim 4:1-5; 2 Tim 3:16-17)
He boldly preaches the Gospel using the full counsel of God that is based on the inerrancy of scripture and is consistent with Southern Baptist Doctrine. He is an expository teacher with an engaging and relevant preaching style that balances sovereignty and human responsibility.
The MAN of PRAYER (Unceasing–James 5:16, 1 Samuel 12:22-24)
He models the value of prayer in a manner that is consistent with a spirit led life and ministry.
The VISIONARY (Bearing Fruit – Proverbs 29:18, John 15:4-8)
He has the wisdom and imagination to inspire a diverse membership that bears fruit in missions, evangelism and generosity while calling attention to the beauty and power of the Gospel. His missional focus will include local, national and international works.