Pastor's Note | Saturday, March 8th
During the month of February, nearly 85 people, including members of our Session, staff, and congregation at large, spent time with Don Goehner, a Church Staffing Consultant. Don conducted a number of Focus Groups and one-on-one interviews that are part of the process of helping us chart a course forward into the future God has for Good Shepherd. I want to thank all of you who gave your time and made the effort to provide valuable input to Don.
One prevalent question is this: "What is this all about, that is, why have we hired a staffing consultant?" That is a good and fair question.
The answer includes two very important considerations.
The first is that we are in the midst of a transition in terms of denominational affiliation. If we become affiliated with ECO (A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians), we have a fuller array of options regarding how to staff for pastoral leadership, including having an Associate Pastor become the Head of Staff Pastor. This leads to the second consideration, as Connie and I look toward the future God has for us. At this point we are looking at "retirement" in July 2016 and entering into a new chapter in our lives and our call to ministry.
So, why the consultant? Most significantly, in late April, Don Goehner will provide a detailed report to our Session that will include a number of recommendations regarding the best way to staff for the future of Good Shepherd. The Session will then have the challenge of responding to those recommendations and charting a course of action based on them.
Now, you may wonder what will happen next? The Session will process Don's report and determine what it deems to be the right course of action. Depending on what that is, the Session will involve you - the congregation - in its recommendations and in the process it defines. Remember that decisions about calling pastors includes the action of the congregation, so you will have a role in future decisions. Again, this is a matter for prayer, asking God to lead us all together.
I am grateful for the work Don has done and continues to do on our behalf. I believe he has learned a lot about Good Shepherd and can help us discern the best leadership for the future. Please pray for him as he completes his report and pray for our Session as we work on the things that are recommended.
My goal during the next 28 months is to accomplish a number of things that will help Good Shepherd thrive in its on-going ministry. These include helping us make a transition to a new denomination, launching a rigorous campus improvement effort (we have deferred a lot of work and need to take some significant steps to improve our facilities), help us develop a more robust Endowment Fund that will provide on-going funding for ministry, and ensure that our Session and Ministry Team structures best enable us to live out our call to make disciples who connect with God, grow in faith, and serve in love.
Please pray for some specific things:
- For the Joint Discernment Team that is working toward a solution for dismissal from PC(USA). Pray for a gracious negotiation and a solution that is beneficial to all parties involved.
- For confidence that God is in control, that the risen Lord Jesus is indeed the Head of the Church and the Head of Good Shepherd.
- For insight, wisdom, and clarity as the Session receives, processes and acts on the report from the Goehner Group
- For us all to embrace the call to help our neighbors know the love of God that has been so vividly expressed through Jesus.
At the beginning of the written record of the things God revealed to John (Revelation 1), the risen Jesus speaks and identifies himself this way: "I am the Alpha and the Omega... who is, and was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Our risen Lord is the one who was from before time and creation, who was present in human form - fully God and fully human - two thousand years ago, and who was raised from the dead by the power of God. He is the fully trustworthy and almighty Lord of our lives, of this church, and of all things. Let's rest and live in him.