Pastor Nominating Committee
The Pastor Nominating Committee joyfully introduces Rev. Dr. Michael York as Central Presbyterian Church's next Senior Pastor.
Dear Members of Central Presbyterian Church,
This written letter is to inform you that the session of Central Presbyterian Church has approved a Congregational Meeting for Sunday, March 6, 2022, at 10:30 am to hear a report from the Pastor Nominating Committee and to call a congregational vote on the information that will be presented.
As your Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC), it has been our sacred duty and honor to represent you for the past nineteen months as we searched for our new senior pastor to lead Central. During this time, we have looked to the Holy Spirit and the PC(USA) Book of Order to guide us as we thoughtfully and deliberately navigated each step of the process.
When David Bailey announced his retirement at the end of 2019, the session approved establishing the PNC. Due to COVID, the approval of the PNC by the congregation didn’t take place until July 2020. For the first five months, the nine member committee worked tirelessly to create the church’s Mission Study and to develop the Ministry Information Form to publish the open pastor position in the PC(USA) Church Leadership Connection (CLC) system.
We received our first potential candidates in January of 2021. Overall, we had a good mixture of candidates from matches in the CLC system, self-referrals, and referrals from other pastors, seminary leaders, friends, etc. In the review process, we studied personal information, education, and ministerial experience on all of the Pastor Information Forms we received. Next, we would dig deeper by watching sermons, conducting online and in-person interviews, hosting visits, reviewing social media accounts, and checking references. We prayed at all times for the Holy Spirit to guide us in the discernment process.
After reviewing over 80 candidates from 25 states, Canada, and South Africa, the PNC agrees there is only one candidate that best FITS where Central is in its ministry today and who we believe will lead us to where God wants us to be in the future! We are excited to let you know that the PNC has unanimously and joyously chosen a nominee. Our candidate has also been thoroughly and successfully vetted and examined by the Foothills Presbytery Committee on Ministry Examinations Commission in the areas of their call to ministry, Bible, theology, sacraments, and church polity.
Now it is your turn! On March 6, please be present so you will learn about your candidate, their family, and why we believe the candidate will bless Central with their wonderful talents, gifts, and the love of Christ they have displayed to us. After the presentation and any subsequent discussion, those members present will vote to call our next Senior Pastor to Central.
Our prayer is that this day will begin the next chapter in Central Presbyterian’s extraordinary history of service to God, witness to His son Jesus Christ, and servant leadership to the Anderson community.
Your Pastor Nominating Committee
PNC Update 12-5-21
A lot has happened in the 2 months since I last reported to you!
We’ve received and evaluated 5 PIF’s in the CLC system.
We’ve had 6 meetings.
In addition, we’ve had 2 Zoom interviews with candidates that each lasted 1.5 to 2 hrs.
We’ve had an In-Person interview that lasted well over 4 hours.
We have now received and prayerfully evaluated from 25 states along with Canada and South Africa.
The most have come from Florida and Illinois.
S C is toward the bottom of the list.
I guess that means everyone in SC is happy with their call, but that also means we are dealing with longer distances for in-person interviews and visits!
We continue to receive PIF’s and will have new matching PIF’s to start evaluating next week.
The most frequent comment we hear from the congregation is “Why is it taking so long?”
You’ve heard me talk about the delays in gathering data for our MIF due to Covid, but I’d like to mention several other significant reasons:
The process itself is time consuming.
The First Step is receiving and evaluating the Pastor Information Forms or PIF’s .
The PIF’s provide:
The usual Contact information and where they are located,
We pay a lot of attention to their education history and level since we are looking for someone with a doctorate from seminary.
We also look at their continuing education to see if they stay current.
Church employment history tells us where they have served,
and their experience indicates if they can be effective in a church the size of Central.
We also check dates of service to see if they job hop, or if there are negative trends such as big membership drops.
They list their Leadership competencies, and outside services to the church and community such as Presbytery committees, ministerial associations, non-profits, etc.
Then they answer Open ended questions that tell us a lot about their ministry such as successes, areas of growth, the ministry setting they are being led to, when they have led change, and their faith statement.
If the entire PNC feels good about the candidate, we go to the second step which is reviewing sermons and worship services online.
Are their sermons engaging?
Do they use scripture, and make it relevant to everyday life situations?
Are they well read, referencing various theologians?
Do the sermons flow well with a clear message and an easy-to-understand point?
Do they use humor, illustrations, or stories?
How well do they interact with the congregation both on and off-script?
Was the length appropriate?
As before, if we all feel good, we go to the third step which is interviewing.
In the first interview, which has been by zoom so far, we are getting to know each other.
We introduce ourselves and take turns asking them questions about:
Personal history, what led them into the ministry.
What is leading them away from their current call, and what attracts them to Central?
We ask Questions on subjects such as Leadership, Community outreach, sermon preparation, and Pastoral care, along with their outside hobbies and interests that recharge their batteries.
We then give them time to ask us questions about Central.
If the committee decides to go to the next levels of interviews, we prefer to be in-person.
Here we begin asking more in-depth questions, being completely transparent with each other, beginning the work to determine if they are a FIT for Central, and we are a FIT for them.
We are entering into this area of the process one of our candidates right now.
We are in the process of scheduling an in-person interview, possibly during December, but with the holidays, probably in January.
This brings me to the last and very important reason for taking so long.
Central needs more time to grieve the loss of David Bailey!
That concern came up when we interviewed our staff early on.
That concern appeared in the Holy Cow survey when the congregation said there was high anxiety about David Bailey leaving.
And recently, several candidates have voiced this concern and questioned “Is Central ready for a New Pastor after having a beloved pastor leave after 23 years?”
They stressed that they did not want to be an “unintentional interim.”
They want to come into a church that is fully prepared to embrace a new pastor with different skills and gifts.
It usually takes a year or so for an interim like David Garnett to prepare a congregation for the transition to a new pastor.
Even though the PNC has been working for 16 months, it’s only been 5 months since David Bailey retired and 3 months since David Garnett arrived here!
The PNC is not slowing down as you can tell from the earlier part of my report, but we have realized that we as a church, need more time!
David Garnett’s excellent skills and his proven experience in leading other churches through this transition will give the PNC time to be deliberate in our search, and the church more time to heal.
His leadership gives us the time needed to make sure that we find the pastor that is the right FIT for Central, and Central is the right FIT for that Pastor!
God has already called that shepherd for us, and He will reveal who it is at the perfect time!
Please keep us in your prayers as we continue in our search!
PNC Update 9-19-21
We would like to give you an update on the progress of the PNC.
Before I get started though, on behalf of the PNC, I would like to thank the Interim Search Committee for the great job they did in bringing David Garnett to Central as our interim pastor. His excellent messages have been informative, encouraging and reassuring to the congregation, and to the PNC, that the search process is working, and in a normal timeframe.
We have been meeting now for a little over 13 months. Essentially, weekly for the first 6 months, until we got our Ministry Information Form or MIF into the PC(USA) CLC system, and averaging twice a month since then.
With no in-person worship services or large gatherings during our first 8 months, it was difficult and challenging for us to gather the information needed from you to create our MIF, and our separate Mission Study that tells the story of Central, of Anderson, and Central’s contributions to the community.
We are still receiving Pastor Information Forms or PIF’s from the CLC system.
To date we have received and prayerfully evaluated over 60 PIFs.
Needless to say, we have been watching a lot of sermons on YouTube!
Most of the 60+ PIF’s are candidates in the CLC system whose information closely matches what we are looking for as described in our MIF.
Some are self-referred, meaning, after reading our MIF, they apply directly to us, through the CLC system.
Recently, we have received several suggestions of potential candidates who are NOT actively looking for a call.
So far, we have received one recommendation from our contacts with the seminary alumni offices.
We have received and evaluated PIF’s from 24 different states, along with Canada and South Africa.
We have had multiple interviews with several candidates, either by Zoom or in-person, and have 2 additional candidates to interview this month.
As I mentioned earlier, we are still receiving PIF’s.
The Presbytery ran matches for us from the CLC system last week.
They do this at our request every 4 – 6 weeks.
If you personally know of someone that might be interested, please let one of the PNC members know.
God has already picked our next shepherd for Central.
We covet your prayers for guidance from the Holy Spirit:
for the PNC, as we discern who it is that God has chosen,
for the one that GOD has chosen, that they realize and accept the call,
and for us as a congregation, that when it happens, we support and embrace them
with open arms!
PNC Update 7-31-21
Greetings from your PNC!
We hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.
It was certainly with mixed emotions that we bid farewell to David Bailey and celebrated his retirement with a packed worship service and a joyous celebration afterwards. What a way to honor David Bailey’s 23 years of service to Central and the community!
Just like the weather, things are heating up with your PNC!
We continue to receive matches from the Church Leadership Connection system.
What is new is an increase of good candidates coming from word of mouth.
In the past several weeks we have received multiple suggestions of excellent pastors that may be interested in Central from many different sources. These have come from other pastors, church members, and the alumni office from a seminary.
As we prayerfully study and evaluate these new suggestions, we continue to interview and communicate with the top candidates we have already identified.
We are still receiving new PIF’s, so if you know someone, please give any of the PNC a name and contact information!
The PNC is thankful that Session made the decision to engage an interim, not only to help the congregation and staff in our leadership transition, but to give us more time to discern who God has picked as our next shepherd.
We continue to covet your prayers for guidance, wisdom and perseverance!