What’s news, from Session!
Your Session has been working diligently to move us along in the process of finding a temporary (interim) pastor. We would like to share with you the narrative section of the Ministry Information Form, which is the piece that goes into the PCUSA ‘computer match system’, to connect us with candidates who are looking for churches. Our local Presbytery is also being quite helpful with suggestions and guidance in this process.
The complete MIF is longer than this and full of straightforward detail about the church. It also includes our desire to hire a part time temporary pastor. The section printed here has the questions asked of us and the answers that your Session members wrote to represent who we are, what our needs are, and who we are searching for in a temporary pastor. Session worked on this prayerfully over several meetings this summer and has received approved by the Committee on Ministry, as is required, before this could be submitted.
We also want to let you know that we feel hopeful about the future of our church and that the search process is moving along well. Thank you for all your prayers.
Walking Together -- We are a Community, Seeking to be in Stride with Christ
What does this mean to us? Walking together (a stated commitment to intergenerational ministry), as a church Community, Seeking (actively trying to find/define our vision, looking for fresh ways to us to share the gospel) to be in Stride with Christ (reference back to walking together, listening to the Word, learning to be like Him.)
(These answers are required to be no more than 1500 characters!)
What is the congregation’s or organization’s vision for ministry? Additionally describe how this vision is lived out.
As we attempt to address the full scope of these first three questions, it may be best to simply start with the fact that we are a congregation searching for our role, trying to live out our faith and love for Christ Jesus as members of this church, this community and as citizens of this world. We feel called to intergenerational ministry, as we walk together, with the idea that we can learn better together, that as we invest in each other, we strengthen our relationship with God. Here at First Presbyterian there are many active ministries, all faithfully looking to serve as the hands and feet of Christ.
How do you feel called to reach out to address the emerging needs of your community or constituency?
This is a church that supports its young people incredibly well, both financially and spiritually, a church that has been generous in helping these children and youth to experience God’s love beyond this building. This support includes an intergenerational mission partnership that dates back to the 1990s with churches in the Yucatan in Mexico. This partnership includes a vibrant two way exchange and a yearly scholarship program which supports families in the Yucatan, so that their children can go to school. Our church has invested much love into an active and well endowed program of worship and formation (We Kirk) for elementary aged children and an active children’s choir. We have been called to reach out to the community with a long standing program called Coats for Christmas, a program that provides coats, hats, scarves and mittens to almost a thousand needy people each year. We have responded to neighbors in need, both here in Defiance and beyond, with financial and emotional support. Multiple adult music groups reach different constituencies. The women’s group is active. A strong Wednesday night program of fellowship through food, followed by various formative gatherings of children, youth and adults, as well as music ensemble practices, draws some whose schedules do not allow them to attend on Sunday morning. We have made a commitment to open our building to make space for various social service groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous, hoping to be a blessing to others in need.
How will this position help you to reach your vision and mission goals?
We as a church community are called to faithfully worship together, but we are also a church that has problems. Even as we have grown in spirit over the past years, we must seek to understand if we want to move forward focused on a missional vision which includes the capacity for change or whether we want to stay the course and focus more on member care and internal programming, and what each of those choices might mean to our future. We are a people who dearly love our Lord and Christ Jesus, but who do not always agree on how to show that love. This is a church that needs help being truly hospitable, a church that may need to get to the point of negotiated settlement regarding our path forward. We need someone to help us discern the voice of God and to hear each other, so that we can have the tough conversations with each other needed to set us on our course. Are you that person? Please come and help us!
Provide a description of the characteristics needed by the person who is open to being called to this congregation and/or organization.
We are looking for a strong spiritual leader who finds joy in preaching, enjoys people, appreciates a variety of music and worship styles, loves noisy children, has a sense of humor, is community minded, is energetic, enjoys pastoral visits, has excellent communication skills with both individuals and crowds, is comfortable working with people of all ages, is organized, takes initiative, and is comfortable with technology. We are seeking an emotionally mature leader who can counsel, guide and lead us as a group through the complex discussions that are needed at this time to mend our conflicts and move us on to a stable and hopeful future within our church. Our spiritual leader will be able to assess, encourage and utilize the gifts of the congregation, as well as to help us work around our weaknesses, in order to best serve our mission to walk in stride with Christ, to glorify God.
For what specific tasks, assignments, and programs areas will this person have responsibility?
Our temporary pastor will be responsible for planning and leading worship, including administering the sacraments, ongoing and emergency pastoral care (illness, nursing home, hospital, hospice, family tragedy),moderating Session, serving as head of staff (currently seven), leading the Adult Growth Opportunity group on Wednesday nights during the school year and very importantly, leading us in discerning our direction as a church, to help us to hear each other as we work on the tough questions as we plan for our church’s future. We would also like help in planning or identifying a program for confirmation, perhaps even in conjunction with other area Presbyterian churches.