In Jeremiah 3:15, the Lord declares to Israel “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding”. The term shepherd is not often used in our contemporary language and the imagery of a leader who lays his life down for others does not make the news very often. But when it comes to the care of God’s people, this is the term He uses for how a leader is to serve. The word shepherd is also translated as “pastor” and both words are closely related to the Latin verb pascere which means “to lead to pasture, set to grazing, cause to eat.” What a beautiful picture of the role that a pastor fulfills to supply his flock with safety and sustenance. So ,as we search for our next Lead Pastor, we could also accurately say that we have initiated the search for our next Lead Shepherd!
Throughout our 48 year history, God has provided Northland with exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ask or imagine and we are grateful. He owns the “cattle on a thousand hills” and we acknowledge that everything is His so with this posture, we submit to His will for the continued mission of our church. In particular, as we engage in succession planning, we submit ourselves to Jesus regarding the calling of our next Lead Pastor at Northland.
We are so thankful that our Succession Planning Committee, a cross-section of our congregation including Pastors, Governing Elders, Shepherding Elders, Staff, and Congregants, answered the call to spend 3 months praying and seeking the Lord for what He has planned for us as a congregation. Starting in May, this group of 15 godly men and women from our church met together to seek the Lord in prayer, read the scriptures, and listen to the Holy Spirit as they developed employment policies regarding our next Lead Pastor, set in place the process for selecting our next Lead Pastor, and defined the qualities, responsibilities, and qualifications for our next Lead Pastor. We are thankful that God used each committee members’ unique voice in committee discussions and the end result was a collaborative and cohesive path forward. Although the committee has completed all the tasks set forth for them to accomplish in the Committee Charter, one will never be complete…prayer! As such, we are calling the entire congregation to pray along with the committee as they will continue to meet every Tuesday morning to pray during the Lead Pastor search.
At the recommendation of the committee, we will be engaging a Pastor Search Consultant to assist us in the process. During committee discussions, it became apparent that we don’t have the in-house capacity or expertise to do a national search ourselves so we are engaging the consultant to publicize the position for us and provide us with qualified candidates that we can pursue. Through prayerful consideration, we have selected the Slingshot Group. The Slingshot Group has extensive experience in Lead Pastor placement and their associates are still involved as Pastors in their local churches, so they have real-time insight into church ministry. If you hear of any candidates, share the profile with them found at https://slingshotgroup.org/job_posting/lead-pastor-34/.
Also, as recommended by the Succession Planning Committee, we are excited to announce that a Pastor Search Committee has been created. This group of 8 amazing men and women was formed as a smaller subset of the Succession Planning Committee to take advantage of their knowledge of the Succession Planning documents and common understanding of committee discussions. Their task will be to interface with the Pastor Search Consultant throughout the process. They will be the group that initially reviews candidates brought to us by the consultant and they will narrow down the number of candidates for interview by the Governing Elders, Pastors, and Staff Leadership. Please know that although the final decision will be made by the Governing Elders, we will engage as many voices as feasible from our church congregation… this Lead Pastor will be our longterm Shepherd and it is extremely important to us that we hear from you!
We are told that from start to finish (depending on God’s timing, of course) the process will take a minimum of 6 months, so we will keep you updated all along the way. Please be praying for each member of the committee—that God would provide wisdom and discernment toward the selection of our next Lead Pastor, a “Shepherd after God’s own heart.” Please pray that God will prepare our next Lead Pastor’s heart for ministry at Northland and pray that God will also prepare us for him!