As I consider all that God has brought us through this past year, I have so loved entering into the Advent Season with the reminders everywhere of God’s deep and abiding love for us in that He sent his son Jesus to earth so we could be Fully Alive through Him! His faithfulness to us has been shown in His provision for our needs, His guidance through the Succession Planning process, and His care for us in sustaining our beloved church family through the difficulties of this year. Now, we ask, “Who is God Calling?” to be the next Lead Pastor of our congregation. I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled to watch Him unfold the story one step at a time!
We have pondered the Scripture together from Jeremiah 3:15, where the Lord declares to Israel, “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding,” realizing that it is God that will provide us with our next Lead Shepherd and that it will not be based on our wisdom, insight, or planning but a total reliance upon Him through prayer. To that end, our Succession Planning Committee has faithfully met via Google Meets every Tuesday morning at 7:15 to pray for our new Lead Pastor, and we have, as a congregation, been praying for a different prayer focus each week. We have prayed for his humility (Ephesians 4:2), his faithfulness and fruitfulness (John 15:5), his teaching and preaching (Colossians 1:28-29), his integrity and authenticity (Psalm 78:72), his accountability (1 Peter 5:1-4), his thankfulness and renewal (Colossians 2:7), his submission and love (Philippians 2:1-5), his care for ministry leaders and staff (Matthew 11:28-30), and his (and our) patience and timing (Philippians 4:6-7).
I continue to be so grateful for the hard work and service of so many Northlanders through this process. Knowing that, through their faithfulness and obedience, God will continue to provide for Northland, just as he has throughout our 48-year history. It’s been amazing to watch since the beginning of May as our Succession Planning Committee worked to develop 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. In July, this work’s completion paved the way for our Pastor Search Committee, formed as a subset from the Succession Planning Committee, to work alongside our Pastor Search Consultant, Slingshot, to commence an international search for our next Lead Pastor. This search process brought over a hundred highly qualified candidates to apply for this position. Slingshot presented six candidates to the Pastor Search Committee that, through their prayerful evaluation process, stood out as the most qualified to be Northland’s next Lead Pastor. Out of respect for the candidate’s current ministry positions, the candidates’ names are being kept confidential, but suffice it to say that they are all highly gifted men of God.
Following an exhaustive evaluation of the mountain of information provided by the candidates in the form of a Cover Letter, Pastor Profile, Pastoral Staff Questionnaire, and selected video samples of their sermons, the Pastor Search Committee is now interviewing each of the six candidates. It is in fervent prayer over who God is calling to be our next Lead Pastor. Once the Committee has completed the candidates’ interviews, it will recommend 1 or 2 candidates to be interviewed by the Governing Elders, Pastors, and Staff Leadership. We anticipate that these interviews will take another month or two, so we are praying that God reveals who he is calling during the first quarter of 2021! As a reminder, please know that although the final determination of who God is calling to be our next Lead Pastor will be made by the Governing Elders, we are engaging as many voices as possible from our church congregation. This Lead Pastor will be our long-term Shepherd. Your voice is vital in the process! Please continue to 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!