PASTOR SEARCH COMMITTEE UPDATE, AUGUST 2016
Dear Church Family,
A few weeks ago my daughter asked me a question which perhaps has been on the minds of many. Dad, how long is this pastor search going to take to get our Senior Pastor? The question confirmed what I have always known, she has my impatience gene! Knowing that, I gave her the short answer: I don’t really know but I know in God’s good and perfect time we will be able to make a recommendation to the Church. The good news is that after twenty-one formal meetings, most of them taking 3 – 4 hours, we have now completed Phase I of the three-phase process and we have begun phase II, the Search and Discernment process. During this phase, we have submitted the senior pastor vacancy announcement and invitation for applications to over 40 baptist-related entities and most of these entities have now advertised the announcement in print and/or on-line. It will interest you to know that we have already received over 400 applications in response to the vacancy announcement and we expect even more during the next 2 weeks. We have set September 2 as the date to begin evaluating applications. Please, feel free to send us a nomination or referral of a senior pastor applicant you feel led to share with us.
In preparation for the review of applicant resumes and cover letters, we had one of the most meaningful prayer retreats I have been blessed to be a part of. Our thanks are extended to so many of you who have prayed for us and especially those who came and prayed over us during the prayer retreat. My thanks to our pastoral staff who continue to work behind the scenes to ensure everything works well. We have a wonderful congregation and staff and I pray each one of us get to experience how blessed we are to be a part of this congregation. I thought it will be fitting to share with you some of what transpired during the prayer retreat.
Our primary guiding principle at the retreat was Proverbs 3:5–6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
During the 5-hour prayer and fasting retreat, 1) we prepared ourselves spiritually for the assignment before us and humbly submitted ourselves to be used of God in ways only He could. We prayed the Psalmist prayer and asked the Lord to search us and to know our hearts; to test us and know our anxious thoughts. We asked the Lord to see if there is any offensive way in us, and to lead us in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23–24. 2) We sought the Face of God in all our deliberations: counting on His promise that “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with ALL your heart” Jeremiah 29:13 and 3) we specifically asked the Lord’s favor to lead us to the man He has selected for FBCTLH: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 and If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Matthew 21:22.
Finally, we shared the story of the battle of Jericho (Joshua 5:13–6:27) and asked whether anyone of us would have thought the way to take the city was to walk around it, blow trumpets and shout and then defeat the citizens of Jericho in their well-fortified city. Could it be that looking at this story from this end of Heaven, God was teaching the new nation of Israel obedience? So just like Joshua led the Israelites in obedience to use this divinely instructed, unorthodox, and untested method to accomplish His assignment, we also submitted ourselves in obedience to anyway the Lord intends to use us in identifying His selection for the next season of FBCTLH’s 167 year history of serving the Lord.
So the long answer to my daughter’s simple question when might we bring a recommendation of a Senior Pastor to FBCTLH really is that; the PSC has yielded to the Lord and is completely open to obeying our Lord wherever He may lead us and whenever He leads us to complete the walk around Jericho to sound the trumpets.
Thank you again for praying for FBCTLH, it is the most important thing you can do for our congregation and for your Pastor Search Committee. Be blessed.
~ Seth Y Ablordeppey and Your Pastor Search Committee
To read about previous Pastor Search Committee updates, visit the Pastor Search Committee page.