Church News


Dear Church Family,

Happy Advent to you. As this year winds down to a close, your Pastor Search Committee thought it wise to summarize our work for the year and to provide an outlook to where we hope to be in 2017. You will recall that the Pastor Search Committee was constituted in March 2016 and with your prayers we were dedicated to this ministry to bring a recommendation for a Senior Pastor. Our first meeting was on March 11, 2016 where we affirmed the task ahead and concluded that the assignment can only be accomplished through a complete reliance on the Lord. Thus, during that first meeting, we prayerfully determined that all decisions will be made on the basis of two-thirds majority, while the recommendation of a senior pastor will be a unanimous decision, as that will be our clear indication that the hand of the Lord is in it. With these primary issues resolved, we began setting up the steps and processes that would guide our deliberations. Thus, we divided the search process in three major parts as follows: The Preparation Phase or Phase I; The Search and Discernment Phase or Phase II; and the Calling of the Senior Pastor Phase or Phase III.

Here is a cursory listing of the work that has already been accomplished after 32 long meetings:

  1. At our very first meeting, we invited and heard from the Chair of the Deacon Body, Dave Westberry and the Chair of the last Pastor Search Committee (PSC), Darrell Thompson, Sr. Dave brought us the charge and answered pertinent questions that were anticipated to come up during our deliberations. Darrell shared with us the process they used, the pitfalls and what worked. Thankful to these gentlemen for their continuing support throughout this process.
  2. We developed a church profile that defines who we are, how we serve our Lord and how we have carried out and continue to carry out the Great Commission. The rationale for doing the Church Profile is to provide an opportunity for those who might be interested in the senior pastor position to become familiar with FBCTLH. In addition, our congregation will each have a copy and be equipped to share who we are with friends and colleagues who might be interested in joining the church. Church visitors may also obtain copies as they explore becoming members.
  3. We conducted a pastor profile survey, which sought to identify characteristics in a pastor which our congregation considers important to have in a senior pastor. The results of the survey, which is referred to as the Pastor Profile, continues to guide us in the evaluation of the applications received. The survey also provides the Congregation’s view on various issues that a prospective senior pastor will need to know.
  4. We planned and met with segments of the church including our pastoral staff and our children to hear what’s on the hearts of members and we continue to remain open to questions that our congregation may have.
  5. We sought, found and posted the senior pastor position vacancy at over forty Baptist-related media outlets that equally represent the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).
  6. As applications and resumes were being received in Phase II, we had one of the most meaningful prayer and fasting retreats, committing ourselves to Him who alone can grant us the wisdom and the path that leads to the individual He has already selected for FBCTLH.
  7. Finally, we have since then received over seven hundred resumes from around the country and reviewed each and every resume upon which those receiving two-third votes from the PSC have moved on to the second stage of our review process.

Going forward, we have assembled a set of questions which will soon be sent out to those who have moved on to the Stage II of the search process. The questions are meant to explore a potential pastor’s views on issues near and dear to the heart of our congregation, including biblical characteristics of a pastor. The answers to the questions should complement a quantitatively developed matrix which has been used to rank applicants in Stage II of the review process and should enable us to know these individuals a lot better.

We anticipate receiving answers to the questions in mid-January 2017 and then utilizing them along with the matrix to determine a much smaller pool of applicants who will become our focus of prayer and deeper assessments. I am not sure how our beautiful musical title “We’re Almost There” fits in the search process but I am certain about one thing, we serve a Risen Savior who is able, and in Him all things are possible. We move forward into the New Year hopeful and thankful to our Lord, for the great things He has already done among us. Please continue to lift us up in your daily prayers and know that your expressions of encouragement and support have been evident among your PSC, otherwise how else would we have unanimously approved all major decisions up till now?

Let me take a moment to say thank you to our pastoral staff for their leadership these last nine months. God bless FBCTLH and may He who we anxiously await this Advent season find a place in the Bethlehem of each of our hearts. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

— Seth Y. Ablordeppey and Your Pastor Search Committee