First Focus


Dear Church Family,

Let me begin by saying thank you for your patience as we continue this awesome journey to walk with the Lord as He defines our path to the man He has selected to shepherd FBCTLH. Your Pastor Search Committee (PSC) members have continued to work diligently since our last communication to you. This past Sunday marked the 53rd official meeting of the PSC and each meeting has taken an average of 3 hours of deliberation. Please feel free to say a word of encouragement and prayers for our members, they are not only dedicated to the service to which we have been called, we have become a family working together as a team and moving forward in the knowledge that the Lord will ultimately use us to identify the man he has called to shepherd our congregation.

The primary purpose of this communication is to provide you with an update of where we are and to share with you what has transpired since our last communication. We continue to operate in Phase II or The Search and Discernment Phase. You will recall that we have been working in stages within the phases and in Stage 1 of Phase II, we were able to select a total of about 30 applicants who went into Stage 2 of the evaluation process. In Stage 2, we evaluated the applicants using primarily a matrix of characteristics you have told us were important in our pastor profile survey. We sent questionnaires to the selected applicants which enabled us to have a deeper understanding of their ministry philosophies and especially how they match the expectations of FBCTLH. You will also recall that through the questionnaire responses, we were able to assemble 14 applicants for further review and further interaction in Stage 3. The 14 applicants were further evaluated and ranked leading to the selection of eight individuals who were asked to provide sermons and other clarifying information where necessary. I can now confirm that we have further reduced that number and we are currently evaluating the candidates one at a time through the following activities:

  1. We have sent the FBCTLH Church Profile to candidates to educate them on our beliefs and traditions including our church governance structure and missional giving arrangement with both major conventions. All current selected prospective candidates have indicated that they can serve under these arrangements.
  2. Thanks to technology, we have listened to countless numbers of sermons from each prospective candidate’s church website.
  3. Again taking advantage of technology, we have carried out individualized interviews with selected candidates.
  4. We have sent very detailed questionnaires to candidate references and some of the responses have been received.
  5. We have reviewed state convention statistics for churches pastored by the candidates
  6. On the basis of what they have become aware, we have answered an extensive list of questions from the candidates under consideration.

My children continue to ask the real question that perhaps others may have for our PSC. “Dad, how long will it take before we have a Senior Pastor?” Of course, that is a very relevant question. That question however, reminds me of multiple biblical accounts of God’s promises and when the promises actually become fulfilled. Remember when God promised to make Abraham into a great nation and Abraham had to wait until Sarah turned ninety years old to have the child of promise? While I don’t know the answer to why the Lord took that amount of time, my trust and confidence in God Almighty has never wavered in His providence, His ability to walk with us in every situation, and His perfect timing in all things for which we truly depend on Him. One deacon recently told me this, “We don’t want to hear from you if the PSC has not heard from the Lord.” And then I said in response, “Amen.” Yes, it is worth waiting on the Lord as He guides us to our next Senior Pastor. God bless.

Yours in Christ,
Seth Y. Ablordeppey
Seth Y. Ablordeppey
and Your Pastor Search Committee