As I write this, it’s been a month since OPC transitioned from knowing Nibs as your pastor to meeting me as your interim pastor! That shift was a big step in the process of moving toward your next installed pastor. (Because church is no place for insider language, let me explain that an “installed” pastor is recommended by a search committee and then elected by all members to provide the congregation’s long-term pastoral leadership. An “interim” pastor, by contrast, is hired by the session to serve the congregation for a specific period—typically, a one-year contract—which gives time to prayerfully discern the next pastor and to ready the church to receive the new vision of that new pastor. Oh, and for any non-Presbyterians, “session” is what we call the elders elected by the congregation as non-clergy leaders.)
This is not how most organizations handle leadership changes! Yeah, I know. But the church is called to be “in the world, not of the world,” so we do things differently. When the time comes for a new pastor, we’re not simply hiring somebody, we’re seeking the person God is calling to be our spiritual leader.
This entire process is overseen by the Transition Team (they interviewed me last fall). A separate group is the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC), which has the highly targeted, Spirit-led task of discerning the pastor whom God is calling to Oakhurst. And, at OPC, there’s also a third group you’ve heard of: the Momentum Team, who’ve worked with your input to develop a vision of Oakhurst’s future that we can be working on right now.
I’ve met with each of these groups and am blown away by their commitment! Here’s what they’re currently doing: the Transition Team serves as a sounding board for me and an information source for you
(if you have questions about this pastoral transition, reach out to these folks: Nick Downey, Keeron Emmanuel, Nancy Friauf, Suzette Gooch, Caitlin White, Bud Willis, Dennis Yarman); members of the Momentum Team are meeting with session and its committees regarding action steps; and PNC members are using the season of Lent to finish other projects and mindfully prepare for their discernment work by reflecting on how God most often reaches them.
I hope that right now you’re thinking, “What can I do to help??” Well, please pray for these folks. And pray for one another, for Oakhurst’s staff, and for this whole process. One of my favorite words is “adventure,” and I am deeply grateful that we are all together on this holy adventure! Be on the lookout for more updates!