Relying On The Lord
May 2nd marks the 50th meeting of the RBC Pastoral Search Team since our initial meeting on January 11th 2017.
The opportunity to see God work and the team grow in faith has been experienced by us all. When the team (Jennifer Stroder, Joni Beckman, Bree Lathrop, Doug Schell, Jim Orr, Brad Hirst, Howie Klein) met the first time and looked around the table we knew we were not sufficient to complete the task on our own. Only one had been on a search team before, none of us work in a human resource role, only half had conducted interviews, none of us had been employed in the church let alone as a pastor, yet we were tasked with searching for the new Sr. Pastor. Our first meeting was filled with sharing testimonies, phone numbers, and the top ten things which scared us about being on the search team.
One thing was certain when we left meeting #1, God had to drive the process because none of us were able to do so. It was nearly four weeks before we held our second meeting, but during that time we had begun to pray for one another, for the candidates, and for the Lord’s guidance in developing a process for searching and recommending a candidate to the board and, ultimately, the church. Understandably meeting #2 turned into #3 and so on until we get to #50 this week.
Our team of inexperienced and inadequate searchers has had the chance to see God work in us and through us as we have moved along in the search process over the first 49 meetings. He has graced us with wonderful fellowship which is important when we meet weekly for 3-4 hours at a time. We have prayed together over personal and corporate issues. We have prayed with and for candidates as well as their churches and our own. He has used us in aiding candidates who were unsure if RBC was an open door and were seeking our input.
We are very confident in God’s presence and His guidance as we continually seek Him.
A concern for the team can be Fear of Man. What if no one applies? What if no one likes the candidate we select? We rely on the Lord for direction and determination as we use His criteria; not our own to evaluate candidates. Our process included study of 1 Timothy and Titus as we were reminded of God’s qualifications for pastors/elders and deacons. If you are curious about these qualifications I encourage you to read both of these books (4 chapters) to review them.
The work of the search team is both busy, as we manage multiple candidates each week, and in-depth as we research candidates who are further along in the process. Since all on the team have vocational and family responsibilities too, we prayed regularly for energy, efficiency, and a gracious spirit. We needed this for one another but also for each candidate who had taken the time to apply. Each of these men is serving God in some capacity already and we didn’t want their interaction with RBC to be discouraging even though for all but one our answer would be no thank you.
Each Sunday and Wednesday we get encouragement and inquiry from the RBC family. Our progress description of “Never Been Closer” remains true. We do believe with great confidence that the Lord will provide His church with a man who meets the qualifications established and we pray that our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds will be discerning and obedient to that leading. Until then, we can pray for our new pastor with confidence that he is being prepared for the work the Lord is calling him to do at RBC. We know His faithfulness to His church is pure. Keep praying with us. We have never been closer.
Howie Klein (RBC Elder/Pastoral Search Team)