Over the past two months, your Personnel Committee has been hard at work, prayerfully discerning the path forward following the departure of John Thornton on our pastoral staff. Anytime there is a staff transition, space opens up to ask again those key questions for any organization: what do we need?, and what position and person will help us get there?

But I love that in the life of the local church, these same questions are accompanied by those that aim to capture the breadth and depth, height and length of this task of ministry to which we have been called. Our Personnel Committee has wondered together about this pivotal season we’re in — moving from crisis and change so heavily informed by buildings, into possibility and new potential as we focus wholeheartedly on our vision to be “a community in the heart of the city called by Jesus to practice bold love of God and neighbor and boundless compassion for all people.”

Together, we’ve identified critical areas that need attending: making central in our life together Christian discipleship in intentional communities of people, giving our youth a minister all of their own, catalyzing our church’s new priorities for mission — (1) cultivating the well-being of children, (2) becoming a teaching and learning church, (3) mitigating poverty in our community, and (4) growing in number and faithfulness, in case you’ve forgotten! We’ve identified that the flexibility and focus three part-time interim ministers give us will serve us well, as we explore together these new callings on our church. We’ve taken these ideas to the communities that will be most directly impacted by new ministers and adapted the staffing model to their feedback.

It’s with excitement that we shared this proposal to the Deacons on Sunday, one they carefully examined and affirmed, and I’m so glad to share it now with you! You’ll read in today’s eBlast the creation of three part-time interim minister positions — Minister for Discipleship, Minister for Youth, and Minister for Missions. Full job descriptions for each of the positions, as well as logistics about the work and qualifications desired for the minister, can be found on our website at this link: firstonfifth.org/employment/.

One question that has been raised along the way asks, “can we even find people to take these positions if they’re not full-time?” We will certainly see as the application process unfolds, but I am truly hopeful that God is preparing the way for three servant leaders to join our community. I imagine that the limitations a part-time interim position has will actually open wider the pool of creative, gifted leaders to consider. These may be folks who will work bivocationally, folks who are retired or work primarily inside the home, folks who feel called to diverse avenues for work and ministry, folks who are intrigued by the opportunity and FBC. Folks, perhaps, just like you!

I ask you to share this information with people in your life you think could capture the spirit of our church and the possibility this season has for us! And most of all, I trust you’ll join me in prayer for our church and for this process, praying that God who has joined us on this road will continue preparing the way forward.

Together in the work of Love,
Pastor Emily

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