As we communicated in our last update, your Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) is working with Vanderbloemen Search Group (VSG) to identify, contact, and begin evaluating candidates for the Lead Pastor position at St. Andrew’s. The search firm has seen a steady stream of responses to the posting from a large number of interested parties. See below for a current update on the progress!
“Since we last wrote to the congregation on August 7, Vanderbloemen Search Group (VSG) has been diligently engaged in the process of receiving and reviewing candidate profiles. They have combed through a lengthy list of names we provided them, actively sourced candidates through their network of contacts, and responded to applicants who have come to them through the position description posted on their website. Satisfyingly, and not surprisingly, St. Andrew’s Lead Pastor role is a most attractive opportunity, and collectively over 100 candidates from these three channels have been vetted to date. VSG’s initial screening of candidates has included reviewing sermons, examining theological backgrounds, and investigating potential cultural fit through research. After they finish speaking with and further evaluating a subset of the initial candidates, VSG will be recommending a short list to the PNC for in-depth interviews.
While the search firm has proceeded in its work, we have been meeting regularly to review VSG’s efforts and progress, conduct our own sermon evaluations, and prepare for our more detailed and personal candidate interactions ahead, while remaining in fervent prayer for discernment.
In a search process that requires confidentiality in most respects, particularly with regard to the candidates, it is natural for many questions to arise. We hope that these insights have been helpful and informative to the St. Andrew’s family.
We also wish to share with you, from a broader perspective, how we have sensed God’s leading through what has been a challenging but spiritually energizing journey for us and, we surmise, many of you.
Foremost, we believe that the Lord has directed us to be thorough, not only in our process but also in casting a very wide “net” before calling and presenting a candidate to the congregation for approval. To be sure, there are a number of highly familiar individuals who could serve St. Andrew’s with distinction, and we are grateful to those congregation members who have put forth suggestions and detailed recommendations for candidates both well-known and unfamiliar. Unquestionably, a search that focused primarily on the former group could proceed quite expeditiously.
However, an examination of chapter 21 of John’s gospel, in which the resurrected Jesus instructs his apostles where to throw their net after an unproductive night of fishing, might illuminate some aspects of a broader search. Recall that the apostles’ obedience to Jesus resulted in a catch so large they could not initially retrieve the fish with their human strength. Hence, the lengthy and laborious process of towing the net through the water began. When they eventually brought all 153 fish to land, scripture highlights another miraculous outcome — the net had not torn. This image may offer comfort during our transition period at St. Andrew’s. The passage also depicts Peter’s unbridled excitement and joy upon realizing it was Jesus directing these events. The bible then describes Peter’s restoration, marking a transformation in his ministry that helped catapult the early Church into an unstoppable movement.
We do not wish to imply that we can foresee only parallel ramifications for St. Andrew’s in this passage of scripture. In fact, it would be understandable for anyone to point out that St. Andrew’s doesn’t require 153 new leaders – a singularly great one will do!
Yet, the PNC’s motto, ‘He’s got this!’ may well pertain to kingdom matters extending far beyond St. Andrew’s sphere of experience and influence. Indeed, we sense that each of the many candidates touched by our search will have his or her own kingdom calling clarified and shaped in the process. Only the Lord knows exactly all he plans to accomplish as our search unfolds, but obedience to and patience with him on the part of St. Andrew’s entire family will, we are confident, bring forth fruit that is immeasurably more than we can hope or imagine, both for our church and for the kingdom as a whole.
In closing, while we diligently wait on the Lord to reveal his choice of St. Andrew’s next lead pastor, we affirm our trust in him with hopeful anticipation. We continue to pray that our next leader, whether a familiar figure or a surprise to all of us, will further the unity and capitalize on the unique identity of our beloved church. We covet your continued prayers for Godly discernment along this exciting journey.”
He’s got this!
The Pastor Nominating Committee