As of late, a common question repeatedly posed to the elders and me is, “When will the search team begin?” We just want to take a moment to acknowledge that this is a fair and reasonable question. The short answer is, the search team will be formed as soon as we determine the qualities we are looking for in a lead pastor. However, to be able to do that, we must first come to a common understanding of our mission, vision, and values for our church.
On Monday, June 13th at 7:00 pm, the elders and pastors will be holding a town hall meeting to begin the process with our congregation that will ultimately lead to the selection of our next lead pastor. The elders and pastors have already spent many hours investing and preparing themselves to lead SDBC through this process; meeting on a regular basis.
The purpose of the town hall meeting is two-fold. First is the sharing of information regarding the process that the elders are implementing to determine the next lead pastor. The second is to engage in conversation and discussion with the congregation regarding essential and key elements of the process. The hope of the elders is for full engagement of all who consider themselves to be a part of the SDBC church family.
The town hall meeting will focus on outlining the process going forward and engaging in dialog regarding SDBC’s mission, vision, and values. These terms mean different things to different people, and the goal of this blog is to get us all sharing and understanding the same meanings. This is a critical first step for us moving forward and we cannot, and must not, take a shortcut with such a critical component to this process. The following information will further explain why.
In order to determine the qualities we are looking for in the next lead pastor, the elders and pastors have reviewed our current mission, vision, and values. The question they have asked is, “Do we affirm what we have, do we need to amend and revise, or do we need to completely recalibrate and rewrite these critical essential elements?” The search team will need direction as to who they are looking for and this direction must come from the spiritual leaders of SDBC—our elders. For our existing mission, vision, and values, please visit http://www.southdelta.org/OurVision
Here is the agenda for the town hall meeting:
1. A verbal description of the process we are engaged in to determine our next lead pastor.
2. A discussion based on three vital questions posted below for consideration beforehand.
a. The Local Predicament – What are the unique needs and opportunities that we see in our community? This is a discussion on what the makeup of Tsawwassen and Ladner is and where we see them heading in the future.
b. The Leadership Focus – What and where do our unique leadership passions and focus lie? This is a discussion regarding what the passion of SDBC is as a local church body and what we want to see happen in the future regarding this passion for our unique place in God’s kingdom.
c. The Collective Potential – What are the unique capabilities and capacities of SDBC? Who are we and what can we accomplish in the future with God?
3. A discussion of our current mission statement: “We exist to re-introduce Jesus one person at a time.” This is a statement that we have used for a number of years, and the elders and pastors believe it is time to consider a change. There are three key factors to consider as we think this through and thoroughly consider all contributing factors. All organizational mission statements have three primary elements to them:
1. Why do we exist? 2. What do we do? 3. How do we do it?
A mission statement is the church’s fundamental reason for existing. This statement should explain simply who we are and why we exist. (The WHY question being key)
a. It must reflect the Biblical purpose of the church.
b. It should transcend time, places, and people.
c. It should be clear, concise, and easily understood.
d. It should be motivating.
Biblically, we agree that Jesus gives us the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” And the great commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Based on these factors, this is an important discussion to have. SDBC, moving into the future, plans to be unified regarding our church body’s mission. Our new lead pastor, in turn, will also need to be in agreement with our mission.
4. An evaluation of our current vision statement
is also critical and requires discussion. A vision statement is a specific picture of God’s preferred future for our church, and based on our uniqueness, it will guide and drive us closer to His plan for our church body. This is the “ends” statement of our church. This is the way that SDBC will accomplish our part in the Kingdom’s mission.
Some possible criteria to consider. (Emphasis on the WHAT question)
a. It is a unique faith-sized dream that we believe God is calling us to.
b. It should be “discovered,” not just created.
c. It should provide a picture of what SDBC will look like for a defined period of time.
d. It should be aimed at empowering our own people first.
e. It is an act of faith creation.
The elders and pastors agree our current vision statement needs revision. Once we are all in agreement with our mission, vision, and values, only then will we find unity. Aubrey Malphurs, a leading church strategic guru, observes the following outcomes for a church when it unites behind vision:
“Vision is essential to a church. However, unlike the values, mission, and purpose, the vision is more subject to change. It is dynamic, not static. Over time, the vision must be renewed, adapted, and adjusted to the cultural context in which the congregation lives. The change takes place only at the margins of the vision, not at its core. The core—the Great Commission—does not change. The details of the vision and the words used to convey them will change. The vision provides us with a picture of what the mission will look like as it is realized in the community.”
The key points:
• A Vision Encourages Unity
• A Vision Creates Energy
• A Vision Provides Purpose
• A Vision Fosters Risk Taking
• A Vision Enhances Leadership
• A Vision Promotes Excellence
• A Vision Sustains Ministry
These outcomes, we all agree, are critical to our future. This is why we are asking each of us to come and participate in the town hall meeting. This is why taking the time to discuss the three questions above are so important for each of us to consider.
All of this is covered by the strength of prayer. Even if you cannot attend, you can pray about these matters. Jesus Christ is the head of SDBC. Ultimately, it is He who is leading us. We depend entirely on His sustaining power and wisdom in all that we do. This is an exciting time as well as a privilege to watch God working in our midst. I conclude with the following declaration from Ephesians 3. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”