The Three Profiles

Jodi Jackson   -  

As the Christmas season appears in the rearview mirror, there are many things I am sad to say goodbye to: traditions, tasty treats, and twinkly lights, to name a few. However, there is one thing I am definitely not sorry to see go: shopping (and driving) in Beavercreek through the month of December. I consider it a personal victory each year that I emerge unscathed. The traffic, the stores, the take-out options all stand united to detain, distract, and derail you. “This is what you need! No, this is better! Look at this! Stop here!” It requires focus; it requires a plan; and, for me personally, it requires a venti vanilla latte. Where am I stopping? Where am I NOT stopping? This place is on my route, but that one is closer to Starbucks. Sir, the road is out there, not on your phone! Oo, a parking spot!

The Senior Pastor search process can feel a bit like that. This is what we should look for! No, this! Why are you considering that? Here’s what’s most important! We could start “piling our cart,” so to speak, with a list of candidates, but then how do we consider those candidates in a clear way, understanding where Grace Baptist Church needs and/or wants to go? With that in mind, the search team is in the process of developing three summaries, or profiles, to help frame our thinking around some key components of the search process.
Before I go on, allow me to pull over and park for a moment: I am so thankful that we have a loving, faithful God who knows that we are searching for a senior pastor. As we (the search team and council of elders) proceed through this process, we look to Him to ultimately guide us- with each step, each profile, each candidate. These profiles will simply function as tools to provide helpful direction throughout the search.

So. What are the profiles? We have established three simple headings: the church profile (who we are), the community profile (where we are), and the pastor profile (who we are looking for). The goal is to not only represent our church and community well but also communicate accurately to a prospective candidate, as he will be considering us also. Here is a brief overview of each profile:

  •  Church Profile – The church profile will provide a descriptive summary of who we are as a church. This will include things such as our history, our leadership structure, our core values, the various types of ministries we offer, and the demographics that make up our current church family. It will also include some of our priorities, as they are evidenced in our finances and resource allocation.
  • Community Profile – This profile refers to where we are located physically, but also in relation to other entities around us. It will include data related to our local and regional communities- things like population diversity (including but not limited to racial, socioeconomic, and education), the predominant industries and occupations, descriptions about schooling and housing, climate, and recreation. It will also include priorities and considerations of how we desire to best serve our community. Again, the purpose is to provide a helpful, accurate snapshot to a prospective pastoral candidate.
  • Pastor Profile – This is probably the most challenging of the three. Who are we looking for? What could be some of the characteristics, priorities, and passions of the next senior pastor for our church? I hope it goes without saying that we are not attempting to profile the “perfect” pastor, or really even the “ideal” pastor. With much prayer and humility, we are seeking to develop a broad outline of the right pastor for our church. He will have weaknesses and limits, areas of needed growth, questions, and concerns – just as we do. The profile can provide a lens through which to view prospective candidates, not for their idyllic credentials, but for their fit.

One of the primary tools we will be using to develop these profiles is the congregational questionnaire. Membership involvement in this phase is crucial. It is our hope and prayer that a vast majority of the current membership will prioritize completing this questionnaire so that we hear from as many voices as possible. As a search team, we feel that this step is a vital one we must take before we can begin to consider specific candidates. Thank you for coming alongside us.