Change is certain. During this time of transition, we look to the words of Paul in Philippians 2:12, “It is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
During the next few months, our church will engage in the process of a “mission study,” which is aimed at discerning God’s voice and leading for our church. Although the process is unfamiliar to many of us, the larger church offers important guidance in helping churches thrive during pastoral transitions. Both PCUSA Polity and Guidance endorse such a mission study, especially after a church loses the leadership of a long-serving and much-loved pastor. Our mission study will help us to consider our identity and mission as we move forward as a church, thereby enabling us to reach a deep, honest, and mutual sense of call with a new head of staff when the time is right.
To lead us during our mission study, FPC Session has appointed a team of members to support the congregation. This Mission Study Team is charged to engage with the congregation and the larger community to discern God’s voice and leading for our church. Together with the congregation, the team will carefully and prayerfully listen for who we are – and who God is calling us to be.
One of the MST’s most visible products will be a Mission Study Report, which it hopes to produce in early 2021. The report is submitted for consideration and approval by both our Session as well as the Commission on Ministry of the Presbytery of St Augustine.
Only after the Mission Study Report is approved by Presbytery will the search for our new Sr Pastor officially commence with the election of a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC).
Our Mission Study Team has been meeting weekly to develop a process for the mission study, begin the engagement of the congregation and define our timeline so that our PNC can begin its work in early 2021. The MST asks that you anticipate engaging in our mission study by participating in focus group meetings and larger congregational gatherings, as well as in a forthcoming congregational survey. Your participation is vitally important and you can read more below.
We recognize this is not a normal time for any of us due to COVID, but we know God will be at our side as we progress through the necessary steps to Call of our next Senior Pastor/Head of Staff. You will see specific invitations to participate highlighted in the weekly Bulletin Insert and E-Blast, on our webpage. Although your MST is charged with creating the final report, its content and style will be driven and shaped by contributions from all of you who lend your voices, opinions, suggestions, and concerns.