Pulpit Nominating Committee

Welcome to the Pulpit Nominating Committee page where we will be posting updates.

September 9th, 2016 – Answers to Narrative Questions

1. What is the congregation’s vision for ministry? Additionally describe how this vision is lived out.

Church of the Cross (“COTC”) is a 24-year-old church which is in the midst of reinventing itself. Its vision for ministry includes a worship service which provides both an opportunity to demonstrates a person’s love for God and to connect to other church members and visitors.

Worship should be a time of joyful reverence which combines appropriate music, prayer and biblical teaching. Music includes congregational singing, performance music by a choir or small ensemble and instrumental music by piano/keyboard, handbell choir and/or other instruments.

Other aspects of our ministry include Sunday School for children and adults; Friendship Ministries which provides children and teens with special needs an opportunity to learn about God in an appropriate setting while their parents attend worship; Vacation Bible School; a prayer shawl ministry; a bereavement ministry, a senior citizens ministry.

COTC is a friendly church but has had some difficulty in recent years welcoming and attracting new members longer term. We have begun training church members in hospitality, and we have begun examining our programs for ways to make them more attractive to our youth and younger families.

Because ministry extends beyond the walls of COTC, we are focusing on volunteer opportunities which teach people how to serve in Jesus’ name. Members have completed forms which describe areas in which they would like to serve. Serving outside of COTC provides other opportunities to connect with others.

2. How do you feel called to reach out to the emerging needs of your community?

COTC is an older congregation which has a vibrant spirit . Our ministry needs to combine this experience and enthusiasm in order to effectively serve those with whom we come in contact. Being older cannot be seen as a bad thing, especially when the community around us is aging as well.

We have a gymnasium that can be used for exercise programs during the week, and it can be used for walking groups and socialization during our four – five winter months. These opportunities can be used by both church members and the older adults who live in the neighborhood near the church.

COTC values ministry opportunities in which people of all ages can participate. An annual service project involves packaging 25,000 macaroni and cheese dinners in our gymnasium in slightly under 2 hours. COTC has faithfully supported Erie, PA’s annual CROP Walk, with walkers ranging from elementary-aged children to senior citizens. These activities will be designed to demonstrate that faith in Christ is actively lived out by serving others.

Because of this commitment to intergenerational ministry, we believe COTC has something to offer to our current youth/children and to those younger families who may visit and ultimately join. One of our challenges in ministering to youth is a perception that past youth leaders have not been welcoming or tolerant of a diversity of opinion held by younger people in today’s culture. There has been perhaps too much teaching and too little listening.

3. How will this position help you reach your vision and goals?

The new pastor will foster congregational redevelopment and revitalization through effective teaching of individual spiritual growth, evangelism techniques and encouraging involvement with community ministries. Where practical, these community ministries will involve multiple age groups within the congregation so that appropriate attitudes toward service can be modeled and learned.

Evangelism and community ministries will require volunteer leaders to be identified and trained. It may be effective for the new pastor to identify and train one or more groups of volunteer leaders who can then train others based upon the training they receive from the pastor. This training will enable COTC parishioners to recognize and use spiritual gifts given to them such as serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership and mercy.

During the process of reinventing itself, COTC recognizes that it must change from a church with staff-driven programs to a church with volunteer-led programs. The spiritual gifts utilized by the volunteers will benefit COTC’s existing programs. For example, people with gifts in the areas of serving, encouraging and mercy may become involved in our senior citizens ministry.

The new pastor will model an attitude which is welcoming of visitors, accepting of diversity and yet remains grounded in a relationship with God supported by the Scriptures. Modeling this attitude will require the gift of discernment which is developed through continual Bible study and prayer.

4. Provide a description of the characteristics needed by the person who is open to being called to this congregation.

The new pastor for COTC will have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ which is developed by regular Bible study and prayer. As a result of this foundation, the new pastor will be able to inspire and connect people to God’s word through preaching, resulting in the spiritual development of church members and visitors.

The pastor should be comfortable preaching a sermon which is approximately 20 minutes long and which takes up about one-third of the worship service. Because Sunday morning worship is often the first impression visitors have of COTC, it is important that preaching be Biblically based and make a connection to the everyday lives of people. In addition to Sunday sermons, the spiritual development of the congregation will be accomplished through equipping teachers and providing guidance in choosing appropriate educational materials.

The new pastor will need to demonstrate administrative leadership in overseeing the various ministries and programs of the church. As older members of the staff retire in the next few years, new staff (paid and/or volunteer) will need to be mentored. In addition, the new pastor will need to facilitate strategic planning for the future ministries at COTC.

Accomplishing each of these tasks will require a high level of energy and a confident sense of purpose. The role of the pastor is not to do everything within the church, but instead to encourage church members to get involved in ministry in order to bring God’s Kingdom to the world.

5. For what specific tasks, assignments, and programs will this person have responsibility?

As the sole pastor at COTC, he or she will have responsibility for planning and leading the worship service and preaching the sermon. The pastor will also serve as moderator of Session which meets monthly and as otherwise necessary.

The pastor will oversee other ministries in the church, praying for, training and inspiring the lay leaders of those ministries. The pastor will periodically meet with the volunteers involved in Christian education, music, youth ministry, older adult ministry, visitation, mission and other programs to share his or her vision for these ministries and to learn the vision for these ministries of those actively involved in them.

The pastor will be responsible for the administrative and financial operation of the church. In the fall of each year, the pastor will meet with Session to propose the next calendar years financial budget.

The pastor will also engage in regular study to promote his or her own spiritual development and the spiritual development of the congregation. The new pastor will be personally involved in community ministries which are of personal interest and will promote other community ministries of importance to members of COTC.

An important purpose of inspiring and training others to become involved in community ministries is to build connections between COTC and other organizations. As a church located in a suburban township, we can become isolated from some ministry and service opportunities if we do not intentionally seek them out.

April 7th, 2016

“The Mission Study Report” has been accepted by Presbytery and by the Session of COTC. The committee will begin the next phase in the process of selecting a new pastor for COTC. They continue to ask for your prayers as they fill out forms and begin to receive pastoral referrals. If you would like to read the report, copies are available in the church office.

March 15th, 2016

The PNC has completed its draft of the Mission Study Report. The draft has been submitted to Presbytery for approval. Upon receiving that approval, it will be submitted to COTC’s session for their approval. Please keep us in your prayers as the process continues.

February 1st, 2016

As you may recall, the congregation completed a survey conducted by our consultants, Holy Cow Consulting. The results of that survey showed that Church of the Cross is in the process of reinventing itself.

For the past two and a half months, the Pastoral Nominating Committee has spent considerable time working on the mission study for Church of the Cross. Because we are “reinventing” our ministry, we have talked about our strengths and our weaknesses and how we can advance the Kingdom of God in the coming years.

We expect to have a draft of the mission study completed in the next month, with the final draft finished approximately one month after that. Then we need to summarize the mission study for the Ministry Information Form which is made available to potential pastoral candidates.

As a committee, we realize that this process may be taking longer than you expected. It may be taking longer than we expected. However with God’s leading, the process will be worthwhile and will result in the proper person being called to lead our congregation.

Thank you for your continued patience and your prayers.