Christ Presbyterian Church has a strong legacy of leadership, with only two senior pastors serving in our 60+ years of ministry. Our community is now in a new season, where we are discerning who will lead our congregation into the future. We are praying and trusting God for wisdom, unity, and grace as we seek our next senior pastor.
Senior Pastor Search
Our Senior Pastor Search Team (listed below) was nominated by Session and approved at a congregational meeting in April 2019. We (the Senior Pastor Search Team) set apart some prayerful space at the outset to get to know one another and build a common foundation by studying background materials on the history of CPC and how to discern God’s will for the future of our church. We discussed how to work together through the decision-making process and what values should drive the process. We selected Steve Mader to serve as our Chair and developed tasks and timelines for a three-stage process. We are currently in phase three of the process.
In September, following much thought and prayer, the team decided to partner with an outside search firm to assist in this process. After considering a number of possible resources and interviewing the top candidates, we selected Jay Mitchell from Vanderbloemen, a large national search firm located in Houston. We believe that Jay and the resources of Vanderbloemen are a very good fit for our needs and that they will bring significant value to CPC as our partner in this process. The cost was already built into the transition budget.
The Senior Pastor Search Team collected insights from the congregation in October through a congregational survey, as well as from focus groups that represented a cross-section of our congregation. These insights were used to create the job profile for our next Senior Pastor and have been guiding us during our interviews. Our CPC family, our staff, our elders, and the search team are very united around what we want for our next senior pastor.
We are in the final phase of the Search Process. After working through several rounds of online interviews, we selected two strong candidates to move forward. Recently, within the limitations of social distancing due to COVID-19, we were able to meet in person with these two candidates. We felt that conducting in-person meetings was an essential step in order to gain clarity for our evaluation process, even if it took a bit more time and creativity to do so safely. We are now doing the hard work of debriefing the in-person interviews and discussing the strengths of each candidate against the senior pastor position profile, which reflects the desires of the congregation. Most importantly, we are praying as we seek God’s direction in the midst of this.
When we complete our due diligence and come to discern God’s person for CPC, we will present the candidate to our elders and then present the candidate to the congregation for approval.
A good search process takes time, and we are exactly in step with the anticipated timeline (18-24 months) that is a part of our transition plan. We continue to seek God’s direction, particularly during this COVID-19 crisis, to discern whether our timing is His timing.
We take this work very seriously and we want to do it right. We are filled with hope as to what God is doing. We believe that God is and has been preparing CPC for our next Senior Pastor. We also believe God is and has been preparing our next Senior Pastor for CPC. We are so grateful for your prayers.
STEVE MADER (Chair) was part of our Succession Planning Task Force, and he also served as an elder (and former Chair of Personnel). He currently cares for staff on the Transition Staff Care Team. Steve has been a member of CPC since 1996.
ANDREA RAND is a deacon and upcoming deacon moderator. She became a member in 2017.
ANDY WYATT is a small group leader and past teaching director for Community Bible Study. He joined CPC in 2003.
BECKY WALKER currently serves as an elder and the Chair of the Transition Team. She has been a member since 2000.
CLAY KILBER joined in 2011. He is active in small groups, and he led The Table prayer team when it was at CPC.
DAN EICHER has been a member of CPC since 2014 and is a deacon and former deacon moderator.
ERIC ANDERSON has served as a deacon and leads the E3 Sunday Community. He has been a member of CPC since 2016.
GENE HAMAN has a long history at CPC—he became a member in 1968! He is a former elder and deacon, and he currently serves with ARMS, as a middle school mentor, and with lay care.
JANE TYGESSON is a marriage mentor and is active in a small group and the A.C.T.S. Sunday Community. She has been a member of CPC since 1995.
JANICE VELGERSDYK joined CPC in 1993. She has been a deacon and assisted with new members, and she now serves as a memorial volunteer and in the prayer shawl ministry.
LINDSEY SMALL is a small group leader, a deacon, and part of the First Impressions team. She became a member in 2012.
What is our transition plan and who is responsible for carrying it out?
We are being guided by a transition plan approved by Session in January 2018 following a year of study, discernment, and prayer by a Succession Planning Task Force appointed by Session. The plan was activated when John Crosby announced his retirement. The first step outlined by the succession plan was to form a Lead Transition Team, and Becky Walker (current elder) was chosen by Session as chair. As recommended by the plan, Becky organized the following seven sub-committees that have been guiding CPC through this transition period: Transition Pastor Search, Prayer, Finance, Staff Care, Communication, Farewell/Celebration and Assimilation. Read about the sub-committees’ purposes and chairs, in the Transition Teams tab.
In addition to the Lead Transition Team, we are blessed with an active and engaged Session charged with responsibility for overseeing the mission and affairs of the church at all times, including during this time of transition. Session includes 16 Elders elected by the congregation and our ECO-ordained pastors who have been called by the congregation. Session receives regular updates from the Lead Transition Team and the Senior Pastor Search Team regarding the status of the transition and search process and provides oversight. In this way, the Lead Transition Team can carry out the day-to-day work with regard to transition and search matters, while freeing up Session to focus on the other important business of CPC so that we can continue to flourish during this time of transition.
What is our timeline for hiring a new Senior Pastor?
We expect that the transition period between senior pastors will be approximately 18 to 24 months, and during that period we will be led by our Transition Pastor. We were strongly advised that “short periods between pastors often lead to short-term pastors.” We want to allow for a healthy space following John and Laura Crosby’s January 2019 departure to process and move forward, and a Transition Pastor offers a neutral period to adjust to the reality of change. We also want to create opportunities for existing staff and members to step up.
How was our Transition Pastor selected and what is his background?
Following a very thoughtful and prayerful six-month search process, the Transition Pastor Search Committee unanimously recommended Rev. Dr. Ron Hawkins for the position of Transition Pastor from a number of qualified candidates. Pastor Ron comes to us from Windwood Presbyterian Church (ECO) in Houston, Texas where he served as Executive Pastor. In his twenty-eight years of full-time ministry, Ron has served as a church planter, associate pastor, and senior pastor in churches located in Indiana, Illinois, Alabama, and Arizona. Ron and his wife, Linette, have five children and eight grandchildren.
Pastor Ron has a deep love for Jesus, a prayerful, daily reliance on God, and a set of experiences that points to a strong but humble leader. He has acted as head of staff, overseeing many direct and indirect reports, moderated Session meetings, and demonstrated a collaborative and relational leadership style. Ron is also an ECO-ordained pastor and has completed the ECO Transition Pastor training. Ron’s experience as a pastor and in coaching, encouraging, and leading staff uniquely gift him to serve our congregation in this season of transition and to prepare us to receive our next Senior Pastor.
What is the role of the Transition Pastor?
Pastor Ron is head of staff and moderates Session meetings. He works closely with our Lead Team of Petey Crowder and Mara Amiot to make the operational and administrative decisions needed in a church of our size, ranging from staff management to strategic leadership. Pastor Ron is regularly involved in worship and preaches monthly. He has stepped into the role of mentoring our staff, shepherding our congregation, and helping all of us prepare to receive our next Senior Pastor. We have already seen many ways in which Pastor Ron is a great fit for CPC, and we are grateful to have Pastor Ron and his wife, Linette, with us for this season of transition.
How will the next Senior Pastor be selected?
The Senior Pastor Search Team is in the process of conducting an extensive national search for the new Senior Pastor. There is no one on staff who has been implicitly or explicitly led to believe they are our next Senior Pastor. Existing CPC staff are welcome to apply and be considered, based on their own interest. When the Senior Pastor Search Team has come to a consensus, there will be a vote of the congregation at a congregational meeting to officially “call” the new Senior Pastor. We will also keep the local ECO presbytery informed.
How was the Senior Pastor Search Team selected?
We received more than 150 nominations from the congregation for the Senior Pastor Search Team. The Personnel Committee of Session thoroughly and prayerfully reviewed the nominations and recommended a diverse group consisting of active CPC members who have a committed relationship with Jesus Christ, are engaged at CPC, are dedicated to prayer, and who model humility and integrity. The team recommended by Session was approved by the congregation at a meeting in April. To view the team members, click on the Senior Pastor Search Team tab.
What role will the congregation have during the selection process for the Senior Pastor?
The Senior Pastor Search Team was carefully selected to represent a cross-section of our congregation and is diverse in age, worship styles, life stages, and involvement in the life of this church. It is our expectation that the team will represent us all very well. The Senior Pastor Search Team collected insights from the congregation in October through a congregational survey, as well as from focus groups that represented a cross-section of our congregation. These insights were used to create the job profile and interview questions for our next Senior Pastor. The Senior Pastor Search Team will continue to seek and be responsive to congregational input throughout the rest of the selection process. This is an incredibly important and exciting time for us as a church family. We want and need your input.
Will the new Senior Pastor be a part of our ECO denomination?
One of our reasons for joining ECO was to give CPC the best possible search process for a new Senior Pastor. In ECO, we are allowed to nominate and approve our own search committee. Additionally, we can seek national candidates from any denomination or background so long as there is theological congruence. A non-ECO candidate would be asked to transfer ordination to ECO and affirm ECO’s Essential Tenets.
How is the staff being cared for?
We have a Staff Care Team in place, led by Barb Harmon and Steve Mader, to ensure that staff is informed, supported, and cared for during this transition period. Staff is receiving regular email and in-person updates from the Lead Transition Team. It’s important for staff to be informed and included in the conversation, and that is our goal. In addition, the staff care team is committed to praying for staff and walking with them through this season as needed. We hope to see staff flourish through these changes.
How will this affect the budget?
The Transition Finance Team, led by Cooper Butler and Leif Syverson, has created a budget for anticipated costs of the transition. These costs are obviously separate from what was in the church budget. The Transition Team is pursuing options to cover transition costs and will continue to provide updates to the congregation.
How will I get updates?
You can expect to receive important updates during Sunday worship services as well as in CPC Life magazine. Please also check this transition page where we will continue to post regular updates and past communication pieces for your reference. Additional communication will be sent via email or mail as needed.
How can I be praying for CPC during the transition?
One of the most important things you can do, if not the most important thing, is to join our prayer team as we ask for God’s wisdom, grace, unity, and abounding peace during this season of transition. Our Transition Prayer Team will be sending out two prayer texts a month that you can choose to receive and pray over. To subscribe, text “transition” to 555888.
How can I ask more questions or express a concern?
Please email email@example.com and Becky Walker will follow up with you.
Becky Walker, transition teams chair
Alyssa Warren, chair
Karena Casey • Greg Fast • Rachel Schwandt
Staff Liaison: Sarah Long
Ensures open and consistent communication with our congregation.
Kitty Yancey, chair
Martha Adolph • Suzanne Burnett • Karen Hartwig • Steve Hartwig • Katie McElroy • Monica Spiegler • Evie Teegen • Brian Wood
Staff Liaison: Melissa Schaser
Encourages and engages our congregation to cover the process with prayer.
Kim Thompson, co-chair • Mark Thompson, co-chair
Staff Liaison: Jody Phenow
Mentors and supports the transition pastor and the new senior pastor.
Cooper Butler, co-chair • Leif Syverson, co-chair • Jay Carroll
Staff Liaison: Mara Amiot
Handles budget and resourcing.
Staff Care Team
Barb Harmon, co-chair • Steve Mader, co-chair • Kathie Froemming
Aligns, informs, and supports our staff.
Transition Pastor Search Team
Dennis Hykes, co-chair • Leslie Turner, co-chair
Karen Beadie • Mark Harmon • Bruce Locklear • Andy Matysik • Brett Peterson
Staff Liaisons: Mara Amiot • Petey Crowder • Carrie Gleeson • James Madsen
Oversaw the hiring of a transition pastor.
Becky Danielson, chair
Meg Boehne • Kari Carroll • Scott Danielson • Annie Michel • Beth Montgomery • Bob Tinsley • Liz Vardaman
Planned an honoring farewell celebration.
How can I ask questions or express a concern?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and an elder will follow up with you.