Congregational Q&A's

Congregation Questions and Answers

Following Michael Anderson’s Pastoral Transition Update

September 15, 2019

Q. Will the PCA advertise that we are looking for new Senior Pastor? 

A. Yes, we will advertise broadly. When Grace was 30 members in the early 1980’s and seeking a pastor, we received 70 applicants. From those applicants, the congregation was led to Paul Carter. 


Q. Not everyone will be able to meet with Will Spokes during his initial visit on October 4-6. What is the plan for others to give feedback? 

A. We desire for everyone to have a voice throughout the Pastoral Transition process. Specifically, in Will’s October 4-6 visit we will include a larger meeting with an open forum. More generally we invite everyone at anytime to contact any Session member with questions or concerns. We are striving for open and ongoing communication through this process.


Q. Paul should have an important role in this process, as he knows the church most intimately. Are we changing his job description or duties to accommodate such a role?

A. Paul and Julie are vital, but Session is not changing his Senior Pastor duties.


Q. Will a survey form be sent to the entire congregation?

A. We do not have a plan for a congregation wide survey, but we do plan extensive opportunities for written and verbal communications.


Q.Are we planning to hire an Interim pastor?

A. No. Instead, there will be a Pulpit Committee formed next spring by the congregation. They will search for the next Senior Pastor who, if approved by the congregation and accepted by the Presbytery, will begin his duties shortly after Paul retires in May of 2021. If the Pulpit Committee is unable to find an acceptable new Senior Pastor, then an Interim pastor is an option.


Q. Can we consider compensating Paul for the additional effort and high value his contribution will be to the Pastoral Transition consulting phase? 

A. Without any doubt Paul and Julie bring an unmatched understanding of GPC. We will refer your question to Session who decides staff compensation issues like this. 


Q. How large will the Pulpit Committee be?

A. Size has not been determined. The Session can play an advisory role, but ultimately the congregation decides. Once elected by the congregation, the Pulpit Committee picks its Chair and they move forward.

Q. Explain the independence of the Pulpit Committee

A. The Pulpit Committee works for only for the congregation. It does not work for the Session. The Committee will the does not work do its work as it leans on the Spirit of Christ to guide them.


Q. Are there parameters on the Pulpit Committee as far as membership?

A. Only men and women who are members of GPC are eligible to serve on the Pulpit Committee. We want a diverse group that fully reflects our congregation. 


Q. Does Will Spokes work with the Pulpit Committee all the way to the end?

A. He will only help us with the work leading up to the installation of the Pulpit Committee, but have no further role.


Q. As part of this Pastoral Transition process, is the Session open to other structural/role changes in the staff of the church?

A.The Pastoral Transition process will focus only on hiring a new Senior Pastor. Session determines staff structure and is open to these things. However, we are not undertaking a “package deal” that would combine the search for a new Senior Pastor with any specific organizational changes.


Q. Are members of Session eligible to serve on the Pulpit Committee?

A. Yes. Anyone who is a member of GPC is eligible.


Q. Will we sign an “open ended contract” with the new Senior Pastor for his length of service with us? 

A. Paul Carter’s 37 years of service is quite rare. On average PCA pastors serve a church for about 12 years, although the range is very large.