Dear Park Avenue Family,
Welcome to 2017! That doesn’t seem possible does it? Well, here we go with God into all that He has for our families, our church, and us.
The elders and I have been praying about 2017. We believe we are at a pivotal point in our life together as a church. I feel a strong call, as your pastor, to begin leading us in a time of transitioning that will culminate in finding a new senior pastor here at Park Ave. The process started in 2015 when I shared with the elders that I believed it was time for us to begin looking into transitioning into a new senior leader here at PABC. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” I believe in my heart this is that time. I do not have any health issues that relate to this decision nor am I looking to lead another church; although I do plan to be involved in ministry. As much as I felt called to become Pastor at Park Avenue, I feel called to lead us into this transition process.
The elders and I have been praying, researching transitions in other churches, seeking counsel from our apostles, and looking for the right timing. We believe now is the right time to start this journey of transition.
We see 2017 as a year of transitioning/succession to the next stage of growth here at PABC. It is important that we have a transparent process engaging all of us as members, elders and staff. The result will be the credibility of the final candidate and your affirmation as members in this selection.
During this time the elders will be seeking your input in various ways. One way will be a congregational survey that will begin on January 9th and go through January 31st. Having your input will help the elders have a clearer view of where we need to go and what kind of leadership the church will need to get there. Another way we will keep you in the loop will be by having periodic updates and opportunities for you to ask questions. The first of these will be on Sunday, January 15th from 4:00-5:00pm in the sanctuary (nursery provided). Other opportunities will be forthcoming. We will also have information on our web page and Facebook with updates from the elders and me.
After much prayer, research and discussion we have decided to enlist the services of a Pastor search company to help us through this sensitive and complicated process. They will assist us in making sure that we as a church and congregation have a clearer understanding of who we are as a church. This process will also help us in determining our priorities in finding a candidate in line with our values and needs. In this digital age they will help us to cast the widest possible net in the most efficient way possible in our search. I like to think of their job as “heart hunters.” We will retain full control of the selection process; they will only help with the search. We want a rigorous and thorough process to do the necessary due diligence.
Change won\’t be immediate, but it is our desire to complete the process in 2017. As Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Our goal is to manage this change process at a pace that allows people to have input and adjust as necessary. Change is never easy, but that doesn\’t mean it\’s not good.
Our constitution establishes the Pastor and the current elders as the “search committee” for the next Senior Pastor. The final approval will come from you, the members, through a “yes” or “no” vote. I would encourage you to talk to any of us at any time.
My role as Senior Pastor will not change immediately either. I am heart, soul, and mind committed to be fully engaged throughout the entire transition and beyond. This transition is as important to me as anything I have done in my ministry. I believe part of a leader’s key responsibility is to prepare the church for transitions it must go through.
As we rally around God and His plans for us, remember His words:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
What you can do at this time:
Pray for your leaders and staff.
Come to the question and answer time in the sanctuary on Sunday January 15, 4:00- 5:00 pm.
Fill out the survey, either online, on paper at a service or coming by the church office to fill out online before January 31st.
Please feel free to contact the elders and me with any questions you have.
You may want to check out the website of the company that is helping us in our search: vanderbloemen.com
Feel free to share this letter with others who may have questions.
Please refrain from speculating and sharing unconfirmed statements with others. The facts are on our Facebook page, web page, and in this letter.
With all our love,
Richard & Debbie Lord
Randy Coleman (321-536-8033), Charlie Long (321-243-1962), Bruce Magnuson (269-5919), Terry Moon (321-507-3937), Paul Redlien (Redlien@vol.com), David Tucker (321-298-2321), Donovan Underwood (321-624-9672) and Rick Unrue (321-698-0025)
Amazing how fast this year is going. As we move forward in our transition process, the Lord is continually confirming to Debbie and me that this is the right thing and the right time for a new senior pastor to lead the next phase of church life here at PABC. I’ve had a couple of people pull me aside and say, “Give me the real inside scoop. What is really going on?” So I thought I’d share it with you… NOTHING. NADA. There is no inside scoop. God’s moving and we, as your leaders, are doing our very best to follow.
We will be announcing a day of prayer and fasting for the church in the near future. Please continue to pray and believe for God’s man.
Thanks for your love and support.
Updates to the FAQs:
Can I see the results of the congregational survey?
Yes, the results are available at www.parkavenue.org/transition. Copies are also available in the sanctuary foyers or in the church office. The 812 comments from questions 23-25 are carefully being reviewed by the elders. They are prayerfully seeking insights from the remarks given.
What is the timeline in finding the next Pastor?
Our Senior Pastor position description was posted online in mid-February. To view the job listing, go to www.parkavenue.org/transition. We believe the Vanderbloemen search group will submit a list of candidates around mid-April that they have vetted and are recommending for the elders to further consider. At that point, the elders will continue the process.
Dear church body,
For the past few months, the Vanderbloemen Search Group has been receiving resumes for the Senior Pastor position and following up with the candidates. On May 1st, Jay Mitchell, our Vanderbloemen representative, met with the elders and presented them with a list of potential candidates for them to consider.
Currently, the elders are reading through the candidate’s information packets and praying over which ones to interview. This interview process may take a few months. As this next step progresses, we will keep you informed. In the meantime, please continue to pray for the elders and with the elders for God’s chosen man to be our next Senior Pastor and for all to be accomplished in God’s timing.
Our transition process is moving forward. The elders have reviewed the top six candidate’s resumes that Jay Mitchell presented on May 1st. After much prayer and discussion and input from our wives, the elders have narrowed the list to two. The elders have conducted an hour-long initial interview with each of these men via Skype. The elders continue to pray and research these two candidates by visiting their websites and listening to numerous sermons by each candidate. Our apostles, Alan Smith & Jack Taylor, are part of this process with the elders. At this time and for obvious reasons, the prospective candidates do not want their names shared.
So, what’s the next step in this transition process? The elders will continue to pray and do a second level of interviews with each candidate and their wives; this may be onsite or via Skype. Please pray with the elders that God will give more than just the obvious (experience, gifting, etc.) but that He will clarify His choice to us. Of course, there is a possibility that neither of these men is God’s man for our new pastor. If that were the case, the elders would go back to Jay and look at other candidates who have shown interest. Vanderbloemen has received more than 350 resumes since the beginning of our search!
However, if the elders are led to present one of the two candidates we have to the congregation, the following steps will happen:
1. Elders announce to the church they have a candidate to present to the congregation for a Senior Pastor. This will take place in a Sunday service.
2. Arrangements will be made with the candidate and wife to come to Titusville.
3. While in Titusville, a series of meetings will be set up with all church members who are interested in meeting with the couple. These meetings will be in groups of 75-80 people. This will be the congregation’s opportunity to hear the candidate’s vision and to ask them questions. We will have as many meetings needed to facilitate everyone who would like to attend.
4. The Sunday after the church wide meetings the candidate will speak in our service.
5. The following Sunday a church vote will be taken by a signed ballot. According to our Constitution bylaws, only members can vote.
We do not have a time line. This is a fluid and flexible process. Our goal has been to accomplish the process by the end of the year. It could be much sooner depending on how things move.
As a reminder, our top 4 overall qualities our new Senior Pastor must possess, as indicated in question 18 on the church survey results, and by the elders are:
1.Teach the Bible with excellence, clarity, and a spiritually grounded message relating to real life
2. Devoted to prayer & ministry of the Word
3. Spirit-filled led man; walking in the gifts of the Spirit; seeking to implement Spirit-filled
4. Leads with strength but also relies on the gifts of the staff and elders
These priorities point to the heart-orientation of the new pastor. He also needs the kind of leadership skills that can move us all as a team forward. (See survey results on our website; also check out our page at https://www.vanderbloemen.com/jobs/park-avenue-baptist-church-senior-pastor.
If you have any questions regarding this process, please come see me or one of the elders. We are willing and available to discuss any concerns you may have. Please do not accept or pass on information that has not been verified. If you have any questions, PLEASE COME ASK.
Please continue to pray for the elders and for these prospective candidates.
On June 19th we will have another church-wide prayer meeting focused on this transition process. It is critical that every aspect is covered by much prayer.
My name is Rick Unrue and I’m one of the Elders at Park Avenue.
Pastor Richard and the rest of the Elders want to first thank you for your prayers as Park Avenue is working its way through this transition process and the search for the next Sr. Pastor. We know all too well how long and trying this process has been and can’t thank you enough for both your prayers and your patience. However, we also know as time passes that it is very easy for rumors and misinformation to spread. Our goal has been to communicate as much as possible, as often as possible, but that is not always possible.
Although the process we’re following may not be perfect, we are doing our best to stick to the process. The thing that reassures us the most is that GOD\’S GOT THIS.
We also want to let you know that God has answered your prayers for the Elders regarding discernment, wisdom and unity. The Elders have been working through some things internally while we have been searching for the next Sr. Pastor. The results are that God has brought us closer together and helped unify us as a leadership team.
The Elders are continuing to meet on a very regular basis and as new information becomes available it will be shared with the Staff first and then with the Congregation.
In closing, we wanted to let you know that we have had some encouraging advances and feel that our Lord has confirmed we are getting much closer to where we all want to be. Please stay tuned and in the meantime, keep praying on your own for our Journey to Transition.
On 9/29/17, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rec’d our I-129 petition regarding Steve Yuke. This was filed on behalf of our immigration attorney; this process is what is known as the R1 Visa application.
On 11/5/17, we rec’d from the USCIS a form referred to as an RFE (Request for Evidence). This is a common process whereby the USCIS is asking for additional and clarifying information. Some of it technical, some of it informational and/or clarifying and some of it aimed at building a strong case as to why the government should approve this R1 visa for Steve Yuke.
On 12/15/17, our attorney filed the RFE response to the USCIS and on 12/18 we rec’d confirmation that our REF response was delivered to the USCIS. Pray that it will be will be favorably received and processed timely by the USCIS.
Sometime within the next couple of months;
We could expect a site visit from the USCIS as a next step.
We could then expect sometime after that the R1 to be approved and that Steve and family can begin to finalize things on their side. Perhaps the March timeframe for Steve to be here.
Note: timeframes are guesstimates.