…sharing the love of Christ with Athens and the world!

May 13, 2018 PNC Update

A little over a year ago, Melinda DeMaria, Sarah Bryan, Erika Hermanowics, Fran Lane, Ron Bogue, Steve Covington and I began our work as the Pastor Nominating Committee. While we’re not there yet, we’ve made progress. Ron reminds us that 23 years ago, that PNC worked for two years to Call Dr. Doak. We promise, we are not trying to beat that record of PNC longevity!

In the past year, we’ve had highs and lows as we have undertaken our search, always trusting that God is leading us.

Some lows: After a lot of discernment and research and we think we have found someone we like- they didn’t like us back! That’s a low.

Here’s another one: We get an excellent referral from our networking sources, including members of this congregation, and we contact them and learn they had just accepted a call to another church in Texas, or Indianapolis or MISSISSIPPI, for goodness sake. That’s a low.

But, there are lots of highs, also. We have the privilege of representing you in this work. We feel the responsibility and the importance of the task, but we also feel the love, prayers and support from you, even when we can’t answer your questions. We feel your anxiousness and are doing our best to communicate within the bounds of the privacy that’s required.

When we are talking with candidates, and we’ve talked with multiple candidates, we take great joy in telling them about this church, that it is thriving, that it’s a wonderful church in a wonderful community.

When we are skyping with candidates, we tell them about our great staff, that thanks to them and to our Interim Senior Pastor, Dr. Lancaster, this transition has been seamless. In fact we have experienced none of the negative aspects of a long time Pastor’s departure. It’s just the opposite- the church is flourishing. That’s a high.

When we have personal interview conversations with candidates, we get to tell them about the congregational leadership in this church. For almost 200 years, this church has met the spiritual needs of the business community, the professional community, the academic community and all the rest of us. While we may disagree on things, we come together to worship and support this great church family. This does not happen without a lot of work and not without a Senior Pastor who is a great fit for us, all of us, and a great fit for this particular Church. Of course, it often takes time to find that person.

When we call a candidate’s references, they sometimes ask how the church is doing, is it growing, are young people coming? We get to tell them about the young families joining our church and that we have historic participation in our weekday school, our children’s programs and our youth programs. We tell them the church is growing and growing younger!

When we visit a candidate’s church to hear them preach, we will always be reminded what a wonderful church- choirs, facility, people, staff and leadership- we have. That’s a high.

After about forty young people conducted the Youth Sunday program a couple of weeks ago, a long- time member told me, “The Church is in a Great Place”. And he said, “Don’t worry, the person who is going to be our Senior Pastor is out there and God will put us together.”

Well, just so you know, we do worry, but we believe the Call will come when God’s will be done.

Thank you,
Lewis Hudgins

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