This is a behind the scenes general summary of the call of a Baptist church pastor in Central Texas. I want to share about this special church, Meadow Oaks Baptist Church (MOBC) in Temple, Texas. This is a dually-affiliated church (Baptist General Convention Texas –BGCT/ Texas Baptists & Cooperative Baptist Fellowship –CBF). They have been without a pastor for almost a year now. In fact, I was recommended this church when I was in my own time of transition looking for a church that was fully open to women serving in ministry. But their previous pastor had JUST retired! However, they were starting to gather on Wednesday nights for 3 weeks to talk through who they were as a church, what kind of pastor were they looking for and basically, “Where do we go from here?” They had so many great things to say that made them unique that I started making the 45 minute drive there to come and see them for myself. (The first meeting, I attended via Zoom on May 5th, 2021.)
The process unfolded slowly week by week.
Soon after those those meetings, I saw the church nominate various persons to be on the pastor search committee and those people agreed (or declined) to serve in this way. A little while later, the church voted to call the Head Deacon as the Interim Pastor to help with things that needed to keep happening within the church and the church chose to alternate preaching each Sunday among a core group of very qualified members. Later, I saw the ministry posting for the MOBC Pastor posted online. The pastor search process unfolded week by week and the church continued throughout this year because key committed church members, and others, faithfully served one another during this time of transition.
The big announcement!
Almost 2 weeks ago, the big PASTOR SEARCH ANNOUNCEMENT was sent that the pastor search committee narrowed down the list of candidates and presented their selection to the church. The email included brief words about how they chose this candidate, what would happen next, and a shortened copy of her resume. To say I was excited to receive this news is an understatement!
Last week Wednesday, I attended the Q&A session of the pastor search committee as they shared an overview of what they had done over this time of searching and narrowing for almost 12 months. Each of the committee members shared points from their perspective. There were many different kinds of questions asked by the attendees including myself. I contributed two questions anonymously and they were both answered. Each question seemed to be responded to candidly by the committee members and other questions were debated by the church members sharing their thoughts. I learned a WHOLE LOT through this process and appreciated seeing the church members speak up in areas that weren’t already defined by the church’s bylaws.
Yesterday, Saturday, I attended the Q&A with the pastor candidate as many of us were meeting her for the first time. We heard her testimony and her call to ministry to pastor. Everyone asked what they wanted to know as she stood in front of everyone graciously and honestly responding to the group. I thought she did really well in articulating her responses; I could get a sense of her personality and how she might be as the pastor.
Finally, today, the pastor candidate came and preached “in view of a call” to be the pastor of MOBC. (There was also a baptism today as well, which was beautiful to witness and be a part of as the church on this day.) Deciding if she would actually be the new pastor is not chosen by the pastor search committee but they do all of the ‘leg work’ and present the chosen qualified candidate. The church members still had the last word as to who they wanted their pastor to be in the typical Baptist church. For MOBC, they had to vote yes or no after the Sunday service was over in a special church meeting (she was not present for this). After a bit of singing, while counters tallied the votes, the results were announced to those present. (Did you see the video?) Then someone contacted her with the results. The pastor candidate would then respond with a yes or no to the position and responsibility- the call to become the next pastor of Meadow Oaks Baptist Church.
Thankful to God to have witnessed this process!
This process was so interesting to me to see as a person discerning my own call to ministry as a full-time seminary student. I’m so thankful that God showed me parts of this process through MOBC. I’m excited for what God is doing here in and through this church.
Check out MOBC’s new website! It’s here: https://www.meadowoaks.org/
What about you?
Have you ever experienced this transition in your church? How was your calling of your pastor the same or different?