Greetings Central Family from the Board of Stewards. I write today with an important Pastoral update.
As you may recall, Pastor Joel’s last day serving as our Senior Pastor is June 14, 2020. This news was shared with the congregation in a letter mailed on March 9th, just before the pandemic hit us. Our inability to gather together as a church body since sharing this news has been especially challenging. While we wholeheartedly affirm and celebrate God’s call for Pastor Joel, and his new ministry role with the Center for Pastor Theologians, it is difficult to consider his departure at this specific time in the life of our church.
The Board of Stewards and the Staff, as well as Pastor Joel and Myndi and the entire Lawrence family, have all been praying about and working on this transition for many months. Pastoral transitions and change, even in the best of circumstances, can be stressful and cause a sense of instability and uncertainty. Facing a pastoral transition in the middle of an unprecedented and historic world crisis magnifies these feelings, especially when we’re experiencing physical separation, and feelings of isolation. We have walked by faith through these days, making plans and holding them very loosely, given the constantly changing circumstances and times.
Through these unique circumstances, the Board and Pastor Joel have continued to dialogue about how to best navigate transition in these days. After many conversations and much prayer, the Board of Stewards is pleased to announce that effective June 15, 2020, Pastor Joel will continue to serve Central Baptist as our Preaching Pastor. He will serve us in this limited capacity through December 2020. Both Joel and the Board feel that it is important to maintain stability and continuity as we are apart and, Lord willing, begin our regathering process over the next weeks or months. We believe having Pastor Joel continue in His preaching role will contribute to this stability, and provide for a better and more supportive transition for an Interim Pastor. We are grateful to Pastor Joel for his willingness to continue serving Central in this way, and we give thanks to God for the love and care the Lawrence family has for our church.
In light of this news, here are some answers to questions the Board anticipates you may have:
● Joel is still transitioning into his full-time position with the CPT in July. The CPT is fully supportive of Joel continuing to serve Central in this new, short-term preaching role.
● Joel's role will be strictly limited to preaching on Sunday; he has committed up to 3 Sundays per month through December. This schedule will be adapted as the Lord leads, based on church needs, as determined by the Board, our Interim Pastor, and Joel.
● Joel’s official interactions with Staff will be specifically for the purpose of planning the Sunday Worship service. He will have no other official duties or responsibilities at Central.
● The Board continues to seek an Interim Pastor who will also be preaching as part of their role. It is our prayer that there will be a gradual transition of that person into the preaching role as Joel transitions out of that role, as the Lord leads.
● Joel has offered to make himself available to meet with the Interim Pastor as that person desires, and as the Board requests.
● When it is possible to gather as a large church body again, we will celebrate the Lawrence Family and Pastor Joel's time with us.
Next week the Board will provide more information about our Interim Pastor search, as well as other updates. If you have specific questions you wish to see addressed in this weekly update, I encourage you to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to answer them in this space each week.
If you have a concern, a suggestion, or any other feedback for the Board, please feel free to reach out to me, or any of the other Board members, as we’re in regular communication with one another. I want to thank and acknowledge the work of the Board, a group of volunteers, many of whom continue to work our full-time jobs, along with dedicating many hours to provide leadership to the church. I am deeply grateful to each of them for their time, gifts, and talents that they share because of their love for the Lord, and for this church. Board of Steward members are DeeAnne Bonebright, Rob Boyd, Dave Hansen, Lorilyn Hoglund, Tim Horn, Joel Lawrence, Alice Magnuson, Adam Rynkiewich, and Jackie Tollers
Thank you for your continued prayers, patience, financial support, love and care for Central Baptist Church, for our Staff, and for the Board of Stewards as we navigate leading the church in this unprecedented time. It is a great encouragement to us!
Chair, Board of Stewards