We lost three full-time associate ministers during 2011. Almost a year has passed since these associates have been replaced with the first of four interim, part-time associates in pastoral care, youth, children, and education and spiritual formation respectively.

These four transitional associates continue to serve River Road Church with energy and wisdom. I am grateful for each of them.

It is no negative reflection on their work that people are asking me, “what’s next?” Following Vespers on July 25 I addressed this question, and here, in part, is what I said.

First, barring a dramatic increase in our giving, there will not be enough money to employ three full-time ministerial associates in 2013.

Second, 21 percent of our members are 65 and older, and an almost identical percentage of our community is age 22 and under. People at either end of the life cycle tend to receive most of our ministerial attention, which is appropriate.

To address both ends of the age spectrum, I propose we employ a part-time associate in pastoral care, recognizing that most of his or her hours will be spent caring for older adults. I also propose that we employ a full-time associate to give his or her primary attention to the 22 and under age group.

Third, this leaves a third full-time associate to cover our missions, educational, and fellowship ministries. I propose we employ an associate as a Minister of Congregational Life, a staff generalist to work with a broad spectrum of congregational needs and activities.

A few words about process.

First, I have reviewed this framework with our Personnel Committee, and they encouraged me to communicate it to you in the forum on July 25 and in this written format.

Second, I have prepared proposed job descriptions for each of these positions which have been reviewed by the Personnel Committee at their last meeting in late June.

Third, I plan to involve members of our congregation in searches for the right person to fill each position. I will not work in a vacuum, but in a collaborative effort with our Personnel Committee and other interested members.

Fourth, I have already begun to receive inquiries from interested candidates, and with your feedback I will advertise these positions soon. Let me know of persons you believe might serve our staff well in any of these roles.

I appreciate your suggestions and, most of all, your prayers in these searches.


Originally published in the August 2012 Explorer.