LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) -- Around 100 Kentucky Baptist churches are pressing through the coronavirus pandemic even as they continue to search for a lead pastor. Churches of every size comprise the list of churches without pastors.
Some churches are asking deacons and other key leaders to go above and beyond during the crisis, according to Peggy Berry, ministry transition specialist for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “They have been creative and intentional in their service to the congregation.”
Alan Witham, KBC regional consultant group leader, says, “The pandemic has shut the door on having someone come to the church in lieu of a call to preach for a trial sermon and to conduct the 'get to know the candidate’s family' weekend,” Witham said.
The ban on travel and in-person meetings is not only affecting a potential candidate’s consideration of the church they’re considering serving, but also the church he’s currently serving. “Pastors who were considering a move prior to the shutdown are now dealing with the added tension of not wanting to leave a church in the midst of a crisis on the one hand and yet feeling the call of God to a new ministry setting on the other,” said Witham.
Berry says the crisis may have slowed the process, but it hasn’t stopped it. “I am still receiving resume requests from churches, both inside and outside Kentucky. They are sharing the resumes via email and meeting with their committees via Zoom and other platforms,” she said.
Churches who are in the early stages of the search process should continue to move forward, according to Witham, “Continue to function in ways that are appropriate, i.e. collecting resumes, putting together info about the church and community for potential candidates, sending out questionnaires, having online and phone conversations with potential candidates.”
He encourages both pastoral candidates and churches to be patient during this time. “Remember your ministry future is in God’s hands. We may have been surprised by the coronavirus pandemic, but God was not. Rest in His timing for the next chapter of ministry for you and your family. He will give you peace about his timing and will reveal His plan for your family a step at a time in the days ahead.”
Berry and Witham encourage candidates to continue submitting resumes to the KBC’s website and churches to seek the resumes. They say they are still working with candidates and churches by phone, email, and video conference.