During this time of transition, the elders are committed to providing regular updates to the Harris Creek family to keep you apprised of important developments.
Recently, we asked the congregation to participate in an online survey to seek your thoughts concerning our efforts to identify candidates for our new lead pastor. Under Harris Creek bylaws, the task of identifying such a candidate is ultimately reserved to the elders; however, the final decision on whether to call such a candidate is reserved, to the congregation by a ¾ super-majority vote. The elders have wanted to gain broader input and have thus done two things in the recent weeks to obtain congregational input.
First, a survey was created as the initial tool to obtain broad-based input. As indicated when the survey was announced, we would share the survey results with you after it was completed. Accordingly, attached to this email are the results. The data mostly speaks for itself, but we had a few observations. To begin, we received 442 responses, which is a wonderful indication of the interest in this very important endeavor. We know how much our body cares for Harris Creek and is passionate about discerning God's choice for this role. Next, we have a very young church body with a majority of the church having joined Harris Creek within the last 7 years. We were also very pleased to note that nearly 80% of those responding are active members of a LIfe Group. This speaks to the health of our church body—there are a number of what many might refer to as aspirational churches in Texas that do not have this broad level of life group participation. Finally, while there were many variations in ranking the most important qualities of a proposed lead pastor, the top three categories were: A Heart for Others, Courage in Boldly Proclaiming God's Word, and a Clear Preaching Style.
As you probably recall, the survey also contained two open-ended questions at the end, one inquiring into whether there were any other qualities you felt were extremely important and the last question simply asking if you had any other advice or information to share with the elders regarding the search. In order to assure the promised anonymity of those who answered these questions, actual comments will not be shared. What can be shared are themes that emerged from the most frequent comments received. The most prominent themes are that the lead pastor: (a) be kind, loving, and approachable by the congregation, (b) have a sense of humility, (c) be transparent, (d) be committed to seeking the welfare of the city, (e) have a level of maturity based upon past pastoral experiences, and (f) have courage to speak about difficult issues.
The second approach the elders have used to gain front-end input from the congregation regarding the lead pastor search is the formation of a Pastor Search Advisory Team (PSAT). This team is designed to give the elders early input in terms of evaluating any serious candidate for the lead pastor role. The team had its first formal meeting earlier this week, and the elders are excited to begin receiving their input. The creation of the team provides a representative cross-section of the church body considering diversity of age, sex, life experiences, and even campuses; each person asked to serve further exemplifies consistent levels of spiritual maturity and steadfastness in their faith and service to God through their membership at Harris Creek. The team was announced in worship recently but in case you were not in attendance, it consists of the following members:
Leah Teague (Chair)
Nate Hilgenkamp (staff liaison)
Blair Browning & Stacey Smith (elder liaisons)
The elders, staff, and PSAT team members all cherish your prayers. In terms of your survey responses to the final question about general advice/information you wanted to offer, one of the most common sentiments expressed was that you had been and would be praying diligently for guidance and wisdom in selecting the right candidate to present to the church. Please continue to lift up this group. We are excited about what God has done at Harris Creek during the last decade and are equally excited about what God will do with Harris Creek in the future. As always, if you have further questions or comments you are always encouraged to email the elders.
From the Executive Pastor
The summer is always an exciting time for families as they look to make memories! I'd like to encourage you to consider implementing some tools to help you stay consistent with your tithes and offerings during this season of travel. I encourage you to visit our website. Here you can set up reoccurring gifts and even track your progress. If you forget to submit a financial gift, don't worry – we have an easy text-to-give option available for your convenience. Simply text the amount to 84321, and a series of text messages will walk you through a quick setup to give via your mobile device.
Why is this important?
The expansion finish line is just around the corner, and we'd really like to open the new space in early September. It will be an awesome day to celebrate! With this exciting new chapter for Harris Creek just on the horizon, we need to be aware of some important realities. Giving is typically down in the summer months here at Harris Creek. With the impending completion of the new building, we need to buckle down as a church family to insure we can open the building appropriately. Our staff continues to mind expenses and steward our collective resources well! But in order for us to press forward with ministry and expansion in a way that we all desire to, all of us must be committed fully to the mission of the church. I'd highly encourage you to review the financial summary for last month (May 2018) by clicking here. We will continue to post monthly financials in this manner to keep our entire church informed of where we stand.
You will note we are a bit behind from where we'd like to be at this point in the fiscal year. No doubt a number of things factor into this reality. Two easily attributable factors could be a collective Our Turn exhale and pastoral transition. We remain prayerful in these days, and I am confident that our church family can and will press on with great confidence in the Lord's plan.
As I wrote earlier, we expect an opening sometime early in the upcoming school year. We are incredibly excited! If you're curious, construction crews are busy with the outdoor baptistery and electrical architecture. The next steps will be installing the audio/visual equipment and the fixed seating. If you are interested in supporting this project financially, please contact me (email@example.com) about how you might help us creatively finish out some last-minute needs.
The project continues to move along nicely, and I am thankful for our partners that continue to help to make our goal a reality. TFNB Your Bank for Life and K4 Construction have been vital to this project!