On Sunday, March 11, Westwood’s Senior Pastor, Les Hughes, announced that he had felt God’s calling to a different church. Since that time the Church Council, Church Staff and the Strategic Planning Team have met on multiple occasions to discuss the transitional leadership needs of Westwood. In addition to the recently created Senior Pastor opening, there are two other vacancies (positions previously held by Jay Gordon and Tim Carrigan) on what was previously the four person church Executive Staff. Furthermore, Westwood’s bylaws are not specific regarding the process of forming a Senior Pastor Search Team. With these immediate needs for transitional leadership and staff support, Westwood’s Church Council has created a “Transition Leadership Team” consisting of certain staff and lay leaders. The members of that team are:
· Westwood Church Staff “Team Leaders”: Rick Swing, Jenny Funderburke and Jason Seales
· Strategic Planning Team members: Di Wash, Lynn Bush, Joe Davis, Steve Harless, John Morris, Todd Stone and Mike West
· Westwood’s former Executive Director of Operations: Tim Carrigan
The Church Council has asked the Transition Leadership Team to propose a process to select a Senior Pastor Search Team. In addition, the Church Council recommends to the Church for approval that this team temporarily (until a new Senior Pastor is called) be considered a substitute for matters requiring approval by the Executive Staff and/or Senior Pastor in the church bylaws. The Transition Leadership Team is specifically tasked as follows:
1. Develop a timeline and process for the nomination of the Senior Pastor Search Team. The process and, ultimately, the nominated team will be presented to the Church Council and then Church in Conference for approval.
2. Assist Church Council, Church Staff and appropriate work teams as follows:
a. Assess, prioritize and fill open staff positions including an Interim Pastor.
b. Monitor finances, cash flow and approve discretionary and/or unusual expenditures.
c. Navigate the transition process that will culminate in the calling of our next Senior Pastor.
The following is an excerpt from Westwood’s current bylaws (approved on December 17, 2008) regarding the selection of a Senior Pastor:
A Senior Pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. The election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week's public notice has been given.
A Senior Pastor Selection Task Team shall be elected by the church according to the Senior Pastor Search Policy to seek out God’s will for a Senior Pastor, and bring its recommendation to the church. Election (of the Senior Pastor) shall be by secret ballot with an affirmative vote of three-fourths of those present being necessary for issuing a call. The Senior Pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his resignation or at the request of the church.
Senior Pastor Search Team Selection Process
In selecting the Senior Pastor Search Team, the Transition Leadership Team will receive nominations from the each of Westwood’s campuses in addition to considering those serving in Church or campus leadership positions such as Small Group Leaders, Administrative Work Team members, and Ministry Work Teams. Nominees should be submitted after much prayer and consideration, and they should be an active member of Westwood and respected by the congregation – a person known for spiritual maturity and being in touch with the Lord. This maturity should be evidenced by:
· Personal commitment to daily Bible study and prayer.
· Evident display of the fruit of the spirit.
· Seeking and living in harmony within the body of Christ.
(1 Peter 3:8)
· Faithful attendance to Bible Study and Worship.
· Faithfulness in financial stewardship as evidenced through tithing.
· Agreement with Southern Baptist theology as outlined by the Baptist Faith and Message.
· Membership at Westwood Baptist Church for at least one year.
Charter of the Senior Pastor Search Team
The Senior Pastor Search Team will be a temporary team and operate under the authority of the Transition Leadership Team. On behalf of the Church, the Senior Pastor Search Team is responsible for seeking, interviewing, and evaluating candidates for the position of the Westwood’s Senior Pastor. The Pastor Search Team will provide their recommendation of the single best candidate to the Transition Leadership Team and Church Council and, with their approval, present the candidate as a recommendation to the church. Members are appointed for the duration of the process. Changes/substitutions in team membership will be under the direction of the Transition Leadership Team and submitted to the Church Council for approval. Church Council concurrence is required to remove a member from the team.
The tentative timeline for the process as proposed is as follows:
· Wednesday, April 18 – open meeting for questions and answers in the Alabaster Worship Center at 6:30pm and TBD date/time at Calera and Montevallo campuses.
· Sunday, April 22 – Distribute process again at all locations/all services with vote after final service at each campus. Nomination process will open upon approval. We will also provide worship guide inserts for the next 2 Sundays. The nomination process will end at the conclusion of morning services on Sunday, May 6.
· Sunday, May 13 (or Sunday, May 20) – the Church Council and the Transition Leadership Team will present proposed team and announce called Church Conference for vote on the following Sunday.
· Wednesday, May 16 (or Wednesday, May 23) – open meeting for questions and answers in the Alabaster Worship Center at 6:30pm and TBD date/time at Calera and Montevallo Campuses.
· Sunday, May 20 (or Sunday May 27) – vote on proposed team after final service at each campus.
WESTWOOD CHURCH COUNCIL: Voting Members: Wade Brooks, Lynne Fleming, Janice Bentley, Mike West, Josh Bush, Jeff Glover, Steve Harless, Tom Smith and Rick Swing. Staff Members: Kevin Derryberry, Darryl Collins, Jason Seales, Jenny Funderburke, Corey Stewart, Allison Baggett and Kenneth Bruce
TRANSITION LEADERSHIP TEAM MEMBERS: Di Wash, Lynn Bush, Joe Davis, Steve Harless, John Morris, Todd Stone, Mike West, Tim Carrigan, Rick Swing, Jenny Funderburke and Jason Seales