American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware

Search Committee Adjunct Staff Training



Complete Photo Album Of This Event


Anxiety is defined in Webster’s on-line dictionary as,
  “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it”
   Using a family systems understanding of anxiety, both individuals and groups can experience anxiety that can easily escalate in the midst of transition and change.  Both individuals in a congregation and the congregation as a whole can experience significant negative behavior due to anxiety created  when a pastor leaves his or her church family.  Both the void of pastoral leadership and the challenge of finding a new pastor creates anxiety that left on unchecked will become destructive.  The presence of a well trained (in family systems terms, self differentiated ) leader who can guide the church through the transition from one pastor to the next can help a congregation use this time to move forward in ministry as well as improve the health of the church family.
  Most of our church families in ABCOPAD look to the Region for guidance, support and resources necessary to work through this period of transition.  Regional staff assist a congregation in finding a new pastor, moving the church from the close of one pastoral leader to the calling and new ministry of the next.  There is a recognition on the part of ABCOPAD that helping a church through this process is very important thus regional support is crucial.  For this reason the new design for regional ministry has sought to provide this for congregations during this critical time of transition.
  On March 11 and 12 a training session was held at the Hartman Center in Milroy, PA for Search Committee Regional Adjunction Staff who will come along side of search committees and congregations during this time of transition.  Students from nearly every association, both clergy and laity attended the training that provided instruction regarding how to call an American Baptist Pastor to a local church.  The training included: creating a church profile, guiding a congregation through the steps to secure an interim minister, utilizing the American Baptist Personal Services to match the needs of a church family with a local church pastor considering a move, providing assistance during the interview process and call as well as how to celebrate the call of a new pastoral leader in an installation service.  Students received both training and resources for this new ministry in ABCOPAD and will begin being deployed to work with existing search committees and new search committees that will be created in the coming months and years. 
  The current plan is to have Search Committee Adjunct Staff, accompanied by a Regional Pastor attend the first meeting of a search committee, providing materials needed to commence with a search.  After this critical first meeting, with the church instructed in how to form a church profile, Adjunct Staff will guide a church through the process of receiving and understanding pastoral profiles, conducting interviews as well as calling their next pastor.  All of this will take place under the coaching relationship of a Regional Pastor. 
  Along with Regional Pastors providing instruction for adjuncts, Diane Sypherd from American Baptist Personnel Services provided training on how to access and utilize the ABPS System.  Also, Interim Ministries Director, Rev. Jamie Munro (also a Search Committee Adjunct Staff Member) explaining the important role of an interim minister during a pastoral search. 
    The results of the training are a team of about 20 Search Committee Adjunct Staff Members and Regional Pastors available to assist churches during times of pastoral transition.  With so many staff members available to help there is the opportunity for greater care and individualized attention being offered to churches that are experiencing anxiety and looking forward to the support from our Region as they seek to fulfill Christ’s Mission in our world.