Elder Council Update
On Tuesday May 16th, our Elder Council met with Vanderbloemen Search Group. We are partnering with VSG in our search for a new Lead Pastor. At the meeting, VSG presented an initial group of candidates. The Elder Council, in concert with our Pastor Search Sub-team, are now beginning the process of evaluating each candidate. We’ll keep you updated as the process progresses.
This is a summary of a few of the items discussed at the May 7th Church Family Meeting.
1. Pastor Search Update: We’re off and running in our search for Dennis’ successor, and we’re very happy with our partner, Vanderbloemen Search Group. VSG tell us that normally a successful search launch will generate 4,000 internet inquiries about the position. We’ve had over 8,000. So VSG is culling through many resumes’ and we expect them to present us with our initial group of candidates on May 16th. Our Pastor Search Team will then begin reviewing and evaluating those candidates. We’ll keep you updated as that process progresses. Please be praying.
2. We’re happy to announce that Les Miller has returned to active Elder status. Les had been on a routine one-year rotation for a scheduled break from Elder duties and responsibilities.
3. As he announced last Sunday night, Matt Felton is answering God’s call to plant a church in the Washington D.C. area. Matt originally came to HHBC as a resident, so there’s always been the expectation that he would be sent out by us to be a Lead Pastor. We’re excited for Matt, fully support his decision, and ask that you pray for him and his family. Matt’s final day at HHBC is expected to be sometime in early June.
4. We’re happy to announce that Brandon Shafer is going to replace Matt as overseer of our Residents/HTI/Theology Nights ministries. Heretofore, Brandon has been in charge of our Membership Ministry. Brandon was recommended by both Chris Newkirk, and Matt, and we’re looking forward to how God will work through Brandon in his new role.
5. Our very own Brett Middleton will be replacing Brandon to oversee our Membership Ministry. Brett has been assisting Brandon in Membership for some time now and is thoroughly qualified to do this. Brett will also continue in his role as one of our Residents…training to be a Lead Pastor sometime down the road when God calls.
6. Finally, as previously announced to the Children’s Ministry participants, Kia Nelson will be leaving later this month to pursue other ministry endeavors. We’re excited to announce that Kelly Wehunt, who’s been serving as Chris Newkirk’s Administrative Assistant, will take over for Kia as our Hillside Kids Associate—Creative Director. Kelly grew up at Henderson Hills and has experience as both HHBC’s Director of Girl’s Ministry, and as the Director of Children’s Ministry at FBC Owasso.
These are exciting times as God moves people around in preparation of His next great work at HHBC. Please continue to pray for your church and us, as we move boldly into the future that He has for us.
Blessings to you,
Your Elder Council
HHBC Leadership FAQ - April 2017
The Elder Council has compiled this brief list of frequently asked questions concerning recent events in our church. We pray it is helpful.
Q. Is Asher Griffin leaving HHBC in response to God’s call to another church?
A. Yes. He’s going to Desert Springs Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico to be their #2 preacher. This is a great opportunity for him and we rejoice at how God is using him for Kingdom purposes. Asher’s final day at HHBC will be April 16th.
Q. What’s the plan to fill his leadership position?
A. For right now, Rob Hunt is going to move into Asher’s position as the Staff leader of Adult Community Groups and the Men’s Ministry. Once our new Lead Pastor is on board we’ll address who will permanently fill that position.
Q. Is Chris Newkirk leaving HHBC in response to God’s call to another church?
A. Yes. God has called Chris to be the Lead Pastor at Whitton Avenue Bible Church in Phoenix, Arizona. His final day at HHBC will be May 7th. This is a tremendous opportunity for Chris to grow that church, in a largely unreached and populous metropolitan area.
Q. What’s the plan for filling his leadership position?
A. In the interim, Kevin Nicolin will assume most of Chris’ responsibilities. We have a great Staff that God has put in place here knowing that this would happen. Kevin has established a Lead Team to make staff leadership more participatory. The Lead Team consists of Kevin, Matt Felton, Wally Weaver, Craig McClain, Vanda Wall, Hal Holland, Mike Wall, Randy Lackey, Beth McClain, Russell Boone, Rob Hunt, and Wendy Fuller.
Q. Who will be preaching now that Dennis and Chris are leaving?
A. For many years now, we’ve had a Teaching Team made up of Dennis, Chris, and Matt. They’ve decided who would preach and what the topics would be. They shared the weekend preaching duties, while our Residents, and others, did most of the preaching/teaching on Wednesdays. With Dennis and Chris leaving, the Elders have decided to reconstitute the Teaching Team. It will now consist of Matt, Allen Rice, and Pete Hammett. Matt is a polished preacher, while Allen and Pete are both elders, experienced preachers, and lead our Ministry of the Word, and Personnel Teams respectively. This new Teaching Team will schedule the weekend and Wednesday preachers (the Team plus other elders, staff, and church members), along with what the topics will be.
Q. What can we expect as we move forward?
A. In the pulpit you’ll be treated to a variety of styles, but the same solid, orthodox teaching. From a ministry perspective, our Staff will continue to execute all our planned ministries for this summer and fall. We will continue to press on toward our mission of loving God, loving people, and making disciples.
Q. What can the church do to help?
A. Obviously prayer is much needed. Please pray for wisdom and humility for our Staff and Elders. Second, anticipate what God is about to do. In John 9:1-3 Jesus told his disciples that the reason the man was born blind was so that the work of God could be revealed. We believe God is about to do a great work at Henderson Hills. Let’s pray for that. Lastly, remain faithful. Attend church regularly. Remain active in your Community Group, or if you’re not in one, join one. Continue to serve in the ministries you’ve supported for years. And finally, faithfully support the financial needs of the church.
Twenty six years ago our Senior Pastor, Mark Hartman was called to lead another church. During the pastor search process, which eventually brought Dennis to us, the Staff continued to lead, the church continued to grow, and God continued to bless. There’s no reason that can’t happen now, as long as we stay God-focused and not man-focused.
God bless you all,
Your Elder Council
Elder Council Update — April 9, 2017
Elder Council Update — January 15, 2017
Elder Council Update — November 20, 2016
Elder Council Update — October 16, 2016
(The following letter from Dennis was sent out January 21st, 2016.)
Dear Church Family:
Elders are rotating, but let me make it clear that it has nothing to do with dancing. (The very idea of dancing elders is enough to cause nightmares!) So what then is elder rotation? Let me explain.
The Bible makes it clear that there are two offices in the church: elders and deacons. The elders are to lead, feed, care and protect for the church. The deacons are to serve the church through demonstrating concern for practical needs. They are the elders' great help in caring for the people of the church. Although the Bible says we are to have elders and it gives instructions about their purpose, it does not tell us how the elders are to do their work nor how they are to be organized. This provides for the Spirit's leadership and the use of wisdom within a culture.
Currently our Elder Council includes nineteen elders. The Bible does not tell us how many elders a church should have except that there must be a plurality. But a continually growing number of elders presents both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, we have a lot of people to care for, and a sizable number of elders are required to care for the souls of our church. On the negative side, a large body creates practical concerns about decision making and organization. The council functions as a body of equals, and each elder's input is important. Imagine, however, if there were two hundred elders. If every elder was equally involved in decision making, decisions would be very slow in coming, which would be bad for the church.
The practical issues of decision making in a large group made the council reluctant to increase the size. Yet we wondered, how could we give more men the opportunity to serve? How could we make sure that our council would be multi-generational and that we would have young men who will be prepared to lead the church in the decades to come? Therefore, after much prayer and consideration, the Elder Council decided that elder rotation would be a viable option.
There are multiple reasons for doing this. Elder rotation perpetuates an inflow of men who have not yet had the opportunity to serve, while protecting the council from becoming too large and inefficient. Rotation promotes creativity, as new members who come from different experiences in life can offer varying points of view and insights. Elder rotation allows for more men to be prepared to lead the church into the future. And rotation can provide a period of rest and rejuvenation for those rotating off the council.
How does elder rotation work? Some elders will rotate off the council and cease functioning as an elder for a one-year period. At the end of the year, the council would consider the elder's return for another three-year term. An elder could serve up to two terms before rotating back off for a mandatory year away from the council. This process can be repeated for an indeterminate period of time. Additionally, as men feel called and have completed the elder training process, we would present new elder candidates to the church. The number of elders rotating off and the number of new elder candidates may vary from year to year, and the total number of elders serving on the council at one time isn't a static number.
The Elder Council recognizes that the lead pastor shouldn't rotate off the council because the nature of the church's calling to the lead pastor requires eldership. Furthermore, he may need to exempt an elder from rotation from time to time due to the essential function of that elder. Other elders will rotate based upon a multifaceted system of selection. Factors that must be considered in making the decision on who rotates include the elder's longevity on the council, the needs in his personal life, and his own desires, to name a few. At the end of the rotation year, an elder may or may not want to be reconsidered by the council, and the council can use its discretion in inviting the elder to return.
Rotation is not a punitive act by the council. In other words, a man would be removed from the council for cause by a formal removal process.
This year, three elders will rotate off the council and in coming months we'll advise you about potential new elder candidates. Whether or not they are able to dance is not up for discussion.
I love being your pastor,