Interim role and process.
In a majority of cases Interim Pastors are necessary since smaller congregations don’t typically have the staffing or personnel to cover Sunday morning teaching on an ongoing basis. In those situations, Interim Pastors are vital to the weekly operation of churches finding themselves without a Senior Pastor. Westwood is fortunate to have two theologically trained pastors on staff who have been able to carry the teaching responsibilities and we have a talented staff that has continued to improve and expand our weekly operations. While some larger churches choose to go the more traditional route relating to Interim Pastors, Westwood has not needed to, which is well within the norm for larger churches. This has allowed us to better steward our finances and allow Dan Clausen to concentrate his efforts in areas our leadership feels are most important to our overall health and mission.
Hiring a new pastor.
There are two important biblical mandates needing to be established prior to making any staffing decisions. The first is re-establishing the biblical foundations of the, ‘priesthood of all believers,’ and, ‘equipping of God’s people for the work of God’s ministry.’ Both of these are clearly taught in the scriptures and don’t require a formal hierarchy. People can often have misconceptions about the role of a pastor while missing a biblical understanding of their own role as a Christ-follower. Pastors are held accountable for the biblical teaching and equipping God’s people, but they don’t possess some sort of spiritual super power. Our leadership has made the decision to move forward on these important biblical instructions as we lay the foundations for future staffing. Discipleship, transformational relationships, equipping, and empowering are exciting new horizons for our church family and they reflect foundational biblical values. Because of our strong staffing and leadership position, we will show patience in hiring any staff as we continue to move our church forward in significant ways as we reach our community with the Gospel!
It is a very common practice in larger churches to have more than just one teacher or preacher in church services. This in no way compromises a church’s hiring of a Lead (or Senior) Pastor if they choose. It is good to expose a congregation to the different spiritual gifts possessed by those teaching as well as various styles and ways of teaching. This is why the Apostle Paul instructs ‘Elders’ as those who are able to teach but he doesn’t limit where that teaching must occur. While people can have their own preferences, Westwood believes that sound biblical teaching can come from more than one source. A well thought through plan for teaching, instruction, and discipleship are vital for the growth and equipping of God’s people. According to our Constitution and By-Laws, our Overseer Board bears the ultimate responsibility and oversight of Westwood Church, it’s entire staff, mission, and direction. This provides us great flexibility to hire the right people for the right position at the right time for the good of our body and for God’s glory.
There are two parties involved in healthy dialogue and communication–both are responsible for the exact same things. Both are required to initiate and pursue conversation. Both are required to ask clarifying questions to seek understanding. Both are required to speak clearly and truthfully. Both are required to listen well and assume the best of the other. Both are required to talk directly with each other instead of about each other. We agree leadership is responsible for communicating with the body as much as the body is responsible for communicating with the leadership. Our leadership will do it’s best to continue to be available to you as well as providing opportunity for conversations. We ask that if a communication gap is felt, it it imperative and good for you to pursue direct dialogue with our leadership instead of entertaining side conversations that only serve undermine a healthy, biblical culture by breeding suspicion and gossip.
Our staff and Overseers.
Our 10 current staff are thriving with close relationships, encouraging collaboration, and mutual accountability. They are incredibly supportive of one another and are fully supportive of our Board of Overseers. The same is true of the members of our Board, and our board fully supports and affirms our current staff. The bond amongst our entire leadership is strong and we are excited about the future of our church. It’s for that reason we will not be dissuaded from the amazing and meaningful work in front of us.