Monthly Archives: September 2015

October Shavings Letter

“The Pastoral Call Process Begins”

I bring you good news of a great joy! Before the end of October Wildwood Presbyterian
Church will not only have elected its Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC), but the
committee will also have begun to meet! Names of those who might serve on the
committee have been submitted and those open to serving have met or will meet for
information one of two days at the end of September with WPC’s Committee on Ministry
liaison, Brian Tischendorf, and me. Following that, the Officer Nominating Committee
and Session will prayerfully deliberate and submit to the congregation for vote a slate of
seven to nine names. Nominations can also be received from the floor. The election of
the church’s Pastor is an inalienable right of Presbyterian congregations and thus, even
the Pastor Nominating Committee must be elected by the congregation.

At our WildFuture worship on September 13, those in attendance offered prayers for the
soon to be elected PNC and I urge you the congregation to keep them in prayer. Pray for
them to be open to God’s leading in this pastoral call process.

Is this pastoral call process just church language for a personnel search? No, not at all.
Rather, we Presbyterians believe the process is guided by Jesus Christ, the head of the
Church. The congregation, through its Pastor Nominating Committee, seeks to discern
whom God is calling into pastoral leadership. Charles M. Olsen and Ellen Morseth of
the Alban Institute describe the call process like this “…the question before us could be
framed thusly; ‘God, whom are you calling at this time to lead in this church? Show us
your choice.’ We are invited to participate in God’s own choice.”

Therefore, the calling of a new pastor is not simply hiring a new employee for the church
as would be done for a secular job. Instead, it is participating in God’s own choice for
church leadership by being open to the work of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we Presbyterians
have this somewhat audacious belief that God can use committees, resumes, guidelines,
and our Presbyterian form of government, mixed with a healthy dose of scripture, prayer,
and worship, to discern what person God is calling to serve as pastor here. (Some
of the above has been adapted from the PC(USA)’s booklet, “On Calling a Pastor”.) In
God’s good time (we hope sooner than later!), the PNC will be presenting to you, the
congregation, that person’s name for election as WPC’s next Pastor. To God be the glory.

Grace and peace,

September Shavings Letter


It is time for Wildwood Presbyterian Church to begin the vitally important process of
choosing its Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). The Session, at its August 17 stated
meeting, set up this process:

1. Name(s) of church members you would like to be considered to serve on this
committee must be submitted in writing or by email (
to Barb in the church office by September 18. See two paragraphs below for
qualifications necessary for a PNC member.

2. You should get the approval of someone before submitting his or her name.

3. You may submit your own name but names submitted by someone other than
yourself or your family member will receive somewhat more consideration.

4. The names submitted will receive a letter from me inviting them to one of two
identical one hour information sessions to learn about the work of the PNC.

5. Those wishing to be considered must attend one of those sessions.

6. Those who are still interested in being on the PNC after learning of the enormous
time commitment involved in serving on the PNC (about two hours a week in
meetings for approximately a year plus homework and some travel) will be
considered by the Session and Congregational Nominating Committee.

7. A slate of seven to nine names will be submitted to the congregation for election
at a congregational meeting called by the Session. Nominations may be received
from the floor.

The Session and Nominating Committee will be looking for people with a variety of gifts to
serve on the PNC. Please understand that a representative balance, reflective of the church
itself, is needed on the PNC. With only seven to nine serving on the committee obviously a
number of extremely qualified people will not be able to serve.

Qualities needed in those who do serve are that they be faith filled persons who can
maintain strict confidentiality and be open minded. They need to be engaged and
invested in the future of Wildwood Presbyterian Church and able to work with a group to
build consensus.

Please give prayerful consideration as to whom you believe God is calling to serve as
a member of Wildwood Presbyterian’s Pastor Nominating Committee. Talk to him or
her and if that person is open to the idea, please submit his or her name in writing to
the church office. Even if you do not choose to submit a name, please pray for God’s
leading in the midst of this crucial process.

Grace and peace,

August Shavings Letter.

Renewing Wildwood Presbyterian Church’s Sense of Identity

Imagine you are asked by someone new to the area about Wildwood Presbyterian Church.
Suppose that person had not been raised in a church and had little additional knowledge
of church. What if they asked, while standing near the church building, “Hey, what’s going
on in there? Is it worth my time?” How would you respond?

In a real sense, we as a church community will be seeking to respond to that question for
the remainder of this summer and beyond. In two special events earlier this summer, we
have been claiming this church’s heritage – reminding ourselves of the significant events,
gifted leadership, and Spirit-led decisions that have made Wildwood Presbyterian the
great church that it is.

Now, we are beginning to focus on what our current mission is and what God is calling
this church to be as WPC moves into the future. What is to go on inside and outside the
walls of this gorgeous building in the way of mission for our Lord Jesus Christ?

This will be the purpose of two more special events at 9:00 a.m. between worship
at WPC on the Sundays of August 16 and September 13. We will be gathering
information from you the members and friends of WPC to use in shaping a mission
statement to carry this church into the future. Such a statement will be of immense value
to the church’s Pastor Nominating Committee and to the future Pastor(s). He or she (or
“they” if a clergy couple) will certainly want to incorporate their own input and vision as a
part of this document but a mission statement will go a long way in helping find the best
match for this church with regard to pastoral leadership.

Much of a church’s identity revolves around its pastoral leadership. That is especially
true when there has been a long term pastorate. So much of this church’s identity has
understandably revolved around Greg and Kathy Bostrom. This has been a fortuitous
thing for their extraordinary talents and abilities were crucial to making this church as
great as it is. But now that they have been called elsewhere, what is God renewing
Wildwood Presbyterian Church to be? This is what we are seeking to discern.

I am convinced that WPC has equally great years ahead of it. There are so many capable
lay leaders, such a capable church staff, and so much potential leadership I cannot
believe otherwise. And of course, One journeys ahead of us, leading us into the future, the
One who is the foundation and cornerstone of the church, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grace and peace,