FAQs for Pastor Search Process

FAQs for Pastor Search Process

If you have questions for the Senior Pastor Search Committee, email them to pastorsearch@chapelhillpc.org.

Updated Sun, February 18, 2024

Q: What is the process for selecting a new Senior Pastor?

A: The congregation first calls a Search Committee, the members of whom are tasked with selecting the candidate they believe God is calling to be the next Senior Pastor of Chapel Hill. That candidate is then be presented to the congregation, who votes to determine whether to call the candidate as the next Senior Pastor. This is the process stipulated by the Book of Order of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (our denomination).

Q: Who is on the Search Committee?

A: At the congregational meeting on November 5, 2023, the Session (Elder Board) nominated a Search Committee, based upon a prayerful process that began several months ago. Each person nominated will have served Chapel Hill as an Elder or would be eligible to serve Chapel Hill as an Elder. The congregation confirmed these nominations at the November 5 meeting. See their bios here.

Q: How long might this process take?

A: The length of the process will be determined by the Search Committee. The Search Committee will make sure to take the right length of time to select the candidate they believe God is calling to serve Chapel Hill as its next Senior Pastor. There is no stipulated minimum or maximum length of time for this process. Once the Search Committee is formed, they will provide ongoing updates to the congregation about their process and progress, including anticipated timelines.

Q: When can we expect updates from the Search Committee?

A:  The PSC first agreed on a search process and built a timeline.  The committee posts regular updates following each meeting here and held its first Town Hall meeting January 28, 2024. The PSC plans to continue posting updates to the website and will hold additional Town Hall meetings.

Q: How can I ask the PSC a question?

A: The committee invites you to submit your questions to pastorsearch@chapelhillpc.org. Prior to submitting your question, please check out the Pastor Search web page and our EPC denominational website that outlines the pastoral search process. The PSC also encourages you to read the following documents: the Job Description (to understand the primary duties, knowledge and experience, and competencies for the next Senior Pastor); the Church Information Form (the committee’s summation of our congregation’s history, challenges, and goals); and a blank copy of the Personal Information Form (which our denomination asks pastoral candidates to submit as a way of introducing themselves to the Senior Pastor Search Committee).

Q: Will the new Senior Pastor be someone who is already on staff at Chapel Hill, or an external candidate?

A: The new Senior Pastor will be the person the congregation elects to serve this role, based upon the nomination of the Search Committee, who will seek to present the candidate they believe God is calling to this role. In the process of determining who that candidate is, it is possible for the Search Committee to consider an Associate Pastor of Chapel Hill; to do so, they must receive approval from both the Session of Chapel Hill, and the Ministerial Committee of the Presbytery to proceed with that consideration.

Q: Are you prayerfully considering candidates from outside Chapel Hill Church?

A: Yes.

Q: Where can I find the Senior Pastor Job Description on the church website?

A: The Job Description, Church Information Form, and a blank Personal Information Form are located in the following places: 1) On the main Senior Pastor Search page here, near the top of the page under “Helpful Forms”; and 2) On the Latest News web page here, near the top of the page under “Helpful Forms”. (It was also shared in the January 30, 2024 PSC update on the Latest News page. 

Q: The February 10 PSC update said the committee is asking EPC leaders to pray for a candidate who is a “good fit” and Pastor Mark Toone’s February 11 sermon described the need for a leader to be accountable. What selection criteria for managerial and leadership styles assess a candidate being a “good fit”?

A: See the Job Description here. The primary duties, knowledge, experience, and competencies are listed and speak to this question.

Q: May we see copies of Senior Pastor candidates’ resumes?

A: No. The resumes/Personal Information Forms (PIF) are being held in the highest confidence.

Q: May we have a copy of the matrix/assessment form for candidates?

A: See the Job Description, Church Information Form, and Personal Information Form posted on our Senior Pastor Search web page

Q: Will we have a chance to meet the candidate and ask questions in a town-hall-style setting?

A: No. The PSC will present our final candidate to the congregation for approval.

Q: Will we have a chance to hear the candidate give a Sunday message?

A: No. However, the PSC will observe sermon messages online and in person.

Q: Are you evaluating the executive experience of prospects to manage and move forward a large enterprise and its supportive infrastructure?

A: Yes, we are. In the posted Job Description here, it states under the heading “knowledge and experience” that the candidate must have “ability and successful experience in leading a large congregation”.

Q: Are you considering the importance of Presbyterianism with its traditional values and core worship environment?
A: Yes. In the posted Job Description here, the candidate must be ordained or ordainable within the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).

Q: Are you considering the importance and the continuance of both the traditional and modern worship experience at Chapel Hill Church?

A: This is a question for a future Session discussion and will be forwarded to our current Session Chair.

Q: Will Pastor Mark remain as the Senior Pastor until a successor is chosen or will there be an Interim Senior Pastor?

A: Pastor Mark will remain as Senior Pastor of Chapel Hill until September 1, 2024. The intent of the Session is that the new Senior Pastor will begin their role on September 2, 2024. There are no current plans for an Interim Senior Pastor.

Q: Will Pastor Mark remain active at Chapel Hill after his retirement?

A: Pastor Mark will take an extended Sabbatical period of six months, following his retirement, where he will be away from Chapel Hill. This will allow the congregation to adapt to a new Senior Pastor. Following that period, his future role with respect to Chapel Hill will be determined by the Session. Pastor Mark and the Session want to make sure that any future relationship he has with Chapel Hill contributes to the success of the church and the new Senior Pastor.