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SUCCESSION UPDATES

 

March 14, 2021

The vote is in! Pastor Dan Nichols will be the next Senior Pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship! The GCF Constitution requires more than 75% positive votes of members in attendance to call a senior pastor, which was overwhelmingly exceeded today.
 
We are excited to welcome Pastor Dan, Joy and their sons to GCF. We believe God has big plans in store for his work in our community. We will be working with Pastor Dan and Pastor Mike on a transition plan over the next few months. It is expected that Pastor Dan will have an official start date around June 1 and he will be ramping up his involvement here at GCF between now and then.
 
I’d like to thank the Senior Pastor Search Committee, led by Paul Sypher, for all of the work they have done to bring us to the successful calling of Pastor Dan!
 
Please continue to keep this process in your prayer as we move through the next few months.
 
Jamie Zimmerman
Moderator, Board of Directors
 

 

March 2021

 
On Sunday March 14 we will hold a congregational vote to call Pastor Dan Nichols as the next Senior Pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship.  
 
 

The Search Team for the next Senior Pastor started with a profile and job description that had been developed through input from the Board, from the staff, and from Pastor Mike.  There were several key points that were identified as being important qualities in the next Senior Pastor.  As we have interviewed Pastor Dan Nichols, we have used these key points as a guide.

Key Point One: Education preference is for a Master of Divinity and Ordination.  Pastor Dan Nichols has a Bachelor of Science in Pastoral Ministry and Bible from Clark Summit University, a Master of Arts in Theology and Biblical Studies from Clarks Summit University Graduate School and is about to receive a Doctor of Ministry from Bible Baptist Seminary.  He is completing his dissertation and plans on graduating with his Doctor of Ministry in May of 2021.  Pastor Dan was ordained in the Berean Baptist Church in 2011.

Key Point Two: Age vs. Experience.  We preferred ten years or more of ministry experience in preaching, leading change, and leading in a variety of settings.  Pastor Dan was the Student Body President and Class of 2010 President at Clarks Summit University.  He led a church plant called Restored Church starting in 2012 and remains active in leadership at Restored.  Pastor Dan has been the founder and Executive Director of the Northeast Collaborative since 2019 and currently works with over 30 churches throughout the northeast.  He has also been a small group leader, worship design team member, church planting intern, and house church leader. 

Key Point Three: Denomination affiliation.  We do not prefer a particular affiliation but wanted someone who would understand Grace Christian Fellowship and its background.  Pastor Dan comes from a Baptist affiliation which matches well with the background of Grace Christian Fellowship.  The search team looked at the churches that Pastor Dan has served in and have spoken with 22 references.

Key Point Four: Geographic location.  We are open to candidates from anywhere but recognize that working in the Northeast has particular challenges.  Pastor Dan made it truly clear early in our interview process that he feels called to serve in the northeast.  He is extremely passionate about the needs of the northeast.  Both Pastor Dan and his wife Joy are from the northeast.

Key Point Five: Specific skill sets.  In our profile we identified a number of skill sets that would be necessary.  Not a micromanager, sees gifts in others, trustworthy and approachable, big picture thinker, skilled preacher (theologically sound), team preacher, open-minded, mature, and understanding of GCF’s history and willing to build on that foundation.  In our interviews and calls to references we focused on these skills.  Pastor Dan exhibits these skills and a willingness to grow and learn.

Key Point Six: Technical Abilities.  While it is not necessary to be a master of technology and social media, a familiarity and comfort level will be important.  Pastor Dan is highly skilled and experienced with technology and social media and how to utilize these tools in ministry.

Key Point Seven: Work well in a team setting.  Pastor Dan has worked on teams for his entire ministry career.  The interview process and reference calls have focused on this key point.  Pastor Dan is a strong team leader and has worked exceptionally well in team settings.

Of course, underneath all these key points we have looked at the basic qualifications of an Elder as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

Chemistry staffing conducted three interviews with Pastor Dan and compared his profile with that of GCF.  In early November Chemistry brought Pastor Dan to our attention.  In early December, the search team conducted our first interview with Pastor Dan.  In mid-January we conducted a second interview with Pastor Dan that included five members of the board.  From February 5-7 Pastor Dan and his wife Joy spent time with the board, the search team, and the staff for an extended interview.  Pastor Dan preached at all three services on February 7.  The search team also conducted 22 reference calls regarding Pastor Dan.  Pastor Mike and Pastor Nick have also had numerous meetings with Pastor Dan over the last several months.

On February 10, the search team and board met to discuss and determine next steps.  By unanimous vote we decided to ask Pastor Dan and Joy to come for an official candidate weekend on March12-14.  We will have time for ministry leaders and members to interact with Pastor Dan on March 12 and 13.  Pastor Dan will preach on March 14.

Pastor Dan meets all the standards and requirements that we established back in September of 2020 when we provided a job description and profile to Chemistry staffing.  It is without reservation that we present Pastor Dan Nichols for a congregational vote to be the next Senior Pastor at Grace Christian Fellowship.  Our constitution requires a 75% positive vote of the members in attendance at this 3/14/2021 congregational meeting.

To provide a safe and socially distant congregational meeting, we will open the congregational meeting after the first service.  Those members who attend the first service can vote immediately after the first service.  Members who attend the second and third service will also be able to vote immediately after the service they attend.  After all ballots have been collected after the third service, the votes will be tallied and the meeting adjourned.

It has been an honor and pleasure for the search team to go through this process with Pastor Dan.  We look forward to what God has in store.

 

Paul Sypher
Chairman of the Search Team
 
 

 

February 2021

On Sunday March 14 we will hold a congregational vote to call Pastor Dan Nichols as the next Senior Pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship.  

Grace Christian Fellowship hired Chemistry Staffing in September of 2020 to help us with the search for our next Senior Pastor.  Chemistry worked with the search team and the board to develop a job description and profile of Grace Christian Fellowship.   Chemistry conducted three interviews with Pastor Dan and compared his profile with that of GCF.  In early November Chemistry brought Pastor Dan to our attention. 

In early December, the search team conducted our first interview with Pastor Dan.  In mid-January we conducted a second interview with Pastor Dan that included five members of the board.  From February 5-7 Pastor Dan and his wife Joy spent time with the board, the search team, and the staff for an extended interview.  Pastor Dan preached at all three services on February 7.  The search team also conducted 22 reference calls regarding Pastor Dan.  Pastor Mike and Pastor Nick have also had numerous meetings with Pastor Dan over the last several months.

On February 10, the search team and board met to discuss and determine next steps.  By unanimous vote we decided to ask Pastor Dan and Joy to come for an official candidate weekend on March12-14.

Pastor Dan meets all the standards and requirements that we established back in September of 2020 when we provided a job description and profile to Chemistry staffing.  It is without reservation that we present Pastor Dan Nichols for a congregational vote to be the next Senior Pastor at Grace Christian Fellowship.  Our constitution requires a 75% positive vote of the members in attendance at this 3/14/2021 congregational meeting.

The board and Pastor Mike have been discussing transition plans for Pastor Mike’s eventual retirement for several years.  They will continue to develop these transition plans more specifically when we call the next Senior Pastor.

Please plan on attending the congregational meeting on March 14 after the third service.  If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me or our Moderator Jamie Zimmerman.

 

Paul Sypher

Chair, GCF Senior Pastor Search Team
 
If you have questions, please contact Jamie Zimmermant: zimmerman28@msn.com or Paul Sypher at paul.sypher@gmail.com.
 
 

Pastor Dan Nichols – Pastoral Candidate preaching Feb. 7th, 2021.

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January 2021

 

Dear Grace,
 
About two years ago we began planning for the time when Pastor Mike will retire and we transition as a church to a new Senior Pastor.  We wanted to provide an update on where the process is regarding the transition plan.
 
This past fall, at our annual congregational meeting, there was an update from the Leadership Continuity Team (LCT) about completing a Senior Pastor job description along with contracting with the search firm Chemistry, to help in the search process. The LCT was voted on to become the official Search Team and they have been working alongside Chemistry and the Board.
 
The update video above is from me and Paul Sypher regarding the search and transition process.  If you have questions, please contact me at zimmerman28@msn.com or Paul Sypher at paul.sypher@gmail.com.
 
Blessings,
 
Jamie Zimmerman
Church Board Moderator

 

SUCCESSION UPDATE – Pastor Mike

December 2020

In June of 2019, I introduced the idea of Succession Planning to our Board of Directors and that summer, we established a 2-fold succession strategy: Plan A and Plan B. Plan A became the strategy in the event of an emergency need with Plan B being my retirement under ideal circumstances.
 
During a sermon last November (2019), I announced Succession Planning to our church family and we formed a Leadership Continuity Team (LCT) to facilitate our planning. Appointed by our Board of Directors, the members of our Leadership Continuity Team (LCT) are: Tracy Poli, Matt Sears, Paul Sypher, Beth Hutchinson, Kris Melford, Lynne Sypher, and Dave Steiginga.
 
Plan A (in the event of an emergency) was completed and approved by our Board in March just prior to the pandemic shut down. When the pandemic hit, Plan B was put on pause.
 
After a few weeks, the Lord made it clear that we should continue our work on Plan B given the time required to identify, interview, and candidate a Senior Pastor. Time is our friend in this process and we can afford to be patient and prayerful. I’m in no hurry to retire and will remain in place and available to our church for whatever period of time is most helpful.
 
In order to cast a wide net for possible candidates, we have engaged Chemistry Staffing to partner with us in our succession process. This is the same search firm that helped us in our recent Youth Pastor hire and they’ve been successful in finding quality pastor candidates in other churches in our region of the country.