Associate Pastor FAQ and Synopsis of our October 7th Family Discussion

Dear Cornerstone Church,

As we continue to consider whether to hire an Associate Pastor to lead up Leadership Development in 2019, a number of great questions came up during the October 7th family discussion. Thanks for sharing your questions, concerns, and hopes. If you have further questions, creative ideas, or suggestions, please reach out to theelders@cornerstone-marion.org and we’ll add them to this FAQ.

Where can I find the job description?

You can find it here.

Why has the job description been left with less specificity about job tasks and activities?

We hope to focus more on the who than the what for this position. We know we need someone to focus on leadership development, but the temperament, passions and skill set of the particular individual will really guide how that will be accomplished. We want someone who values what we value as a church and is willing to partner with us in what God has for us.

We would rather not set a specific plan or program in place and then be forced to find a person that meets that narrow requirement. With our limited financial resources, we want to have the widest pool of candidates available and trust that God will lead us to the right person to carry out this objective of training leaders.

That being said, we do want the new pastor to champion, oversee, and coach both formal and informal leadership development. Leadership development done well in our context is disciple-making. We want a culture of disciple-making and spiritual mentoring. We believe this is already happening in some areas, but this is also a huge growth area. We must prayerfully raise up laborers (people who can make disciples).

In addition, we will need to develop leadership skills (communication, leading meetings, teams, etc.) among those in our congregation. Many of these sorts of skills fall in the category of common grace (that is, skills learned in any workplace or leadership setting), but still as a church, we do have a responsibility to develop leadership skills and administrative gifts for our own programs and ministries (Psalm 78:72).

Do we have someone in mind already?

Pastor Matt believes that there are a number of individuals in transition in ministry in our community that he has or will encourage to apply. So too, there may be people willing to come into our area because of a family connection or a strong desire to be near Cedar Rapids.

Are we hoping this person will lead a particular ministry (i.e.: church planting, women’s ministry, discipleship, counseling)?

We believe that God calls the church to ministry and He provides certain leaders to equip all of the saints for that ministry (Ephesians 4:12). We are not planning on hiring to serve a particular ministry at Cornerstone. Rather, we feel it is best to have this paid staff position focus on training leaders who will then lead those ministries. We are not hiring this position to oversee any one ministry at Cornerstone.

Certainly this person will be have leadership qualities and will come with a certain passion or set of skills for participation in the body, but no other particular skill set will be in view for this position. The primary qualification is their ability to develop leaders.

Can we afford this position?

Pastor Matt noted in the meeting that he personally was more confident in July than he is today. To hire this person our budget would go up to ~$195,000. Last year (2017), we brought in $183,000 to our general fund. $12,0000 is a “manageable” faith goal, and we did have money in savings if we did not meet budget.

That being said, we’re on pace currently in 2018 to bring in $148,000, already $14,000 less than our current $162,000 budget for 2018. Currently, we have outspent $20,000 over giving in 2018, leading our non-designated savings to $105,000. A six-month of reserves for 2018 would mean we do not want our savings to drop below $81,000. If we went up to a $195,000 budget in 2019, six-months of reserves would be $97,500.

Pastor Matt offered two recommendations on how we move forward:

#1: When the LORD is not speaking directly to a congregation, a congregation should act in accordance with Biblical prudence and wisdom. We should prayerfully make wise financial choices. In that case, Matt felt if the financial picture does not reverse course before November 1, he personally would not feel comfortable adding $30,000 to a 2019 budget. It would be disappointing to bring someone on staff and have to let them go in short order because the funds were not sustainable.

#2: Still, if God calls us as a congregation to take a step of faith, then we should act even if the numbers do not “work.” Though Matt shared this, he said personally he has not heard any specific Word from the Lord. He invited us to pray diligently to God and share together in the coming weeks on what we feel the LORD is asking our church to do.

Others shared that there may yet be another creative model or concept that would allow us to move forward. An agreement to call on the LORD and to listen to Him was made.