For nearly three years I have worked with our Lead Ministry Team and Personnel Team in the search for an Executive Pastor of Northway Church. While I cannot account for all the hours that have been spent in prayer, research, and discussions on this search, I’m sure that number would be in the thousands. We looked at hundreds of resumes. We had zoom calls and phone conversations with numerous very qualified candidates. We met with and interviewed a handful of candidates who we strongly believed might fit with the role. However, in each case, the Lord clearly closed the door and made it apparent that we were not to move forward.
In May of this year, our team began conversations with our Student / Next Gen Pastor, Stephen Howard, about the possibility of him stepping into this role. After several interviews, we believed the Lord was clearly showing us that this is the individual for the position of Executive Pastor. Our Personnel Team then made a recommendation to our Lead Ministry Team, and on Monday night of this week our LMT voted to offer this job to Stephen.
Here is a portion of an email Stephen sent to our student and parents:
After much prayer, consideration, and conversation, I have decided to step into the Executive Pastor role here at Northway Church. Over the last five years my family and I have been so blessed by each one of you. Your graciousness towards me as a ministry leader and your love for my family has been steadfast and comforting. In so many ways, it has been an honor and joy to serve as the student pastor at Northway church and I will forever cherish the memories, lessons, and relationships I have gleaned from my time as your student pastor. This ministry, these students, and each of your families will always have a sweet spot in my spirit.
Please know, as I move into this role, I do not see my love for the student ministry, or responsibility to serve it to be diminished in any way but rather strengthened. As the Executive Pastor, it is my goal to be a champion of Northway and help the entire church be as healthy as it can be. A healthy church will always mean a healthy student ministry and I assure you I will be laboring for these purposes. More importantly, I recognize that the church is made up of people, and this transition does not diminish my affections for those involved in student ministry but strengthens it. My family and I are so blessed to be part of the covenant people of Northway and look forward to many more years of faithfully and steadfastly loving each of you (I Peter 1:22), continuing to spur you on in love (Hebrews 10:24), and looking to meet each of your needs (Philippians 2:4).
Stephen will continue to serve as the lead for our student ministry until his replacement is hired. Stephen and I are both committed to ensuring that the student ministry is healthy and continues to be given every resource needed to effectively minister to our middle and high schoolers.
I want to personally thank our Personnel Team who worked alongside me through this process. This team gave many hours of their time, worked diligently, and prayed fervently. Following are those who served on this team:
I am not only thankful for this amazing team, but as well for a church that is committed to making an impact on our community. I look forward to serving with Stephen as we lead our staff and church to continue to fulfill the vision the Lord has for us to share the gospel in our city.