What is the congregation’s or organization’s vision for ministry? Additionally describe how this vision is lived out.
The congregation of First Presbyterian-Morgantown, a historic downtown church with a long history of community involvement and engagement, expects participatory, vibrant worship, strong educational leadership, and nurture of members' spiritual growth and care.
Its vision is for a ministry based on Biblical understanding and response to God's call, including student ministry and support, a town/gown relationship with West Virginia University, and a voice in community affairs.
It is a progressive congregation of many ages with a vision for ministry that cares for God's people, prioritizing social justice and inclusiveness, and is lived out through several activities and activisms, including but not limited to the following:
- Community Pancake Breakfast.
- Presbyterian Child Development Center.
- The Harless Center, a faith-based student housing ministry founded by the congregation.
- Empty Bowls, a community-wide campaign to feed the hungry that was begun by the congregation.
- Home of many recovery groups.
- Covenant Network membership.
- Multiple members who live out their call trying to make the community more inclusive and welcoming.
How do you feel called to reach out to address the emerging needs of your community or constituency?
While continuing ministries to the homeless and hungry, as well as championing gender inclusivity, under the leadership of several members, the congregation has recently added work with refugees to its mission.
We feel called to be a strong advocate for urban ministry and social engagement and to be involved in the life of downtown Morgantown, ranging from service on boards and commissions to advocating for theological and spiritual conversations about current affairs and issues.
With changing attitudes about faith in society, the congregation needs to be a beacon of relevancy of Reformed theology, especially to younger generations. We are well-positioned to be a fellow traveler with searchers.
The congregation is also home to Presbyterian Women, music programs, Stephen Ministries, and is open to innovative and non-traditional approaches to Christian education.
How will this position help you to reach your vision and mission goals?
The congregation seeks a leader who nurtures, cares for, and leads it through the many personal, professional, and spiritual challenges its members face in this chaotic time. This is essential for the congregation to remain a place where social justice ministry is carried out.
The congregation seeks a pastor who is compassionate and caring to our multi-generational church family, spiritually equipping us for community advocacy.
The pastor also should be comfortable being visible as a Reformed, Christian voice in the community and the denomination.
The pastor must be sensitive to and be able to work with the diversity of thought within the congregation. There are members of the congregation with varying degrees of interest in or support of social justice initiatives, and while not vocal, their needs and concerns must be heard and not discounted.
The pastor will help assess and develop realistic expectations of a church our size with regards to the facility, financial capabilities, and commitments. The pastor will utilize direct communication with the congregation to build trust and respectfully resolve conflict.
Provide a description of the characteristics needed by the person who is open to being called to this congregation and or organization.
“Energy, intelligence, imagination and love.”
The congregation has struggled with pastoral leadership for several years, culminating in an unpleasant split with the former installed pastors. The struggle has continued, albeit with less heat, in the intervening years. The congregation craves a minister, friend, and celebrant who will provide pastoral leadership and who appreciates and supports the historic principles of Presbyterian polity vis-a-vis parity of ruling and teaching elders. As a Presbyterian congregation in a college town, we seek a strong, articulate, passionate scholar/theologian who is comfortable with nuance and challenge.
Many of our congregational leaders are nearing burnout, meaning new ones need to be developed, encouraged, and supported. Although the congregation continues to accomplish many things, at times it tries to do too much with too few people and financial resources.
Like all mainline churches, we need to approach the future with imagination and willingness to change, while being faithful to our Reformed theology and our understanding of who we are called to be.
What specific tasks, assignments, and program areas will this person have responsibility?
The mission study made several areas especially clear:
Worship: The congregation wants a stimulating, engaging, welcoming worship service – in Word, music, and other liturgical arts. Dynamic worship leadership that respects the skills and gifts of others involved in planning is a must.
Education: Help in developing stronger adult, youth, and child educational ministries, including working with campus ministry as well as the Westminster Foundation.
Member Care: The congregation seeks a pastor who cares for and comforts the church community.
Polity: The congregation is proud of and comfortable with its Presbyterian heritage; accordingly, the pastor should share and encourage an understanding of what it means to be Presbyterian and its Biblical basis. The pastor must be willing to model that behavior, including participation in the wider councils of the denomination. (Members have historically been, and continue to be, active in those councils.)
Administration: The church’s financial situation is challenging. The limited staff needs a collaborative, supportive leader and advocate.
Advocacy: The congregation desires a pastor who is a visible advocate for social justice in the community.
Growth: The pastor will support congregational growth in numbers and strength.
Communication: The pastor must be technologically competent and be willing to use or learn available techniques, strategies, and tactics – new and old – to help live out Matthew 28:19-20.
The Harless Center: www.harlesscenter.org
Westminster Foundation of WV: www.westminsterwv.org
West Virginia University: www.wvu.edu
Presbyteria Student Fellowship (WVU) https://www.facebook.com/groups/WVUkirk/
City of Morgantown: http://www.morgantownwv.gov/
Monongalia County: http://www.co.monongalia.wv.us/index.html
Convention and Visitors Bureau: http://www.tourmorgantown.com/