If you aren’t familiar with how the normal process goes in hiring a new senior pastor, let me tell you of my journey to Main Street.
For approximately a year, a search team consisting of a group of ten developed a job description, posted the job on many sites, then began the daunting task of combing through 75+ resumes they had received. They then began narrowing down which candidates they thought could be a potential.
Once the team narrowed down their search, they began to make phone calls to some men. That’s where I come into play in all this process.
In all of 2018, God had specifically gotten our attention through a series of events in our own personal lives that confirmed the call to a senior pastorate. I had begun interviewing with a couple churches only to get down to the final 2 twice and then receive word that they had chosen the other candidate.
During this extensive process, my former church (SycamoreCreek.org) was in the final stages of launching a capital campaign to build and renovate in large way. I was very passionate about it as they had chosen me to lead the entire project from capital campaign to construction. We were slated to launch on Sunday, August 26.
During this extremely busy few months leading up to it, Laura and I were praying for God to open and close the doors He had for us. All the while, I loved my dream job. However, I knew where He was calling me. But I prayed that He would allow me to at least launch the campaign. Well, He did. Not by much though, because three days later I received a text message from the head of the Main Street search team asking me if I was interested in talking with them.
On the evening of August 29, I had the privilege to spend about 20 minutes on the phone with Barry Jolly (head of search team). We had a great conversation of introduction and questions.
The ball began to roll as I would then speak with them 3 or 4 more times before they would extend an on-site interview with their search team. Shortly thereafter, me and my family drove down on a Sunday evening and I was able to meet with their team.
I was able to officially meet Rob, Tami, Chris, Carol, Tom, Joe, Barry, Susan, Jenni, and Kate. We had a great time for about 90 minutes. They even were so kind to invite Laura in for about 30 minutes. It was totally unplanned but she did great! They asked a ton of questions (ok, it wasn’t that many). We did a walk through/tour of their awesome campus. I remembered thinking “wow, it’ll be a miracle if they choose me.”
The Search Team and me (From L-R Jenni, Tami, Chris, Tom, Barry, Carol, Rob, Kate, Susan, myself, and Joe)
Well, miracles do happen. After a few more on-site visits, lots of phone calls, checking my references, visiting Sycamore Creek and various other things, the search team and elders voted to extend a call for me to come and preach in view of a call to be their senior pastor.
Wow, I remember that call from Barry. I was sitting at my kitchen table talking with Laura when that call came in from Alexandria, Kentucky. I remember as Barry spoke that I gave Laura the thumbs up, as tears streamed down my face. Barry had no idea what was happening on the other end of the line.
Fast forward about 6 weeks later, we were in Alexandria meeting with a realtor, looking at schools, touring the area, then I spoke to the congregation for the first time on Sunday, January 6. Outside of our wedding, I don’t believe I’ve ever been more emotional in my life. I wept that morning as I drove to the church, as I sat in an office, as I received texts from family, friends, and their retiring pastor, Bob. But nothing tops the emotions when I walked out to speak. I can’t even put it into words. I just knew it was right where God wanted me!
There was a big lunch with all the church immediately after the 2 services where I did a Q & A as well as shared our story. We then had a full day of meetings with specific teams. It was a long day, but very exciting!
I travelled back solo that week to meet with a few more Main Street teams. I asked a lot of questions and they asked even more. We had a great time getting to know one another. As with just about all churches, I needed to be voted on by the congregation the following Sunday, January 13. Yes, that was a nerve-wracking week as we waited. But there were two people who kept saying this is the vote we believe you’ll get (both didn’t know each other but both said the same number). Well, they were exactly right. About 8:00pm on Monday, January 13 I was FaceTimed into their meeting where the Main Street congregation yelled all at once “congratulations.”
Wow, I was now a senior pastor.
I can’t thank the search team enough for all their hard work over the last year. Their dedication to the mission of Main Street was awesome to see and hear during this process. I’ve now had the privilege to spend a lot of time with them including at a very special night last week as we were part of the search team appreciation dinner hosted by Barry and Susan Jolly. We ate incredibly, fellowshipped for hours and shared stories about how God brought us to these next steps for Main Street.
A lot has changed, needless to say, for the Peters family in just the last few months. We are thrilled to be here! Now let’s go reach more people for Christ!
Here we go!