The Pastor Search Committee was called by Greystone Baptist Church during church in conference on December 10th, 2017. The committee members include: Annie Hardison-Moody (chair), John Meyer (vice-chair), Joanne Thompson, Brian Grant, Johnathan Eshleman, Jackson Hollingsworth, Toni Cox, Laura Nelson, Dot Thomason, and John Clark. The committee met for an orientation with Dr. Bill Wilson, from the Center for Healthy Churches, on January 15th, where we began the process of congregational discernment that will lead us to who and what God is calling Greystone to be. As part of our work with Dr. Wilson, the committee has engaged the congregation in a series of three conversations, focusing on Greystone’s past (February 4th), Greystone’s present (March 18th), and Greystone’s future (May 6th). Dr. Wilson led these conversations, which helped to root this search process in a spirit of “holy indifference,” trusting that God’s will, not ours, be done. Since that time, we have met at least every other week, to work through the process developed through years of research and practice by Dr. Wilson and the Center for Healthy Churches staff. We developed a covenant, and affirmed our commitment to each other and this church by signing it on March 7th.
In the first conversation, we heard about what brought members to Greystone – the music, preaching, a personal connection, and the location – and what keeps them here – the people and the strong relationships of love and trust that they have built. We also identified several core values that we hold as a church. We are: Loving, Caring, Supportive, Non-judgemental, Welcoming, Service-Oriented, Accepting, and Empathetic. During the second conversation, we heard from Dr. Wilson about the state of the church in the United States; membership and attendance are declining in many congregations, but we also looked around our neighborhood and saw that Raleigh is vibrant and growing. We talked together about ways that our current ministries are meeting the needs of our surrounding community, and ways that we could do that better. We talked about what makes us Baptist – our independence, our commitment to the priesthood of all believers, our blended worship style, and our service or mission orientation. Through a joint exercise we identified ourselves as a predominantly progressive Baptist church, with supporting examples given such as – we affirm women in ministry, are diverse and inclusive, and don’t require baptism by immersion for membership. We followed up that second conversation with a series of discussions in small groups, with the deacons and Sunday School classes, focused on identifying Greystone’s mission and vision. What does it mean that we say, “every member a minister?” What does that look like in the life of our church?
The final conversation will be held on May 6th. Dr. Wilson will lead us again, and the dialogue will focus on who God is calling us to be in the future and what is the profile of the visionary leader who will guide us down that path. We will also share insights from the small group discussions about our missional vision. Following this conversation, our team will begin an intensive process with Dr. Wilson and the Center for Healthy Churches, to identify and call our next senior pastor. We have felt the prayers and care of this congregation throughout this process, and we ask that you continue to hold us in your prayers through the summer and early fall as we identify candidates and discern who God is calling for us.