As this process continues, our website will be the place to find updates and information regarding this transition. All questions should be submitted to searchteam@gracebc.org

 

Meet Our Search Team HERE

 

UPDATES

JULY 15, 2018
PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO UPDATE FROM OUR SEARCH COMMITTEE

 

 

Greetings Grace Family!

On behalf of the Pastor Search Team, we would like to take a moment to provide you with a detailed update on the Pastor Search process.  Since our last update, we have continued to meet on a weekly basis to process submitted resumes and pursue our top candidates.  To date, we have processed over 200 applications since August of 2017.  Some of these applications were new submissions, some were re-submittals, and some were referrals.  As explained in previous updates, as we processed through these resumes, we were led to prayerfully move forward in the process with a select few candidates.  Unfortunately, after an extensive research and interview process, this progression was ultimately unfruitful as none of our top candidates ended up being viable.

 

Up until this point in the process, we have been advertising the position and soliciting resumes through the Tennessee Baptist Convention, the Southern Baptist Convention, referrals, and ministry connections.  We have currently exhausted our pool of applicants using these more traditional means of candidate procurement.  Therefore, the Pastor Search Team of Grace Baptist Church feels led at this time to utilize the services of a nationally recognized and experienced ministry search firm.

 

The Vanderbloemen Group was founded in 2009 with the mission of helping churches find solutions to their church staffing needs.  Today it works with churches all over the world and has access to thousands of potential pastoral candidates.  The Vanderbloemen group will be assisting the Pastor Search Team of Grace Baptist church with the marketing, researching, and interviewing components of the Pastor search process.  There are several advantages to utilizing a national search firm such as the Vanderbloemen group.  First and foremost, they have access to a much broader group of potential candidates and the means to advertise the position on a national scale.  Second, they have a team of researchers and ministry professionals that will be working with us to filter through potential candidates in an efficient and professional manner.  It is important to note at this point, that the work done by the Vanderbloemen group is a helpful ministry tool and will in no way replace the role of the Pastor Search Team or congregation of Grace Baptist Church.  For more information about the Vanderbloemen Group, please check out their website – www.vanderbloemen.com

 

Before we conclude, we wanted to lay out for you the process that we will be using going forward so that you can continue to be in prayer:

 

  1. A Vanderbloemen Group representative has conducted a church analysis by meeting with the Pastor Search Team and the GBC staff.

 

  1. Using the information acquired from this ministry analysis, the Vanderbloemen Group will work with the Pastor Search team of Grace Baptist church to refine our Senior Pastor candidate profile.

 

  1. Once the candidate profile has been finalized, the position will be posted on The Vanderbloemen Group’s website and marketed to potential, qualified candidates nation-wide.

 

  1. As potential candidates apply, the Vanderbloemen Group research team will receive and begin to process their resumes.

 

  1. Out of this process, the Vanderbloemen Group will select the top potential candidates and begin initial phone interviews.

 

  1. After this extensive filtering process, the Vanderbloemen Group will present the top three candidates to the Pastor Search Team of Grace Baptist church.

 

  1. At this time, The Pastor Search Team of Grace Baptist Church will begin researching, conducting Skype interviews, and personally meeting with these top candidates in order to find the one candidate to present to the church.
  2. As before, the congregation of Grace Baptist Church will be given information about the candidate along with time and resources with which to conduct personal research before the candidate comes in view of a call.

 

We hope that this will provide some clarity as to where we are in the process and how you can continue to pray in the future.  As always, if you have any questions please email us at searchteam@gracebc.org.  On behalf of the entire search team we are so grateful for your continued prayer, patience, encouragement, and support throughout this entire process.  May God Bless You!

 

Bill Bailey and Tony Pointer

 

APRIL 22, 2018

Click for video

“Many, O Lord, my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your
thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would
declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.
(Psalms 40:5 NASB)
 
Hello Church Family,
It’s been a while since we’ve been able to give a more detailed update.
As I’m sure you understand, there are aspects of what we are doing that
are sensitive. We will at times be in a step with a candidate that
requires we maintain strict and careful confidentiality to protect them,
their family, and their church. We’ve been in such a season for a few
weeks now, but have entered a stage where we can offer a more
informative update.
 
As we’ve covered in the last couple of updates, we’ve been working on
narrowing down our list of candidates. We had reached a point where we
were pursuing one particular candidate on that list due to the unanimous
urging in our spirits. As we do with any candidate we feel led to
pursue, we held a number of introductory interviews. These are more
casual, free-flowing interviews than some of the formal, rigorous
interviews that take place as a candidate moves deeper in the process,
before we get to the stage of traveling to meet them. In the end, he
had to remove himself from consideration early in the process due to a
personal reason (no “failures” of any kind, the timing for him at this
point in his life simply didn’t work out). We are now moving on with
our smaller list. From here we will reach out to candidates as we are
led and continue doing interviews.
 
We’ve had some questions about reaching out to the second-to-the-top
candidate from the hiring process in 2016/2017. Since we’ve worked
through a few candidates at this point, I can share with you that we did
include him earlier in this process. We had a discussion with each
other but both agreed God was not leading us together at this time.
The team has been reminded again and again that God is faithful and that
He is speaking. He is moving. I have no doubt Grace is moving in God’s
time. His timelines don’t always look like we want them to, but we know
they are always right. It’s important to be praying for each other
right now, especially our staff.Pray for unity in the church and
compassion for each other and our community.Pray for endurance and
wisdom for our staff as they are working very hard during this interim
period.Remember their families too as they are making those same
sacrifices.Now is an important time to continually dwell on God’s many
thoughts toward us and to recall all the ways He’s ordered our steps in
our lives and at Grace. He’s still doing it today, and He’ll still be
doing it tomorrow!
 
God Bless,
Jonathan Gardner
Pastor Search Team, Member

 

March 7, 2018
 
“19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

– Hebrews 10:19-25

Grace Family,

In Hebrews 10:19-25 the author is reminding us of some of the essential purposes of the church. In verses 24-25, we are challenged to “consider how to stir one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together…” The church was designed by God to be a community of believers who band together to “stir one another” to carry out the work of the Kingdom of God. Together we have received the charge to evangelize the lost – both in our neighborhood and around the world, disciple and equip growing believers, and magnify the name of Christ! I was challenged recently in a conversation with a fellow believer that we have to stop “Going to church and start BEING THE CHURCH.” Church family, my prayer is that as we look to the future that God has in store for Grace Baptist church that we will remain faithful to our calling to be THE CHURCH.

Over the past few months, the Pastor Search Team of Grace Baptist Church has been fervently and prayerfully processing through the numerous resumes that have been received for the Senior Pastor position. We thank you for your continual prayers and patience during this process. I wanted to take a few moments to provide a brief update. As I explained in our Sunday Morning Search Team update on January 20th, we have been in the “Research Phase” of this process for the past several weeks. This involves prayerfully and meticulously narrowing down the list of potential candidates by examining their qualifications, researching their previous ministry experience, listening to their past sermons, and evaluating their theological perspectives.

As a result of this extensive research phase, we have narrowed our list of potential candidates down to a much smaller list of viable prospects. We have also been able to move to the next level of this process by conducting formal interviews with some of these viable candidates in order to ascertain more vital information about them. As you can imagine, it is a tedious process as we move closer and closer to the one candidate that we will present before the church for consideration. On behalf of the entire team, I want to thank you ahead of time for your continued steadfastness and support!

God Bless,

Tony Pointer
Chairman

Pastor Search Team of Grace Baptist Church
JANUARY 11, 2018

Dear Grace Family,

On behalf of the Pastoral Search Team, we hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  This time of year is always a great time of year to spend time with family and friends, reflecting on the many blessings God has bestowed on each of us, as we reflect on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  I’m happy to report that the team also enjoy a little bit of holiday cheer too!  So, as an update, we wanted to share with you a few things we’ve been doing, as well as, make a few requests of you all on our behalf. 

 

First and foremost, at this point in the process, and as you well know, we’ve received roughly over 175 resumes from candidates as far as from California to Florida.  Each potential candidate has his own God-given talents, skills, and abilities – all of which is a blessing to see what God is doing in the lives of these men and churches in our country for God’s kingdom.  It is truly amazing!  Each of these men of God has a belief in the inerrancy of God’s Word, character and integrity, and are committed to leading and equipping The Church in the areas of missions, ministry, evangelism, discipleship, and worship.  As you can image, without faith and trust in God’s leading and guiding, this would be an extremely difficult endeavor for any man or woman, let alone our little search team to accomplish alone.  We are prayerfully seeking God’s face and wisdom in all that we do! 

 

Our process with each and every potential candidate is to prayerfully research and evaluate each candidate from a “spiritual perspective” and a “practitional perspective.”  From a practitional view, has the candidate personally led a congregation comparably to the size of Grace, and managed a budget to like that of Grace, and prior Christian school experience?  As for the “spiritual perspective,” does the candidate have a profound love for and impact on the lives of the people in his community, the church, and staff in which he serves, and does he have a vision from God for Grace, Karns, and Knoxville?  Subsequently, our process leads us to more fervent prayer and research regarding candidates to continue to research more, prior to deciding to contact, to get more acquainted, and ultimately request an interview, and maybe visit.

 

Lastly, we are requesting your prayers throughout this process.  As you can see we are seeking a very special candidate that only God can provide.  A man that who strives to model Christ in all aspects of life of his life.  We cannot solicit enough prayer and support not only for the team, but also for the staff and their families.  Their commitment and service to God and to our church cannot be express, nor does it go unnoticed.  We ask that you be diligent, specific, and committed to prayer for our church and its ministries, as we all faithfully follow God.  (Hebrews 3:1-6)

 

The team’s next in-church update is planned for Sunday, January 20th, during both services.

God Blessings to You and Your Family from the Pastor Search Team. 

Humbly,

Bill Bailey
Search Team Member

 

NOVEMBER 28, 2017
 The angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. – 1 Kings 19:7-8

 

Greetings, Grace family! 
 
We discussed this passage in our weekly meeting a couple of weeks ago, and then Bro. Michael preached from this same chapter last Sunday.  There is a lot a person could unpack here.  As we reflected on what Elijah was going through, we were reminded that there are times in life where the task in front of us is simply too hard for us in our own strength.  Tired and weary, we reach a point that we cannot go on.  The angel said “the journey is too great for you.”  I know we all can relate to this.  The great news is that God always, always, knows what is ahead and provides everything we need to move forward in His strength.  He is before us.  And just like Elijah, if we wait and listen, and keep following Him, we can hear what He has to say.  The important thing is to never assume how or when God will actually speak, but rather to wait on His timing and His voice.  God knew Elijah needed those 40 days to recover before he was given his next task.  Those days were not necessarily easy, but they provided the respite Elijah needed to be ready for what came next.  Even now, God still knows what we need and when we need it.  The wait may not be easy, but if it is ordained by God it is exactly what we need.  We trust in Him alone.

 

In the last four weeks, we have finished processing all submitted resumes.  We viewed over 160 resumes.  We now have a short list of resumes we saved out of this round and the first pastor search process.  Those candidates have received the theological questionnaire we send out as a first step in our process.  From here, we prayerfully and carefully consider how to proceed with each candidate.

 

As you have so faithfully done, please continue to pray for us and for Grace.  This is an important time in the process.  You could think of this phase as “when the rubber meets the road”.  As long as new resumes are coming in, you do not really commit to any candidates and anything could happen from week to week.  But now that resumes are no longer being processed, we have to begin narrowing down candidates; committing steps in one direction or another.  It was a sobering step the first time around, and it is no different this time.  We only want to go where God leads and when He leads us.  Pray for unity and vision for the team AND the entire church.

 

God knows exactly where we are, where we are going, and how we are going to get there.  He will provide everything needed along the way.  We firmly believe this.  No matter how hard things may seem right now, one day this will just be a memory we look back on that reminds us of how faithful God is.  Let us not lose heart during this time, but rather, keep being the church here and now exactly where we are, knowing what God will do.

 

God Bless,

Jonathan Gardner
Pastor Search Team, Member
 
OCTOBER 25, 2017
 Wanted: One Senior Pastor with 75 years experience and only in his 40s!
 
Hi Grace! Bob here. The above statement is only a joke, but it reminds me that searching for our next pastor puts us in miracle territory! I have been reminded that God didn’t change when our last pastor resigned, God hasn’t changed since March 29th 2016 when this search team met for the first time, or since December 1916, when God saw fit to establish this church. He never changes!He still has the divine plan for all of us individually and for Grace as a local church body!
 

We are plowing through resumes and praying for God’s Hand to lead us. As we head into the season of thanks, I’m reminded of how thankful I am for each one of you at Grace. (I generally skip the Halloween stuff except for candy) God, in His infinite wisdom, has placed us here for His purpose in Kingdom work. I am thankful every time the Search Team gathers and prays for God’s next man for Senior Pastor here. I know the journey we’ve had is not wasted or accidental.

I am thankful for a faithful group of men who serve as our church ministerial staff! God has them in His hands as instruments to help Grace become all that it is designed to be. Pray for our eyes to see clearly as we head into the season of thanks and praise. Pray for continued church unity, as that is one of the best ways to honor our Lord!

 
With all that said, take a moment and count the ways God has blessed you, your family, Grace Baptist Church, and pray with anticipation that the next pastor at Grace has a heart that’s already stirring!
 
God Bless You All!
Bob Bell
 
OCTOBER 4, 2017
 “Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.” Jeremiah 32:17
 

After reading Jeremiah 32:17, all I could think about was the omnipotence of God.  We have an omnipotent God! He has the ability and power to do anything (OMNI -all; POTENT-powerful).  There is nothing too difficult for our God.  As the pastor search process continues, there will be times as a church we might feel overwhelmed, exhausted or even fearful BUT God has this.  What an incredible opportunity for us to see God move among our congregation, pastor search team and our church staff.    

As we continue to move forward, I want to give a quick update on the search process to date.   The Pastor Search team continues to meet weekly for a time of devotion and prayer.  We continue to receive resumes through the Southern Baptist Convention posting and referral resumes.  As of September 28, we have already processed 107 resumes with more still coming in.  We are looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for us. 

 

We “thank you” for all the prayers and support.   As you go about your week, we ask you to be in prayer for the following:   
  • Pray for supernatural discernment, wisdom and strength for the Search Team
  • Pray for unity and oneness of the spirit
  • Pray for God’s wisdom in all areas of the search process
  • Pray for God’s timetable, not our timetable
  • Pray for the future pastor and his family
  • Pray for a hedge of protection around the PST, staff and Grace Baptist Church
  • Pray for our current G pastors and staff

We feel privileged to be serving such a great church!

Blessings,

Raechel Eller
Pastor Search Team, Member
SEPTEMBER 8, 2017

Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. 8 The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Psalms 28:6-9 ESV

Greetings Church Family,

 

In Psalms 28, David is confessing his trust in the Lord and pleading with God to be the shepherd of his people. David is asking the Lord to lead, protect, and provide knowing that it is God, and God alone, who is truly qualified to be their Savior and King. As we find ourselves once again in another season of transition my prayer is that we all would continue to put our faith and trust in the Lord – Our True Shepherd! Let us not succumb to doubt and fear. Let us not lose hope. Let us not forget the reason that God has led, nourished, and sustained the people of Grace Baptist church for the last 100 years. Let us trust in the Lord and continually be about His business of “seeking and saving that which is lost!”
 
On behalf of the entire Pastor Search team, I want to extend a profound thank you to the entire congregation of Grace for your prayers, support, and encouragement over the last few weeks. We are humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve as your search team once again. As before, we will prayerfully conduct the next search process in a manner that would bring honor to God and edify His church. We would also like to thank the Pastors and Staff of Grace. Their support has been overwhelming and has allowed us to establish a proper foundation for resuming our search for the next Senior Pastor candidate of Grace.
 
I wanted to take a few moments and briefly update you on the search process thus far. The Pastor Search team has already met on a couple of occasions and we have begun the search process. At first, we spent time prayerfully reviewing our procedures and candidate profile – making adjustments as necessary. Then, we formally published the position and began receiving resumes through a number of different streams. As of Thursday, September 7th we have processed through 24 resumes with several more coming in each day. We were also blessed to be able to retain one candidate from our previous search process. As the process moves forward we will continue to process new resumes, send out theological questionnaires, conduct interviews, check references, execute background checks, and make on-site visits. We have a lot to do over the next few months and I want to thank you ahead time for your prayers, your patience, and your support.

 

As David wrote, “The Lord is the strength of His people…” May God continue to strengthen the people of Grace Baptist church and provide His wisdom to our Staff. May we continue to follow the Lord’s leading and be found worthy stewards of the blessings that He has so richly poured out on us. May we continue to build His kingdom for His honor and glory. May we continue to trust in the Lord!

 

God Bless,

 

Tony Pointer
Pastor Search Team, Chairman
July 18, 2017
Grace Family,

 

As many of you know, on Sunday, July 16, Dr. Jeff Crawford resigned as Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church. This news was unexpected and surprising to everyone. We would like to thank Dr. Crawford for his 4 months of service and leadership, and we will continue to pray for the Crawford family in the days ahead. 

The pastors and leadership team of GBC want to express our deepest appreciation for your prayers and support during the last few days. The response has been overwhelming, and it is evident that God is up to something unique at Grace. None of us imagined that we would be where we are today; we are reminded though, that God knew all along, and nothing has taken Him by surprise. Our charge is to remain faithful and trust in Him. God is already doing tremendous work at Grace, and we must continue in the work He has begun.

The pastoral leadership team has come together and are unanimous in our belief that we must continue

MOVING AHEAD!

We have witnessed great movement and momentum in our church during the last several months. The vision we have from God is clear and unchanged, and we will not stop pursuing people who need to experience Jesus.
 

In our times of sharing and prayer this week God has spoken clearly. We were directed to powerful scriptures like Philippians 4:6-7 and Habakkuk 2:3. Our hearts are united, we are moving ahead, and we are trusting God for greater things!

 

The Best is Yet to Come,

Your Leadership Team

Bobby T. | Bryan R. | Bryan T. | George T. | Jason B. | Jeff D. | Mark B. | Mike T. | Rob H. | Todd H.