Message From the Pulpit Search Committee

by Paul Stephenson on March 19, 2014

To the Congregation of First Presbyterian Church

I am writing on behalf of the nine-person Pulpit Search Committee: Ned Currie, Beverly Harmon, Paul Hurst, Laura Husband, Ben Roberson, Jerry Shivers, Bill Stone, Danny Story and myself. The Committee is very excited about our unanimous recommendation to you to call David Strain as the next senior minister of First Presbyterian Church. We look forward to Wednesday evening, March 26, when David will share with the congregation his personal background, Christian testimony, call to be a preacher and pastor, his ministry experience and insights into his philosophy of ministry. The Committee is excited for you to hear these insights from David just as we have. David has a wonderful personal story that made clear to us his love for Jesus Christ, his love for this congregation and his love for pastoral ministry. God has provided us a man with a heart for shepherding the people of First Presbyterian Church, and we hope you will join us on March 26 to learn more about his commitment to God and those experiences that shaped his ability to love others in a sincere and powerful way. We eagerly anticipate as well the congregational meeting after the March 30, Sunday morning worship services at which the Committee will report on our search process and recommendation of David.

As the Committee encourages you to participate on March 26 and March 30, we thought it might be helpful to share at this time a few general observations about our search process. The congregation approved the appointment of the Committee on September 15, 2013. Our work began immediately. We conducted our first meeting of the Committee as a whole on September 22. From that point forward we met regularly and often through our last meeting on Sunday afternoon, March 9. The Committee prepared a church profile and a senior minister profile to facilitate our discussions. We conducted a comprehensive search for potential candidates. We solicited and also received dozens of nominations from multiple quarters within and without the church and the denomination. Potential candidates were engaged in fruitful ministries across the country. The Committee listened to hundreds of sermons, viewed many sermons, personally interviewed candidates and vetted candidates via personal contacts. We engaged in many hours of discussion, exchange of opinions, deliberation and prayer.

That God has graciously gifted many men to serve in the pastorate of the Reformed faith is truly evident. We count God’s leading us to the recommendation of David Strain as a magnificent blessing indeed. Much can be said about David’s life experiences and the man. For now, please know that the Committee unreservedly believes David to be an extraordinarily gifted preacher, a man profoundly called to pastor God’s people with a deep love for them, a theologically sound leader and a Godly example as we walk daily through life. Again, please come on March 26 to hear David and also his lovely wife, Sheena, share concerning life together as family, in ministry and in service of our Lord.

To the person, your Pulpit Search Committee thanks you for the opportunity and privilege to serve. Service for us has been a blessed spiritual experience. We have been greatly blessed as we have heard the Word of God faithfully and powerfully preached by gifted men throughout the Reformed world. Our times of fellowship and prayer together in which we ultimately sensed God’s lead to recommend David Strain will always be a most treasured joy.
Paul Stephenson
Chairman, Pulpit Search Committee