Why a Downtown Church?
“We find simply and briefly that we, as a church, have little relevant contact, and there is, with one or two exceptions, little influence for Christ in the inner city.”
This assessment is from A Progress Report by the Downtown Church Committee of First Presbyterian Church, dated June 9, 1963. The church responded by initiating new programs to serve its downtown neighbors, including the “detached worker” joint venture with the YMCA and the Harwood Street Center preschool. (Holding Forth the Word of Life: the Witness of a Downtown Church 1856-2006, pp.157-59)
Our inner-city neighbors have changed, and are changing, dramatically. With the rapid influx of new downtown residents, we are now more than ever poised to accept the challenge to demonstrate our relevance to our inner city that our forebears saw in 1963. What skills and experience will our next Head of Staff Pastor need to help lead us into a future of “relevant contact” and “influence for Christ” with our downtown neighbors?
The PNC is focused on discerning where God is leading us to find such a person. Please continue to pray for us.
What will downtown Dallas be in 2028?
As you look around our neighborhood, it is clear that downtown will be more populous and more vibrant than it is today. It is already more dynamic than it was even five years ago.
As the PNC studies these and other cultural developments, we are focused on what it will look like for FPC to be "A Heart for the City" in the coming decade. There have been tipping points before in the 160 year history of our church. We have no doubt that we are at one now. So, we are working hard to discern who God is calling to be the preaching leader who will help FPC respond to these changes and move into the future.
The PNC cherishes your continuing prayers. We will be providing brief weekly reports, so stay tuned. Any comments can be sent using the contact button below.
Where are we in the process?
In light of Gareth's recently announced plans, an update from your Pastor Nominating Committee feels overdue. This process is unique and it may sometimes seem as if we are indifferent to the congregation’s anxiety and curiosity. Not so! We are working diligently and effectively, learning more about our church and our mission each week and remaining relentless and confident in our search.
The PNC’s timeline began with our last head of staff, Joe Clifford, announcing in July 2016 his call to Myers Park Presbyterian Church. Greg Gibson then started as our interim pastor that fall. In February 2017, the Session requested that the Congregational Nominating Committee begin the process of selecting nominees for the PNC. Following a call for nominations from the congregation, the PNC was formed and charged by the congregation during worship on April 2, 2017. Other than Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, we’ve met every Wednesday since that time, often for three-hour sessions. Initially, we spent time familiarizing ourselves with the PC (USA)’s search processes, in listening sessions with the congregation, and in developing our Ministry Information Form (MIF). The Session approved the MIF on June 6, 2017, and we hit the ground running. We received well over 100 Pastor Information Forms from computer-generated matches and dozens of referrals from you and other friends of our church from across the country, many of which were intentionally solicited from other pastors and denominational leaders.
We then began to listen individually to hundreds of sermons and corporately to dozens of sermons from remarkable candidates. Our meetings for most of last summer and fall were spent narrowing this prodigious group. We began individual interviews by telephone and Skype in December and have made a number of trips to worship with and meet with prospects in person. At least three candidates have worshipped with our congregation in the past few weeks, so know that your continued attendance and welcoming presence are very important!
During this transition, one thing that remains constant is the faithful work of this congregation. You are amazing, resilient, and impressive, a fact that our candidates repeatedly affirm.
We are convinced that we are progressing in our discernment of God’s plan for our church. Our meetings start and finish with prayer for guidance from the Holy Spirit to help us discover the pastor that we believe God has already chosen for us. As Christians, we place our faith in God. As members of our church, we ask for your continued prayers as we trust in this process and each other to heed God’s call for FPC Dallas. We look forward to sharing our progress with you more frequently.
After receiving numerous referrals, listening to hundreds of sermons and reflecting on over 100 Personal Information Forms (PIFs), we are narrowing the field by meeting and talking with select candidates. As we enter this next phase of discernment, we ask for your steadfast prayers of openness and mindfulness so that we may hear who God is calling to lead FPC Dallas.
As our congregation enters this busy Christmas season, we thought you might like to review our expected “year-end” numbersJ
102 Individuals considered to date
38 PNC meetings
1 God’s Call for our New Pastor, TBD
We are still receiving new referrals, listening to dozens of sermons and reflecting on Personal Information Forms (PIFs). We encourage you to utilize the form on the website to offer your own referrals, feedback, or questions/thoughts on the process. Please keep the members of the PNC and their work in your prayers.
As the summer has ended and a new school year is in full gear, the PNC is excited to update you on our progress.
95 Individuals considered to date
26 PNC meetings since April 6
10 Congregational listening sessions held
1 God’s Call for our new Pastor, to be determined
We are still receiving new referrals, listening to dozens of sermons and reflecting on Personal Information Forms (PIFs). We encourage you to utilize the form on the website to offer your own referrals, feedback, or questions/thoughts on the process.
Please keep the members of the PNC and their work in your prayers.
With a heart for FPC,
7/11/17 Update: Our MIF has been approved by the PCUSA and can be viewed here. We are receiving PIFs from interested candidates and are currently working to define our approach to considering and evaluating candidates. The PNC will be having group listening sessions on the dates below for church members to ask questions and share feedback with members of the PNC. We have already held listening sessions with several Sunday school classes. All are welcome and encouraged to attend any of the remaining sessions. If you prefer written communication with the PNC, you may submit a form here as well. As always, please send any questions, referrals or recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
6/30/17 Update: Our MIF has been approved by the PCUSA! It can be viewed here. We are receiving PIFs and are currently working to define our approach to considering and evaluating candidates. Keep an eye on the church calendar as we will be organizing group listening sessions for individuals to answer questions and share feedback with the PNC. If you prefer, there is a form you may fill out here as well. As always, please send any questions, referrals or recommendations to email@example.com.
6/23/17 Update: Our MIF has been approved by the Session and the Presbytery! We will start receiving PIFs soon and are currently working to define our approach to considering and evaluating candidates. Keep an eye on the church calendar as we will be organizing group listening sessions for individuals to answer questions and share feedback with the PNC. As always, please send any questions, referrals or recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5/27/17 Update: We have been gathering information, discerning the FPC vision/mission and the characteristics important in our next senior pastor, and discussing how that information should take shape within our MIF. Our goal is to submit the MIF for Session and Presbytery approval on June 6.