Dear TCC Congregation,
The Search Committee is very pleased to announce the conclusion of our search process. After a very thorough, careful and prayerful search, we have reached a strong and clear consensus about who God is leading us to select as our next Senior Pastor. We want to give you as much information as we can about the search we conducted, the types of candidates that we reviewed and interviewed, as well as the qualifications that led us to select the candidate we have selected.
The Board appointed the Search Committee in early 2016, and we spent the early stages of the process getting to know each other, seeking input from the congregation about priorities for the search and vision for the future of TCC, and determining whether to employ the services of a search consultant. We extensively interviewed four different church-focused search consulting firms, and ultimately hired Agora Consulting to help us with the search. We chose Agora because they offered a particularly strong commitment and formal process for fully getting to know and vetting potential candidates for fit with our church, as well as extensive networking abilities to uncover strong candidates.
In order to determine the key qualifications of our next Senior Pastor and be open to discerning God’s will, we reviewed previous congregational input, surveyed the congregation for written input, and received ongoing input from a wide range of members of our TCC community throughout the search process. We have felt heartened by the desire of the congregation to provide meaningful input, and we have taken that input seriously. Throughout the search, we have heard from many different perspectives, often with differing desires, but we have also been able to see consistent themes, priorities and visions of what TCC needs in our next Senior Pastor. We are very appreciative of all of the input and the prayers that so many of you consistently offered, and we want you to know that your role in this search process was critical in helping us to discern God’s will.
Within this framework of ongoing congregational input and with the help of our consultants, we compiled in June 2016 a written profile of the job and what we were looking for in a Senior Pastor. Our consultants began using their extensive network of contacts and expanding that network on our behalf, making calls every day and talking with potential candidates and others who might know of potential candidates. We were in regular contact with our consultant throughout this networking and they contributed countless hours and many thoughtful conversations and questions to help us seek out a thorough list of possible candidates to consider. They were deeply committed to our search, became personally and prayerfully invested in our process, and were invaluable in making sure that we left no stone unturned.
The consultants then supplied our committee with a first list of potential candidates in August 2016. Our committee reviewed initial questionnaires, resumes and sermon recordings from all of these candidates. Agora continued their networking at the same time, and continued to provide us with additional interested candidates throughout much of the fall. Over the course of the search, Agora had conversations with over 50 different potential candidates. These candidates covered a very wide range of age, background, geographic location, and experience. There were candidates from all over the US and even outside of the US, with experience ranging from very small to very large mega churches and different sizes in between, with varied educational and denominational backgrounds, of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and with varying connections to New England.
Based on those conversations, our committee then reviewed resumes, multiple sermon recordings and other information for 17 candidates. Our committee met extensively both with and without our consultants, to pray and discuss the candidates and come to consensus on whether to move forward with each candidate. The candidates demonstrated an array of different strengths-some showed great ability to walk alongside individuals and shepherd their congregation at an individual level, some showed particular calling to pastoral care and visitation; others offered strong experience leading and managing a staff to implement a unified vision for a church; others were particularly gifted at preaching the Word. Throughout our selection process, we were cognizant of the fact that no candidate could do everything perfectly, so we were continually weighing the particular balance of strengths and relative weaknesses of the candidates for the best fit with what TCC needs at this point and in the future.
We continued to consider and narrow down our list, with ongoing input from our consultant, as they continued also to seek out additional candidates. By late fall, Agora began their additional vetting process of personally spending a weekend with the remaining candidates and their families, visiting with them in their homes as well as in their current churches. Following Agora’s reports to us on those weekend visits, we invited final candidates to come to Wayland, spend the weekend with the search committee and visit TCC. We had both formal and informal time with the candidates over these weekends, including meals together, formal interviews, and an opportunity for the candidates to explore Wayland and attend a service at TCC.
At the conclusion of these visits, our committee met to determine if we felt that it was God’s will for us to call one of these candidates. We reviewed each candidate separately and as we discussed our individual views, we came to an increasingly clear consensus; we determined that the best qualified of these candidates, and the one whom God was leading us to call was our current interim pastor, Tom Petter. After reporting our conclusion to the Board, and receiving their wholehearted support, we offered Tom the position during his trip to the Holy Land a few weeks ago.
We want to emphasize that throughout our process, both Tom and our committee were very intentional about putting Tom’s role as Interim Pastor first. We did not consider Tom as a candidate until well into our evaluation of other candidates, and when he became a formal candidate, we employed the same process and considerations to him as we did to other final candidates. Tom also held the possibility of a future role here very loosely. Neither we nor Tom nor our consultants assumed at any point that Tom would be our next pastor; we want to emphasize that Tom is our choice because we concluded that he is God’s choice for TCC, not because he was already at TCC or because he was the default choice. In addition, almost simultaneously with our offer, Tom was offered a significant new role at Gordon Conwell seminary. We are very pleased to announce that, after prayerful consideration with Donna and Marcus, Tom accepted, subject to our congregational vote, the call to be our next Senior Pastor. We feel that our choice of Tom above other strong candidates, and his choice of TCC above other strong job offers, create additional affirmation of God’s will in this process. We strongly believe that the full search process that we employed with the help of our consultants gave us the time and the information that we needed to jointly discern God’s will.
The Search Committee and the Board are deeply excited to have Tom lead our church family into the next phase of TCC’s future, and we see great things in that future. Many of you know already that Tom brings with him an incredible academic background and depth of biblical knowledge. He also brings extensive contacts and relationships with Gordon-Conwell seminary, which will broaden and strengthen the opportunities for our congregation to expand our faith and reach. During our evaluation process, one of Tom’s recommender’s said that if Tom became the leader of our church, TCC “would be the most . . . biblically astute church in the whole of New England.” Another recommender said that Tom and Donna “know the Lord and want to make Him known. They are humble servants of the Lord.” Tom and Donna both have a deep and immeasurable love for TCC already-their enthusiasm and commitment to our congregation is heartfelt and contagious. Tom, Donna and Marcus are planning to move to this area so they can be part of the local community and fully embrace their new roles here.
Tom has taken his interim role very seriously and has been working hard to build strong relationships and to help the church continue to move forward in our mission to be and to make disciples of Christ. He has a clear view of what TCC can accomplish-a vision that has come together as he has immersed himself in the church while Interim Pastor. Tom’s role as Senior Pastor will initiate a new phase in his leadership and vision for the church. With the support of the congregation and the Board, Tom is enthusiastically committed to leading our staff and congregation in bringing that vision into reality. The Search Committee wants to give you our unqualified and wholehearted endorsement of Tom, and recommendation that you vote to accept him as our next Senior Pastor. We see great things in Tom and for the future of TCC under Tom’s leadership, and we believe that Tom is God’s answer to our prayers for a next Senior Pastor at TCC.
The Senior Pastor Search Committee
Jack Ohman, Chair; Keith Barber; Jo-Anne Bleuer; Bev Brown; Nickaela Keyes; Ian Lane; Amy Scott; Alric Wiggill; Allan Baldwin, Advisor.
Three Question and Answer sessions are scheduled before the March 5th Special Meeting called to vote on the candidate:
- Feb 19 at 10:40A in RM 214 with members of the Search Committee, Board and Tom Petter.
- Feb 26 at 10:40A in RM 214 with members of the Search Committee and Board.
- March 2 at 7P in RM 214 with members of the Search Committee, Board and Tom Petter.