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On your marks, get set…search!

Hi, Kentucky Region! Sorry to be out of communication for so long, but we’ve been on hold while we waited for several actions to take place. At the Regional Assembly this past weekend, both the regional profile and the regional minister job description were accepted by the assembly. We are now ready to start the search process! Here is the timeline of how we propose to move forward:

  • Start publicizing position Nov. 1, receiving names through Dec. 15
  • An independent screener reviews names in January to ensure there is no bias on the search team’s part
  • Search Team reviews names in February and narrows the list down to a small number of candidates
  • Search team conducts initial interviews in March
  • Search team conduct face-to-face (if possible) interviews in April, making our recommendation to the Regional Board by April 30
  • Called Regional Assembly meeting in late May-early June to vote on candidate
  • Candidate introduced in June with a July/August start date

All of this is subject to change, but we feel this is a workable timeline that allows us to do our due diligence in finding the right person to lead our region. As always, your prayers and supported are much needed and appreciated! We’ll keep you posted on how the process is going.

Peace be with you,

Your Regional Minister Search Team

Regional Minister Search Update 3/9/21

Dear Kentucky Region friends,

Now the fun begins! Your Regional Minister Search Team met this week to review the 16 candidates who have applied to lead our Region forward. It’s an incredibly strong field of people, and we spent much time deliberating on how to move forward. In the end, we narrowed down the field and are now in the process of setting up our initial interviews, to be conducted via Zoom. These interviews will be done by the end of March, at which time our team will reconvene to further narrow the field to our final candidate(s). This is an exciting time for our region, and our search team is taking this responsibility with the utmost seriousness and humility. Your prayers are most appreciated!

Kory Wilcoxson
Search Team Chair

Regional Minister Search Update – Feb. 10

And…they’re off! Your regional minister search team is now in the process of an initial evaluation of our 16 candidates for the Kentucky Regional Minister position. It’s a very diverse group of people who each offer their own gifts and strengths. It’s also a VERY strong pool of candidates! Our screener has completed his work and was highly impressed with the caliber of candidates with whom we will be working. We’ll spend the next month on our evaluation process, which entails reviewing search and call papers and written statements from each candidate. We’ll use eight criteria to evaluate each candidate and then compare our notes to see which ones rise to the top for us. Our hope is by the second week in March we’ll have identified the candidates with whom we’d like to take the next step, which would be face-to-face (virtual) interviews. Please be in prayer for us as we continue this important work. We are excited that God has brought such amazing and competent candidates to us. The future for the Kentucky region looks very bright!

Peace,

Your Regional Minister Search Team

Regional Minister Search update – Feb. 3, 2021

Hey Kentucky friends! We pray you are doing well and staying safe and healthy. The search for our next regional minister is moving right along so we wanted to give you an update. At the moment, our screener is reviewing the 16 applications we have received (it was 17 but one person dropped out). The screener’s role is to provide an objective perspective on the candidates as a balance against any inherent bias from the search team. This is an important part of the process and we appreciate the time and attention our screener is giving us.

Our team’s next step is a virtual retreat this Saturday with John Mobley, who’s guiding us in our process. We’ll see the sixteen applications for the first time and learn how we are to start our team’s review of the candidates. We’ll spend the month of February evaluating the applicants with the goal of narrowing the field down to a smaller number. Then, in March, we’ll start the interview process.

We appreciate your continued support and prayers as we go through this important process. We trust that God will bring us the right person to lead our region into the future, and we are excited to introduce that person to you. God bless you, Kentucky!

Update on the Regional Minister search

Merry Christmas, everyone! As we approach this most holy time of year, we wanted to give you an update on the progress of a search for a regional minister. The deadline has passed for applicants to submit their letter of inquiry and we currently have 17 people who are interested in the position. That’s wonderful! It’s an impressive group of folks with many gifts and talents. It’s exciting to think that one of them will become our next regional minister.

The search team is in the process of finalizing the criteria by which we will do our initial evaluations. These criteria (e.g., pastoral presence, good communicator, willing to travel) will guide both the screener and us as we whittle down this group. In January, the screener will evaluate the candidates, and then the search team will do the same in February. Our goal is to have a small group of candidates for initial interviews during the month of March.

The screener’s purpose is an important one. His work will provide an important balance to the team as we do our initial evaluations. Basically, he will be ensuring that we are not showing any bias in our work either for or against a candidate based on demographics (race, sex, etc.) or on familiarity with the candidate. I’m so thankful the screener is built into the process.

We’ll keep you posted as we move ahead, but we’ll probably be quiet through January will the screener completes his mission. We are excited to begin conversations with our candidates as we seek our next leader for the Kentucky Region. Please pray that God continues to move through this process and guides us to the right person. We trust that the Holy Spirit is working both in our hearts and the hearts of our candidates. Thank you so much for your patience and support!

Merry Christmas

The Kentucky Regional Minister Search Team

Kentucky Regional Minister Job Description

Job Description for the Regional Minister: CCK

REVISED: 8/20/20

The Regional Minister for the Christian Church in Kentucky:

  • Is ordained in the CC(DOC) and wholeheartedly supports its Design and its established policies and procedures, including the Search and Call process.
  • Is called to the service of the wider church and the local congregation
  • Is called to pastoral counseling and consultation with both clergy and congregations
  • Is a person of authentic faith; an innovative thinker; a visionary leader; an effective communicator; and has a pastoral presence.

The Regional Minister for the Christian Church in Kentucky is responsible for:

  • Leading the Region in casting, implementing, and evaluating the Vision and Mission of the Region
  • Interpreting the mission and ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the region
  • Providing pastoral care, counseling, and leadership to clergy and local congregations
  • Traveling to congregations (or visiting remotely) within the Region for the purpose of building relationships and fostering good communication
  • Overseeing the Search and Call process with congregations
  • Serving as head of staff, supervising the work of associate regional ministers, contract staff, and administrative staff, including reviews, terms of employment, and disciplinary measures
  • Serving as a resource to the Regional Board and all of its committees, commissions, and working groups
  • Working with the established boards, committees, and any other ministries and task forces to carry out the ongoing work of the region
  • Strengthening relationships with
    • College of Regional Ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    • Kentucky Christian Missionary Convention
    • Southeast Regional Fellowship (Disciples Regions in the

  Southeast)

  • West Area of the Christian Church in Kentucky
    • Green Chalice, a Disciples Home Missions organization with roots in Kentucky
    • Disciples Appalachian Scholarship Ministry (formerly Kentucky Appalachian Ministry)
  • Participating on these boards:
    • General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the USA and Canada
    • Lexington Theological Seminary Board of Trustees
    • Kentucky Council of Churches Executive Committee

The Regional Board, with the consultation of the Personnel Committee, is responsible for supervising the Regional Minister.

Regional Profile for Kentucky

REGIONAL PROFILE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST) IN KENTUCKY

The region of Kentucky is in the process of searching for their next Regional Minister to lead them into this new chapter of their ministry and witness in the Bluegrass State. This profile is meant to give potential candidates an understanding of who we are as a region and what we are looking for in our next Regional Minister.

REGIONAL STAFF (currently)

FT Regional Minister

FT Associate Regional Minister (retiring in Aug. 2021)

PT Youth and Young Adult Ministries/Outdoor Ministries and Staff Consultant to the Committee on the Ministry

PT Editor, CCK News

PT District Minister to Districts 10 and 11

Two FT support staff

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES

Regional Office, Red Mile Road, Lexington

Camp Wakon’Da-Ho, Yosemite

Camp Kum-Ba-Ya, Benton

CONGREGATIONS

The 2019 Yearbook and Directory reports the Kentucky region has 205 congregations. Of those, 167 are considered active. The congregations break down in average attendance as follows:

1-25                 35        21%

26-50               52        31%

51-100             43        26%

101-200           25        15%

201-350           10        6%

351+                2          1%

CLERGY

There are currently 372 pastors with standing in the Kentucky region. Of those, 312 (84%) are ordained and 60 (16%) are commissioned, 252 (68%) are female and 120 (32%) are male. There are currently 126 retired inactive clergy.

REGIONAL FINANCES

Although the resources from Disciples Mission Fund and the annual Christmas Offering have not seen growth in recent years, the Kentucky Region is blessed with other resources, in addition to DMF and the Christmas Offering, through the generosity of donors who are passionate about the ministry of the Region. Thankfully, the Kentucky Region is financially stable as it provides a wide-range of ministries.

AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS

Mission Behind Bars and Beyond

Kentucky Council of Churches

Kentucky Christian Missionary Convention

Lexington Theology Seminary

Midway University

Transylvania University

Christian Church Homes of Kentucky

Cane Ridge

THE WEST AREA

The West Area Ministry has a rich tradition dating to the mid-19th century. In various expressions it has served and nurtured Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregations and ministers in the western third of Kentucky for 180 years. Currently, the West Area Ministry serves 41 congregations in 19 counties in the Christian Church in Kentucky (Districts 1, 2 and 3). While the West Area congregations are geographically scattered, all are within a two-hour drive of the West Area office staff, who work virtually from Madisonville.  

The West Area Ministry is a distinctly separate self-governing organization operating as an integral part of the whole ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Kentucky. In consultation with the CCK Regional Minister, the West Area calls its own minister, who is an Associate Regional Minister; establishes its own budget; and carries out its ministry of nurturing and supporting congregations and ministers toward faithful, effective and innovative ministries through the regional values to “Care, Connect, and Equip.”

THE KENTUCKY REGION

After serving the region for 27 years, 15 as Regional Minister, Rev. Greg Alexander retired on April 30, 2019. The region called Rev. Dean Phelps as the Interim Regional Minister, and when his contract was extended, the title was changed to Transitional Regional Minister. Under Dean’s leadership, we have not slowed down our transitional work. At a called Regional Assembly in August 2019, the region voted to restructure the makeup of the regional board, making it more streamlined and ensuring representational diversity. Those changes will take effect with the 2020 Regional Assembly.

Even in transition, the Kentucky Region has a number of important ministries that are making a difference for the body of Christ in Kentucky. Our New Church Team has done a wonderful job setting up an infrastructure for success, and opportunities abound for new church plants in our region. Our 3L Learning Groups bring together pastors for support, nurture, and accountability. Our Green Chalice Ministry continues to grow as we help care for God’s creation. Our Outdoor Ministries remain vibrant, with two camps serving the children and youth of the region. We maintain a strong and collegial relationship with the Kentucky Christian Missionary Convention, which represents our historically African-American congregations. And we are blessed with three institutions of higher education (including a seminary) with a Disciples affiliation.

As part of the search process, the Regional Minister Search Team surveyed the region to gather input on what people felt were the strengths of the region, the challenges it faces, and the qualities they want in our next Regional Minister. Here is a summary of their feedback:

The surveys named several strengths that the region possesses: strong congregations and ministers; a strong Disciples identity and deep history; the presence of Disciples-affiliated educational institutions; a hard-working regional staff; and vibrant camp program. To go along with those strengths, the surveys lifted up several hopes and dreams for the region in the next five years, including: that churches would be better connected to each other; that the camps would be brought up to date; that search and call process would receive more attention; and that there would be some sort of evangelism training for congregations.

While the Kentucky region has a lot to offer, it is not without challenges. The surveys named some of them: church aging and decline; financial realities; communication barriers; “fear” phobias that permeate our thinking. In addition, there were several priorities lifted up as urgent, which parallel some of the challenges: a focus on church membership and growth; achieving financial sustainability amidst declining finances; and keeping our camps vibrant and usable.

So what kind of person are we looking for to be our next Regional Minister? The survey responses highlighted several criteria: a person of God with authentic faith; an innovative thinker; a visionary leader; an effective communicator; someone with pastoral presence; and a person willing to travel.

The future for the Kentucky region is bright, and we look forward to finding the right person to help lead us forward. We trust in God’s grace and provision in this process and are excited to see where God is calling us in the future.

Regional Minister Search Update – February 2020

Greetings, Kentucky Region! We’re sorry you haven’t heard from us for awhile, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been working on your behalf. We’ve made some great progress on a few behind-the-scenes tasks we have to undertake before we can start the proper search for the next regional minister. Specifically, we have to create a regional profile and a job description for the position. This is harder for us to do since our last several hires have been “in-house,” meaning no profile was needed.

If you remember, we distributed a region-wide survey asking for  your feedback on our region and the position of regional minister. Thanks for your responses! They will help us generate our regional profile. Here’s a short summary of what we hard you say:

1 – What, in your opinion, are the two or three most urgent priorities for the Region that the next Regional Minister should address?

Church membership and growth; financial sustainability amidst declining finances; keeping our camps vibrant and usable

2 – What are your additional hopes and dreams for the Region for the next five years?

That churches would be better connected to each other, that the camps would be brought up to date, that search and call would receive more attention, and that there would be some sort of evangelism training for congregations.

3 – What are the strengths and special gifts of this Region that can serve as building blocks as it addresses the urgent priorities and five-year hopes and dreams that you have named?

Strong congregations and ministers; deep DoC history; educational institutions; hard-working regional staff; vibrant camp program

4 – What realities of the Region can you name that could be obstacles to the Region as it sets its sights on the urgent priorities and five-year hopes and dreams that have been named?

Church aging and decline; financial realities; communication barriers; “fear” phobias that dominate our thinking

5 – What gifts, experience, and commitments do you believe that the next Regional Minister needs to possess in order to be effective in leading the Region toward health and vitality?

Person of God with authentic faith; innovative thinker; visionary leader; effective communicator; pastoral presence; willingness to travel

6 – What additional information would you like to share with the search team as it develops the Regional Profile and has conversations with candidates?

Churches want: the best candidate possible; new thinking and courageous leadership; visits from the Regional Minister; to honor the diversity of the region.

So, what’s next? We’ll use these answers to generate a Regional Profile, which will then go the Personnel Committee. That committee will use the profile to help update the job description for the position. Once those two documents are completed, they will go to the Regional Board, which will vote whether or not to recommend them to the Regional Assembly in October.

Our goal is to have a new Regional Minister in place in time to introduce her or him at the General Assembly in Louisville in July 2021. That means the search will begin in earnest in November with the publicizing of the position and the receiving of letters of inquiry from potential candidates. We’ll keep you posted throughout the process on how things are doing. Thanks for your continued prayers and support!

Your Regional Minister Search Team

Nov. 4 Search Update

Hey Kentucky Region! Sorry to be out of touch for so long, but we’ve been busy gathering and sorting through the responses to our Regional Minister Search Survey. We received 88 responses, which gave us a lot of good data to work with. The team is in the process of summarizing the answers to the six questions so that we can begin to put together a regional profile that can be shared with potential candidates. We hope to finish that work by the end of November.

Thanks to everyone who filled out a survey and to all those who are praying for our process. We’ll post another update when we have finished our work with the survey results.

God bless,

Kory Wilcoxson

Chair, Regional Minister Search Team