Last night our Pastoral Search Team (PST)  began the interviewing process to find the next lead pastor of the Vineyard Church of Ithaca. Our first round of interviews we are actually conducting via Skype. All 10 members of our  PST are able to be in the room with people who are not in Ithaca, and rather than just hearing a voice, we are able to have face-to-face conversations.

When we first began this process back in August, we gave an outline of what this process would look like.  After that meeting, we took some of the feedback and made some changes, and once the PST began meeting, they decided to make a few other small changes.

Since we are pretty far along in this process, I thought it would be a good time to revisit it, just to show where we are at. As you read this, please keep in mind that as a strict list of rules we are required to follow, but rather as a map to help us get to our ultimate destination of finding a person of solid godly character to lead the Ithaca Vineyard into the next stage of it’s life!

Here it is:


  • We will assemble a Pastoral Search Team [PST] 


    1. This team will be made up of 10 individuals
      1. The 4 current members of the Church Council will serve on the PST.
      2. The other 6 members of the PST will be made up of current members of the Vineyard Church of Ithaca.
    2. We will be contacting people this week and asking if they will be able to give the time necessary to be part of this team.
    3. The PST will begin meeting the second Monday in September, and meet at least every other Monday throughout the fall.
    4. (note: let me just say again how much I’ve enjoyed working with this group of people. Although it has been a strange emotional process for me, meeting with them has been a great experience.)


  • Fast and Pray. 


    1. Every member of the PST and of the church as a whole, will be asked to devote a significant part of their time each week to pray. Individually, the PST will fast. The church as a whole will regularly call times of fasting and prayer.  (note: Although we have encouraged and asked for a lot of prayer, we have not called for a church wide fast yet.  We will after Thanksgiving.)


  • We will immediately begin a nation-wide search for a qualified candidate. 
  • Starting the last Sunday of October
    1. On the last Sunday of each month, we will have a meeting where anyone in the church is welcome to come and express their thoughts and concerns, and ask questions of the PST.


  • In late – October, the PST will review all resumes that have been received and pare the list down and decide which candidates we will interview.


[please keep in mind that the timeline is tentative, and the process may take longer than anticipated]

    1. References will not be checked until after the first round of interviews
  • Each member of the PST will take a week to read resumes, listen to recorded messages of candidates, and pray. At that point the PST will pare the list down to 2 to 4 candidates.
  • In November, the PST will conduct SKYPE interviews with the candidates remaining on the list. [note: This is where we currently are in the process]

The entire PST will be in attendance for each interview, but only 2-3 people (Chekesha, Bill, & Bob) will actually interview the candidate.

  • Following the Skype interviews, the non-council members of the PST will recommend one candidate to come in for a personal interview. Four out of the six members must agree on the candidate.

  • The church council will consider the PST’s recommendation, and if 100% of the council agrees, that candidate will be invited in for a personal interview.

  • The personal interview will be conducted at the Vineyard Church of Ithaca, by the entire PST.

  • A regional leader in the Vineyard (most likely our RO, John Elmer, or APCL Rick Colquohoun) will also conduct an interview with the candidate, and make his recommendation to the PST.

  • Following the interview, the the non-council members of the PST will decide whether they wish to invite this person in for a candidate weekend.  Four out of the six members must agree on the candidate.

  • The church council will consider the PST’s recommendation, and if 100% of the council agrees, that candidate will be invited for a candidate weekend [potentially in February, once the Cornell & IC students have returned].

  • The candidate weekend:
    1. The weekend will consist of the following components:
      1. Friday night fellowship with PST and spouses.
      2. Saturday Town Hall Forum or Open House to meet the pastor.
      3. Individual group meetings with key lay leaders in various ministries.
      4. The candidate will speak at our Sunday Morning Services.
      5. After the service, the PST will reconvene to decide if they still believe this is the right person.
      6. If the answer is yes, a meeting will be held and current members of the Ithaca Vineyard will be asked to ratify the decision.
      7. The ratification will be verified by 2 members of the church council. (It will only be announced whether or not a simple majority was achieved or not. The actual percentage will not be announced.)
      8. Two members of the PST person will make the presentation of the vote and count to the pastor and spouse.