May 9 Update
I have never been part of a pastoral search before and I am new to the Church of the Nazarene, where will we find candidates?
One of the benefits of being part of a denominational family like the Church of the Nazarene is a clearly defined and structured process for the selection of a new pastor. We are guided by the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene in this journey.
The Church of the Nazarene organizes churches around the world into districts. Manteno Church of the Nazarene is one of about 80 churches on the Chicago Central District. Each district is led by a district superintendent. The district superintendent develops a list and researches potential candidates based on the local church profile. All candidates should be ordained elders in the Church of the Nazarene. The board and district superintendent will review profiles of the church and potential pastoral candidates comparing the profiles with the names collected in order to refine the list of names. A short list of candidates will be created, and candidates will be prioritized.
Once specific candidates are identified, the pastoral search process moves from open congregational dialogue to a very confidential and guarded consideration of prospects by the church board and district superintendent. This is not an attempt to be secretive and hide the process from the church. Rather, we believe we have an obligation to the pastoral candidates to be responsible with the future of their ministries. Most, if not all, of our prospects will have active, current pastoral assignments, and we would not want to unduly disrupt those congregations.
Second, the church has asked the board to lead this process, and the board will need to focus on research, prayer, interviews, and decision-making without undue distractions. Please feel free to communicate new names and information to the board. But know that the board will not be releasing a list of the names submitted, nor will it disclose information on the names until we are ready to submit a name to the congregation for consideration as pastor. Please do not ask board members to inform you of the list of names being considered, nor would it be appropriate to lobby or campaign in any way for any prospect.
This step may take time. It is a crucial phase, and we want proceed deliberately. We ask the church to join the board in prayer as we gather names of prospects and do the appropriate and necessary research on them Your board is meeting in prayer each Sunday during this process to seek God’s will for the church and for Him to begin preparing the person He has in mind for your church. [Adapted from Colorado District Church of the Nazarene]
The board will seek to provide as much update as possible throughout the process.
What does it mean to be a member in the Church of the Nazarene?
As defined in the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene, a member of the local church is an individual 15 years or older that has been publicly received by the pastor having “declared their experience of salvation, and their belief in the doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene, and their willingness to submit to its government (Paragraph 107).” Members will be “faithful in attendance, ” A member may vote on decisions within the local, district, and general church. A member also has the privilege and responsibility to serve in ministry and leadership in the local church.
1) Church Membership doesn’t say, “Yippee! I have finally found the perfect church.” Manteno Church of the Nazarene isn’t perfect. We have humans making decisions and we aren’t perfect.
2) Church Membership doesn’t say, “We have everything figured out.” We clearly don’t have everything figured out. Every four years the Church of the Nazarene has a gathering where the elected delegates change our by-laws and re-work them. Some stuff gets taken out and other stuff is added. The Manual of the Church of the Nazarene is a working, changing document.
3) Church membership says, “These are my people.” We get to choose our church family. You say, in effect, these people are my people, even those we don’t always agree with. They are not perfect. Some of them didn’t vote the way I voted. No matter what we will stick together. I will support and love them and receive support and love from them. They are mine and I am theirs.
4) Here’s the bottom line on church membership. In an era when more and more people are identifying as a “none” when it comes to church affiliation, it’s refreshing for people to make this kind of commitment. It says something profound when new members stand in front of a church and say: “These people can count on me to love, serve and join with them to see God’s Kingdom as it is in Heaven.” We love when people band together and say, “We are better together and God is up to something good in this place because of it.” [Adapted from Why Nazarene Church Membership Matters by Rev. Rob Prince]
On behalf of the Church Board
April 25 Update
A message from the Board . . .
We would like to provide an update on where we are in the process of preparing for a new pastor.
What can you expect in the process the board is following to identify and call a new pastor?
In the calling of a new pastor, the Chicago Central District uses a 10-step process with churches. Currently, we have moved to step 6, but continue to review and evaluate the church as defined in step 3. Steps 4 and 5 were completed with Pastor Scott Whalen as part of an afternoon of planning session and we’ll be providing this information to the church. The board met with the district superintendent last week to evaluate our progress. We continue to affirm our mission to Love God, Journey Together, Serve Others, and Share Jesus as key to our ministry.
Step 6 is moving the church to prayer. You will see this as we have the prayer walls in the foyer, the prayer ministry restarting during the Sunday morning service, and upcoming Prayer Meetings starting the third Sunday night in May. We are asking everyone to have a specific prayer emphasis for Manteno while also preparing the heart of a pastor to feel the call to come and lead.
In the Church of the Nazarene, we have a church manual that provides guidance and policy for events such as the calling of a new pastor. You may explore this information online here: Church Manual.
- The local church board works with the District Superintendent to identify names
- The local church board will review candidates and select an individual to interview
- Following an interview, the local church board must have a minimum 2/3 majority vote in favor to nominate the candidate to the church membership
- The local church membership must then have a 2/3 majority to consider calling the candidate as the next lead pastor
- Once called the candidate has up to 15 days to respond
What can we do while the church board moves forward in the process?
1. Pray for God’s leading for the board.
2. Encourage one another and take time to renew relationships as we anticipate the future together.
2. Contact a board member with your thoughts, questions, and ideas. Our names and email addresses are available on the church website.
On behalf of the Manteno Church Board
Interim Lead Pastor
Reverend Gene Tanner is filling in as our interim lead pastor at this time. Gene was the pastor at Valparaiso Nazarene, in Valparaiso, Indiana for over twenty-five years. While leading there, the church grew from 400+ to 1500+. He continues to serve on staff at Valparaiso in an emeritus status, allowing him to travel, speak, and most importantly for us, interim. For the past fifteen months, he has been the interim pastor at Portage Real Life.
Gene has taught at PALCONS (a Pastors and Leaders Conference for Nazarene clergy) on three continents and is in demand to speak at district training events, local church retreats, and revivals. He has previously served as a trustee at Olivet. He has spoken at Chapel at Olivet and at the Leadership Roundtable at Nazarene Seminary.
Outside our denomination, he has been a guest speaker at Valparaiso University School of Law and at the School of Theology. He has taught for the past 35 years as a guest lecturer for cruise lines.
Gene is sixty-six years old and has been married to his wife Tamra for forty-one years. They have two children and four grandsons.
Q. Who is qualified to serve on the church board and what authority and responsibility does the board have?
A. The Lead Pastor is accountable to the elected, representative members of the church board. Every person in the congregation, if they are qualified (a spiritually mature, tithing, participating member of the local church), may be considered for service on the church board. The board has the elected responsibility and authority, given to them from the members of the church, to govern the congregation.
Q. Who are the church board members and when does their term of service expire?
Q. What is church attendance and what portion of that number are members of the Church of the Nazarene?
While it is difficult to know the attendance currently with some attending in person and others viewing services online, in March, when we were last together, we averaged about 340 in Sunday morning attendance. We currently have 212 people on our active membership rolls. A membership class is planned for Saturday, October 17 and we encourage any interested to plan to take part.