Austin Oaks Church Austin, Texas Senior Pastor Opportunity Profile January 2017

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1 Austin Oaks Church Austin, Texas Senior Pastor Opportunity Profile January 2017 Austin Oaks Church ( in Austin, Texas is prayerfully seeking its next Senior Pastor. After 26 years of faithful service, Senior Pastor Rob Harrell has stepped down as Senior Pastor in order to heed God s calling to serve as a pastor to pastors regionally and globally. Austin Oaks Church now represents an incredible opportunity for a new Senior Pastor. By God's grace the church is well positioned and well prepared for a healthy transition of leadership. The new Senior Pastor of Austin Oaks Church will be given the opportunity to build on a solid foundation and to energetically inspire a fresh, vibrant vision for the future of this historic and loving church. Overview Austin Oaks Church is a truly multi-generational EFCA congregation ( with nearly 100 years of influence in the Austin community. Originally founded as the Swedish Evangelical Free Church, over the years this congregation has changed its name and location several times in order to remain effective and relevant. In 1990 the struggling, aging congregation at First Evangelical Free Church of Austin called young Rob Harrell as its Senior Pastor. In the decade that followed the church experienced spiritual and numeric growth, eventually drawing approximately 2500 people through its doors each weekend, including many college and young adult students from the nearby University of Texas at Austin. In response to the growth, in 2002 the church relocated to its current $20 million dollar campus in Southwest Austin. In 2014, church members voted to rename the church in order to remove any potential stumbling block that might be associated with the term evangelical. Thus, Austin Oaks Church was born. The general timing of the relocation coincided with the launch of several new churches in the region and many young adults and students soon departed Austin Oaks for one of these new ministries. 1

2 Despite the beautiful facility and strategic location, attendance has continued to slowly decrease and the church currently welcomes about 900 people to weekend worship services. Austin Oaks offers three distinctive worship styles during weekend services: a traditional worship service is offered at 9:15 am in the Sanctuary, Contemporary worship is offered at 9:15 am in the Community Hall and at 11 am in the Sanctuary, and Nueva Vida, a Spanish language service is offered at 11am in the Upper Room. Austin Oaks is passionate about creating a diverse environment where people of all ages and backgrounds can encounter God. Scripture is held in high regard and the people are accustomed to hearing messages that are rooted in the Bible and applicable to everyday life. An Elder Board of eight men, with the Senior Pastor serving as a voting member, congregationally governs Austin Oaks. The staff team consists of about forty talented and committed individuals. Former Senior Pastor s New Role Pastor Harrell has stepped down from the senior pastorship of Austin Oaks effective 12/31/2016 and has resigned from staff effective 8/31/2017. He has founded a new 501 (c)(3) organization not affiliated with Austin Oaks to serve as a pastor-to-pastors locally and globally. Pastor Harrell retains the honorary titles of Pastor Emeritus and Global Ambassador awarded to him by the congregation. Pastor Harrell and his wife Kathy will continue to remain as congregants of Austin Oaks after a year period of absence designed to allow the new Senior Pastor to become established in his leadership. His support for a successful transition is unreserved and this period of absence will allow the new leader to have every opportunity to become fully established in leadership without any awkwardness or direct comparisons. Pastor Harrell and his wife will return to the congregation at the express invitation of the new pastor. Pastor Harrell will also be available as a resource to the new leader and willing to providing whatever insight or support is most helpful. The Opportunity Austin Oaks Church represents an amazing opportunity for an inspirational, visionary pastor-leader who desires to build on the solid foundation that has been laid by those who have come before him, and to engage with a congregation that is eager to revitalize. The church is ready to welcome a new Senior Pastor who will work with the current leadership and staff to develop a clear vision and focused, strategic plan that inspires, motivates, reinvigorates and aligns the people and ministries as a whole. The people are hungry to understand the details of the plan and then to be empowered, challenged and supported as they meaningfully engage in it. They want to re-establish momentum that delivers Austin Oaks to the next level, and to continue its mission to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ who are transformed and empowered by His Spirit to love to transform their world. Austin Oaks has experienced an attrition of people over the last 15 years. In a community where 2

3 relational connections are paramount, the loss of members and significant valued relationships is sapping some of the energy and vitality, especially from those who have been a part of Austin Oaks over a long period of time. The incoming pastor will have the opportunity to explore and understand current realities, and to catalyze and encourage the right steps forward. On the other hand, the church is also seeing new people come who have not experienced the attrition and are excited to be a part of this great wonderful congregation. Overall, there is hopefulness and faith that God has a purpose for Austin Oaks Church and by His grace the future will be bright. As a regional congregation, attenders are drawn to Austin Oaks from all over the greater Austin area. Strategically located in the southwest part of the city, the campus is beautiful, spacious and holds many options for ministry. The next Senior Pastor for Austin Oaks will have the opportunity to consider how this incredible facility might be leveraged more effectively for Kingdom purposes. For example, there are a number of apartment buildings and homes immediately surrounding the church that are filled with single parents, young families and multi-national people. Yet Austin Oaks has yet to establish a clear strategy to effectively meet their neighbors and create intentional invitational pathways to welcome them into the church buildings and community. Austin Oaks is blessed with many committed congregants who are biblically literate, spiritually mature, and knowledgeable. The incoming Senior Pastor will have an opportunity to get to know these good people and then to inspire and motivate them to turn their view outward. Global and local missions are a high value here but many feel the church is missing opportunities to integrate and act on opportunities both in the city and abroad. The next Senior Pastor will be called on to lovingly challenge all the people to translate their maturity and knowledge into actions that reflect the life of Jesus to the community. And, as a truly multi-generational congregation, its next Senior Pastor will also be called upon to consider the right initiatives to better connect and bridge the generations represented in the church. The experience of church family is wonderful for those who have been blessed by their connection to the church over the years, but newcomers can find Austin Oaks somewhat difficult to break into. Many younger or newer people struggle to find their way into meaningful relationships. The new Senior Pastor will have an opportunity to set the tone for hospitality and to work with the team to ensure that intentional pathways for connection at every level are created and communicated. Discipleship and disciple making are both high values for Austin Oaks, although some have suggested the church may suffer from an abundance of good options. For example, adults can choose to attend a sermon-based small group, a Bible study or a Sunday morning ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship). Additional choices are available through men and women s ministries. Over the years new initiatives have been added without prioritizing how each program element fits into the bigger picture. The incoming Senior Pastor will face the challenge and opportunity of helping bring focus to a ministry that has evolved into the complexity of offering many good things. He will be called on to honor and respect the past without becoming mired in preserving or maintaining it. Ideally this leader will lovingly guide the process of simplification so that the church experiences strategic alignment, the team has crystal clear direction, and Austin Oaks is positioned to say no to the things that matter least and yes to the things that matter most. Austin Oaks desires a Senior Pastor who is fully invested and present in the church in order to foster an improved culture of transparency, accountability, and follow through, especially with regard to staff. The incoming Senior Pastor will inherit a wonderful team, and will have the opportunity to deepen the bench strength of the staff through modeling, intentionally coaching and developing other staff leaders. The team will benefit from a leader who will help them to develop the right set of priorities and set an expectation of accountability for follow through. As this work takes shape the Senior Pastor, along with the Executive Director, will be called on to ensure ongoing staff alignment through advanced planning, goal setting, regular evaluation, and course corrections when needed. 3

4 As the church has developed and matured, there is some indication that a comfortable pattern of hiring it done may have taken hold. There is an opportunity for the incoming Senior Pastor to renew the ideal of the priesthood of all believers, and to inspire the people to invest in the church they love. He will also be challenged to guide the team to more effectively mobilize volunteers, engaging and empowering the people to use their gifts and talents in service to the Lord. Ideally, this new leader will work with the leadership team to dream, innovate and reimagine how people are prepared, engaged and supported in ministry at Austin Oaks. While the transition of a long-term pastor is never easy, Austin Oaks Church looks forward with faith and a spirit of anticipation. It looks forward to welcoming a strong visionary leader who helps carry forward the mission of Austin Oaks Church. It looks forward to being challenged to deepen, stretch, and grow in faith, love and action. And it looks forward to a revitalized church experience and renewed commitment to reaching the community of Austin and beyond in meaningful, relevant ways for Jesus Christ. The Candidate Not every pastor is called to build on the foundation of ministry that has been laid by another. The right pastor for Austin Oaks will embrace this opportunity, being self-secure and confident in the unique gifts and talents God has given him. He will bring a passionate love for God s Word, a fearlessness in regard to the Gospel, and a bold humility that winsomely leads the church forward. As one who loves people, the next pastor will energetically join with this staff and congregation to cultivate and cast a fresh, compelling vision for the next chapter in the Austin Oaks story. This pastor will work with staff and Elders around the table so that the right plans are developed, communicated and effectively implemented throughout the ministries of the church in a way that creates unity, clarity, focus, and momentum. Relationships are key at Austin Oaks, so the right candidate will be a warm, relational and caring individual who wants to invest in people s lives here, to build relationships, and to develop roots in this faith community. With a preference for an expository approach to preaching, the ideal candidate for Austin Oaks will be genuine and authentic, communicating God s truth in a clear, practical way that connects with people of different backgrounds and varying degrees of biblical knowledge and experience. The next called pastor is a compelling communicator who is passionate to see people discover the redemptive power of Christ, and to take next steps in their faith journey. He will model a spiritually reproductive faith, be transparent about his own struggles, and will speak candidly from life experience. Doctrinally sound and winsome, he will readily turn to Scripture as the source of truth as he gracefully engages tough questions and circumstances that arise from current events or cultural realities. The right leader will exhibit a contagious energy that celebrates and builds on the strong foundation in the church, maximizing potential and encouraging participation. As a fresh vision is formed and plans take shape, this leader will release the talents of the team, delegating to leverage strengths to optimize the whole. This leader will easily share credit, commend the success of others, and help to build confidence that drives momentum. People will find this individual to be captivating, accessible and easy to relate with in a variety of social, community and civic settings. Austin Oaks will thrive with a pastor who leads from the center of the table rather than the end, and who naturally enjoys drawing others together to worship, pray, listen, discuss and encourage one another. Emotionally mature and empathetic, the right pastor for Austin Oaks is someone others view as kind, open and a good listener. The ideal candidate is a servant-hearted leader who is unafraid of change or challenge, but who seeks to understand the context and culture before implementing changes or decisions so that ideas are implemented at a pace that unifies and allows people to come along in the process. 4

5 The selected candidate for Austin Oaks Church will be a person of integrity who displays godly character that is consistent in the pulpit, in the office, with family, or in the community. Whether preaching or connecting with people after services, there will be a natural charisma and relational warmth in this individual. Most importantly, the next Senior Pastor will be one who through the power of the Holy Spirit faithfully leads people to Jesus, giving glory to God for all the good that comes through the ministry and mission of Austin Oaks Church. Where Might We Find This Individual Today? A Senior Pastor currently serving in a large church (500 or more) and feeling called to a new opportunity A Campus Pastor with significant preaching experience who understands and has experience in the dynamics of a larger church context An Associate or Teaching Pastor with significant leadership and preaching experience in a larger church (1000 or more) setting Preferred Candidate Qualifications Significant experience in quality preaching/teaching/communicating in a larger church context, with a preference for expository preaching as the predominant style. A Master of Divinity or theological graduate degree. A minimum of 10 years ministry experience with multiple years of senior leadership experience. This could take the form of a Senior Pastor, a Campus Pastor, or an Associate Pastor on a large staff with significant strategic senior leadership experience. Fully aligned with the EFCA statement of faith (found under What We Believe at and either ordained in the EFCA or willing to pursue ordination. A proven relational team leader. Experience in a multi-staff setting including leadership of paid staff and unpaid volunteers. Inquiry Process If after reading this description you have interest in the Senior Pastor position at Austin Oaks Church and you feel you meet the qualifications for the role, you are invited to submit the following information for consideration: 1) Your resume or CV (in Word format only) 2) A current headshot photo 3) A brief family bio (in Word format only) and family photo(s) 4) Electronic links to at least 3 video or audio sermon messages (video preferred) 5) Five references (one supervisor or board leader, two staff associates, one personal, plus one of your choosing). These references will be contacted later in the process and only with your prior approval. 5

6 6) Written responses to the following questions (prepared and attached in a Word document). We believe that one can learn only so much from a resume. Your responses will help us to gain a more complete picture of you and your leadership. Please attach written answers to the following questions (in a Word document). 1. Describe your faith in Jesus Christ. Tell us how you came to personal faith and something about your journey into ministry. How do you spiritually stay refreshed in the midst of ministry demands? 2. What is it about the opportunity at Austin Oaks Church that attracts you to this position? 3. What are two or three of your core strengths? Please share two or three examples of situations where you utilized your core strengths to move forward the church or ministry you were leading. 4. Share a ministry experience that refined you through failure and a ministry experience that refined you through success. 5. What are the key factors that you believe should be present in your next church and ministry in order for you to be most effective? Please submit your information to: Nancy Moore NL Moore & Associates

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