On the weekend of April 16 & 17, we announced that we have begun the process of Gary's succession. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the process.
Why are we doing this?
We want to honor God and His bride (the Church), by thoughtfully and prayerfully approaching the succession of The Creek’s Senior Minister. Being Faithful Stewards is a core value that reminds us to approach succession planning intentionally and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
1 Corinthians 4:2
When will the succession process begin for Gary’s role (Senior Minister)?
Gary took a sabbatical in 2013 to pray, study, and write with succession in mind. He wrote a book titled Leader><Shift (Amazon) that emphasized the need for open dialogue among church leadership when it comes to succession plans, specifically for the senior minister. Since then, The Creek leadership continues to regularly discuss the topic. Although there is no specific timing for a transition, the Holy Spirit has prompted leadership to initiate the succession planning.
Who is leading the succession?
Gary initiated the process with the Elders a couple of years ago. The first step was to create a Leadership Continuity Team (LCT). The LCT includes members of the Executive Staff and all Elders. The team was assembled by the Elders to leverage the special skills, abilities, and experience of our leadership. Gary is part of the LCT and, as such, an integral part of the process.
How will the transition occur?
We are searching for a Teaching Minister at The Creek. The plan is for this person to eventually assume the role of Senior Minister/Lead Servant at The Creek. The transition process will involve our Teaching Minister taking on ever-increasing leadership duties (preaching, leading teams, etc) under Gary Johnson’s mentorship. Prayerful evaluation and feedback will continue throughout this time. There are no defined dates for this period. But in the end, the candidate will be put forward by the LCT and affirmed by the congregation as Senior Minister/Lead Servant.
When will we hire the Teaching Minister?
Hiring a Teaching Minister is a product of a process: search, evaluation, selection, mentorship, and affirmation. We are initiating the search process in 2016, but beyond that the process is flexible.
Do we have someone in mind?
No. The LCT has outlined the ministry description and the attributes of the Teaching Minister. There is no candidate who is formally or informally considered “the” candidate for the position, even months into the beginning of this process. The search is open to anyone qualified for the position and who feels compelled to apply.
What is Gary’s plan after The Creek?
Gary hasn’t spoken in detail regarding his plans. However, his general desire at this time is to remain in the community as a member of The Creek — perhaps teaching, but taking a much lesser role in leadership. One reason a person remains in the senior leadership position of an organization too long is their lack of identity beyond that role. This is not the case with Gary. He continues to expand his network and influence among churches throughout the United States. We trust the Holy Spirit to shape him in this season of life after being Senior Minister at The Creek for over twenty-five years.
Will this change The Creek?
Yes and No. We will hire a candidate who, with a firm reliance on the Holy Spirit, seeks God’s direction and purpose for The Creek. Our core leadership (the elders) will remain in place after this transition. A change in the senior minister will naturally bring about some change, but as the Church of Christ, our commission remains to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”