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
Who was hired?
Dan Hamel joined our Creek family after serving 9 years as the Teaching Pastor at Southland Christian Church in Lexington. He and his wife, Keren, were introduced in March 2017 and formally joined the staff in May.
When will the succession occur?
Our approach to succession is a process rather than an event. Succession is a product of a process: search, evaluation, selection, mentorship, and affirmation. We are in the mentorship and affirmation part of that process. On April 28, 2019, the baton of Senior Minister will be handed to Dan. We are continuing to follow the Spirit and seek wisdom from God regarding the details.
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.
When did 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 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 has regularly discussed the topic. On the weekend of April 16 & 17, 2016, we announced we had begun the process of Gary's succession.
How will the transition occur?
The Teaching Minister role was created as an interim position to eventually assume the role of Senior Minister/Lead Servant at The Creek. The transition process involves our Teaching Minister taking on ever-increasing leadership duties (preaching, leading teams, etc) under Gary's mentorship. Prayerful evaluation and feedback will continue throughout this time.
What is Gary’s plan after The Creek?
With more than thirty-five years as a pastor, God has enabled him to develop a number of interests in ministry and expand his network and influence among churches throughout the United States. For example, Gary co-founded E2: Effective Elders (e2elders.org), which is a non-profit ministry devoted to the equipping of Elders across the country and around the world. When Gary's role as Senior Minister is complete in April of 2019, he will become the Executive Director of E2. He and Leah sense the Spirit’s leading in this regard and plan to remain committed members of The Creek while continuing to live in Franklin Township.
Will this change The Creek?
Yes and No. A change in the senior minister will naturally bring about 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.” Our core leadership (the elders) will remain in place throughout this transition. We will continue to pursue a Transforming Community that engages the lost, make disciples and shows compassion according to our core values.
What criteria was used to make the hire?
The LCT identified more than 20 key attributes across five categories: wisdom/spiritual maturity, personal life, leadership, communication, and alignment to The Creek’s vision mission and Core values.
How was the decision made?
Our search process was intentionally relational in pursuit of knowing our candidates. There were times when we wrestled with a decision, discussed experiences, and waited patiently for God to help us. Ultimately, on a cold January night all ten members of the LCT were unified in the selection of a Teaching Minister. Our elders pursue the unanimity of Spirit in making decisions and this was no exception.