With the announcement of Jill Jenkins’ retirement as JCBC Children’s Pastor, plans are underway now to honor her 20 years of faithful service, as well as prepare for the healthiest of ministry transitions.
In most churches, a transition plan to replace a minister would not be activated until after that minister had already resigned or retired. But we, of course, are not most churches; and Jill Jenkins is not most ministers.
For two decades, God has used Ms. Jill to pour God’s own light, life, and love into the hearts of children and their families at Johns Creek Baptist Church. While it may seem premature to begin talk of transition and search, nothing could be more necessary in seeking to truly honor the legacy of excellence in ministry that has been nurtured here these many years.
To that end, here are 5 ways JCBC is preparing now for healthy endings and new beginnings…
1. Observance of “Ms. Jill Day”
Sunday, May 17, 2015 will be observed as “Ms. Jill Day” at Johns Creek Baptist. On this, her last official Sunday as Children’s Pastor, we will celebrate Jill’s 20 years of ministry and retirement in worship and with a church-wide reception in her honor. In addition to these recognitions, JCBC members will be invited to take part in a unified financial love gift to Jill, as an expression of thanks for her ministry among us. Information about how to participate in this special gift will be shared with the church in the coming weeks.
2. Musing with Ms. Jill: Reflections of a Retiring Children’s Pastor
Beginning after Easter, Jill has agreed to write a series of blog entries in her final weeks of service, focused on her insights, observations and hopes for the future of Children’s Ministry. These blogs will be posted each Monday morning, beginning April 6th and will serve as a beautiful expression of blessing and benediction.
3. Gathering Valuable Feedback from Parents and Volunteers
One of the preparations already underway is the gathering of feedback from parents of children, as well as volunteer workers in our Children’s Ministry. So far, we have hosted one open forum for all parents and volunteer workers, on February 22nd. We have also continued to gather input from a Children’s Ministry Survey that went out through Survey Monkey. If you have not had the opportunity to complete that survey, you still can by following this link.
The information gathered will be a valuable resource in analyzing the health of our ministry as well as informing the profile of the person who will be called to lead the ministry to its new and next level of excellence.
4. Formation of a Children’s Ministry Focus Group
To assist with the transition, a Children’s Ministry Focus Group has been assembled. This group has two main objectives. First, they will work together to ensure all of the major events an ministry programs for children continue to operate through the transition. Secondly, they will collaborate with the Senior Pastor and Formations Pastor, in helping to discern the call of our next Children’s Pastor. The first meeting of the Children’s Ministry Focus Group will be this evening, March 11th at 7:30 p.m. Members include: Molly Fike, Greg Kennedy, Molly McNeese, Sarah Roberts, Chriss Kolls, Karley Brown, Melissa Floyd, Shannon Gibree, David Keel, and Tom Jack.
5. The Search
When searching for a member of the Pastoral Staff, JCBC by-laws call for the Senior Pastor and Executive Pastor to lead the process, in dialogue with a focus group for that particular ministry area. In our new staff design, there is no Executive Pastor per se, but rather, lead Pastors of our various ministry divisions (Connections, Formations, Mobilization, Worship). As Formations Pastor (and supervisor of the ministries in the Formation Division) Dr. Michael McCullar will work in partnership with me in our search for JCBC’s next Children’s Pastor. We are now receiving and reviewing resumes from within the CBF community and beyond. We ask for your prayers as we search for the person God is preparing to bring our way.
Johns Creek Baptist Church