September 24th, 2012 at 3:10 pm
DALLAS – Texas Baptists’ new Pastor/Church Connection hasn’t even fully set up shop, but it’s already helping pastors with their needs.
Congregations looking for pastors and pastors looking for churches to serve are regularly contacting the convention’s new office, which seeks to strengthen congregations by strengthening their ministers.
“We get calls all the time from churches who need help in the interim,” said Joe Loughlin, who leads Pastor/Church Connection.
Pastor/Church Connection staff members also are calling congregations they hear are without a pastor and seeing if it can help those churches walk through their times between pastors as well help them best navigate the process of selecting a pastor.
Periods without pastors can be trying to times for congregations, Loughlin said. The presence of a pastor provides a steady guiding hand that can respond to needs and help a congregation accomplish its God-given mission.
“We want to provide resources to churches that want help,” Loughlin said.
Pastor/Church Connection already has connected the convention with Baptist University of the Americas, Logsdon Seminary and Truett Seminary in a way that has never been done before in an effort to help expand Texas Baptist churches’ potential pool of pastors even further beyond what churches typically can access.
In recent years, some congregations have struggled to find ministerial candidates they believe meet what their respective church desires in a staff member, Loughlin said.
Pastor/Church Connection is seeking to enlarge churches’ selection of candidates. Alumni from BUA, Logsdon and Truett would seem to be natural fits for Texas Baptist congregations.
“I think the impact could be huge for the BGCT because we know that most of their theological demographic is in line with who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish,” Loughlin said.
Addressing the needs of congregations seeking pastors and pastors seeking congregations is foremost on the mind of Pastor/Church Connection staff members. Research indicates that at any given time at least 500 Texas Baptist churches are seeking a pastor. The need to fill those positions is critical, Loughlin believes.
He asks churches looking for pastors to contact Pastor/Church Connection at 214-828-5294. He also would like ministers looking for positions to contact the department as well. Initially connections will be facilitated by hand, but the office hopes to soon have a robust online tool to help churches and ministers.
“One hundred percent of what we do is serving the local church,” Loughlin said. “It’s who we are. It’s what we’re about.
For more information about Pastor/Church Connection resources, visit www.texasbaptists.org/pastorchurchconnection.