Welcome Dr. John Ewart
Dear Creek Family,
The Elder Body is excited to announce to you that after much prayer and discussion, we have unanimously decided to ask Dr. John Ewart to serve our church over the next several months as a transition advisor as well as serve as interim pastor starting early next year.
Dr. Ewart is known to many at the Creek, as he was a part of our church family several years ago and has preached on a number of occasions. He is a genuine man of God, with a passion for the Gospel’s spread around the world and a heart to serve local churches. He will bring that heart and passion, as well as decades of experience as a pastor, denominational leader and church transition advisor, to the Creek for this critical time. Dr. Ewart’s full-time job is as Professor of Missions and Pastoral Leadership and Associate Vice President for Global Theological Initiatives and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In this role he travels around the world, developing bachelor and masters level training programs on behalf of the seminary and training church leaders in many areas of missions and ministry.
There are several factors that led us to this decision. The first and most obvious is Dr. Ewart's passion for the Gospel and his experience in helping churches to live out their mission in everyday life. Assisting churches in times of transition is something Dr. Ewart has done as a pastor and outside advisor, and he is more than qualified to help us. A second factor is his emphasis on prayer as a driving factor in our transition process. As you will soon see, Dr. Ewart places an enormous emphasis on the power of prayer to transform a church and its people. Third, Dr. Ewart is a capable expositor and teacher of the Word of God, and his pulpit ministry will also strengthen us in this process.
It is also worth noting that a few members of the Elder Body met recently with Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, who graciously gave them a few minutes of his time for some encouragement, wisdom and advice for our church as we begin this transition process. Dr. Akin wholeheartedly recommended Dr. Ewart for this position, and we are very glad that Dr. Ewart is willing and available to serve with us in this way.
In his role as a transition advisor -- or consultant, if you prefer -- Dr. Ewart will guide the church through a process of assessment and evaluation of our church's mission and structure, as well as advising on the implementation of any improvements that are identified through that process. His service in that role will begin immediately as he works with Creek leaders and staff to gather data and begin the assessment process.
His role as interim pastor will begin in earnest in January, with exact dates to be worked out. In that role Dr. Ewart will serve as the primary preacher on Sunday mornings, as well as help lead our Monday morning staff meetings. Our Sunday night church and Wednesday discipleship opportunities will continue to be led by our Creek pastors, elders and teachers during that time.
Here are a couple of key dates to keep in mind:
December 8 - On this Sunday morning Dr. Ewart will take the opportunity, during all of our worship services, to present a brief overview of the transition process and how the entire church can be involved in it.
December 11 - We will have a churchwide prayer gathering to pray specifically for our church in this time of transition. This will be first of many specific prayer gatherings and emphases for this purpose.
In closing, let me say that the Elder Body would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the whole church body at Richland Creek for your trust, patience and confidence during this time. Serving you is a joy and also a privilege that none of us take lightly.
At the end of this post I have included a few FAQs in regard to what Dr. Ewart will, and won't, do in his role as advisor and interim pastor. Hopefully this will answer some questions you may have.
For Christ's glory,
Pastor Jason (on behalf of the Elder Body)
As our transition advisor, or consultant, will Dr. Ewart be making decisions like changing our staff structure, constitution, etc.?
No. Dr. Ewart will do just what is described: He will consult and advise us in this transition. He will certainly bring observations, and perhaps even make recommendations if necessary based on his experience and insight. But any decisions on changes in staffing, leadership structure, or the constitution would be up to our ministry leaders, Elder Body, or ultimately the congregation, depending on the decision and level of input required.
Is it wise to have Dr. Ewart serve as both transition advisor and interim pastor?
After prayer and consideration we believe this is the best move for our church. Not only is Dr. Ewart eminently qualified for both roles, he will bring experience that will make the transition process more rich and fulfilling for our church. His experience as an advisor will inform his work as a preacher, and vice versa.
As interim pastor, how will Dr. Ewart be involved in leading our staff and other pastors?
As part of Dr. Ewart's interim pastor duties he will help lead our staff meetings on Monday morning, but as a rule the daily ins and outs of ministry at the Creek will continue to be led by our current pastors, ministry leaders and staff. Dr. Ewart will not hire or fire anyone, and he will not have some unilateral authority to change the structures and processes of the church (see the first question above).
Will Dr. Ewart be choosing our next pastor?
No. As we said in the family meeting, the selection of pastors is a matter of congregational authority. Dr. Ewart will offer wisdom and advice to the eventual formation of a Pastor Search Team, but the details of such a process and any approval will be up to Richland Creek -- her elders, pastors and church body.