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Letter to Calvary Fellowship

May 20, 1999

Dear Friends,

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6, ASV)

These are familiar words, but very appropriate, as we begin on a new adventure at Calvary Fellowship!

All of you know by now that on Sunday morning, May 16, our beloved pastor, John Starr, announced his resignation as Senior Pastor, effective June 1, 1999, to serve on the staff of Mission Houston. A letter from him to this effect has already been received by you, and we don't need to duplicate anything in that letter. Suffice it to say that his call to Mission Houston is a call to missions, and all of us, we truly believe, wish to confirm his decision as a most worthy one, in every respect.

Now we, the members of Christ's body at Calvary Fellowship, are charged, each one of us, to be faithful to the task ahead: That is, to faithfully continue what we are already doing, without letup, and to find God's man to serve as Senior Pastor. And the above scripture portion best describes God's way to carry out our task:

  1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
  2. Do not lean on your own understanding.
  3. In all your ways acknowledge Him.
  4. And He will make your paths straight.
We could make comment on each of the above, but we'll spare you that, and trust that you are well able, on your own, to apply each of the above phrases to your own life, as you seek to know the will of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has a great and wonderful plan for Calvary; He will indeed "make our paths straight"!

On Sunday morning, May 16, Pastor John announced that every Calvary member was invited to a meeting at the office that evening, for the purpose of dialoguing with Brian and the Pastor Advisory Team. About twenty of you were there. To you, the twenty, the following information will probably be redundant. But there were many of you who were not present when Pastor John made his announcement that morning. Consequently, you were not present that evening, either. We cannot reproduce everything that was said last Sunday evening, but we'll do our best to summarize.

First and foremost, this is not the time to "push the panic button". Paul's word to us from God is, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28, ASV). We believe this great truth applies corporately, to God's body at Calvary, and we must not doubt that for a moment.

Steps have been taken to ensure that the pulpit will be filled every Sunday, at least through mid-July. A schedule of those who will be preaching will be published very soon.

A Pastor Search Team will be formed. The Pastor Advisory Team (three members) and six other members of the Calvary family will constitute the Pastor Search Team, with Brian also serving as a non-voting member.

Every Calvary member will have an opportunity to nominate six people of his choice to serve on the Pastor Search Team. Criteria to be considered for nominations are as follows ("he" can be of either gender):

  1. He is to be a member of Calvary Fellowship.
  2. He is to be one who demonstrates, by his lifestyle, that he is a genuine Christian, one who lives out his faith in his daily walk.
  3. He is one who actively and faithfully serves the Lord through Calvary Fellowship.
  4. He agrees to the "Vision Statement" of Calvary Fellowship.
  5. He is committed to work together with the Pastor Search Team members to do whatever it takes to seek the Lord's will in finding God's man to serve as Senior Pastor.
  6. He has 100% support from his spouse (if there is a spouse) in this work.
It is anticipated that members of the Pastor Search Team will, at times, be required to go "afield" (away from the Houston area) to hear potential candidates, conduct interviews, etc. No one knows at this point to what extent that will be necessary, but the possibility must be anticipated. Because of that, we talked about whether "key people" who are involved with teaching or worship on Sunday morning should be nominated as members of the Pastor Search Team. We believe the consensus was that there was really no one who was absolutely indispensable by his presence on a given Sunday morning; therefore, the members of the worship team, etc. can be included as nominees as well as anyone else.

Someone asked if the Pastor Search Team will include members of the younger set as well as "old timers". That will be determined by your vote. Every effort will be made to ensure that the Pastor Search Team truly represent the church membership as a whole, as much as possible.

Another key issue has to do with timing. When do we want to have the Pastor Search Team in place? Our original feeling was, "As soon as possible - yesterday." Such was definitely not the feeling of the group that met on Sunday evening. The consensus was that more time was needed for the members of Calvary to nominate their candidates, and to pray about their choices before submitting them. Nomination ballots are enclosed in this letter. Hopefully, many will be turned in over the next few weeks. They can be placed in the offering plate on Sunday, or given to Brian or to one of the Pastor Advisor Team members (Phil Garrison, Dan Sherrel, Tony Stella).

Someone asked, "Who will minister to the special needs of the congregation after Pastor John leaves?" Brian Horner will, of course, be the primary minister. However, someone at the meeting gave an excellent scriptural answer: "We will all minister to one another, because, although we are not all preachers, we are all ministers." The truth is that ministry is already taking place in abundance at Calvary. But, obviously, we can always do more, and should. Any specific ministry need should be made know to Shari at the Calvary office, and she will notify the person, or persons, who can speak to that need.

We, the Pastor Advisory Team, along with Brian, have done our best, by this letter, to explain the current situation at Calvary. If we haven't addressed your concern, please let us know. We plan to hold another discussion time at the church office on Sunday, May 23, at 5:00 p.m., to address any of your questions or issues.

Yours in His service,

Associate Pastor Brian Horner and the Pastor Advisory Team

Calvary Fellowship
Dr. Brett Dutton, Pastor
1001 Pineloch Drive, Suite 600
Houston, Texas 77062
Phone: 281-480-0495
Fax: 281-480-7906

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