Senior Pastor Search

Dear WCPres Brothers and Sisters,

The purpose of the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) is to find a Senior Pastor to help us achieve our mission as defined in the Our Path Forward document. We pray that at the end of our work God will be pleased and that our church will be unified in affirming our decision.

In order to accomplish this task in a way that identifies Senior Pastor candidates that most closely match our congregation in a timely manner, Session has hired the AGORA Search Group to facilitate the process. We are excited to be partnering with AGORA and are very encouraged with their process, integrity and thoroughness. Our AGORA liaison has been a pastor, and understands churches, their needs, and the issues pastors face.

The PNC has worked with AGORA to develop a document that describes the position, our church community, and where we want to go as a church. The official search was launched with this document on Feb. 6th.

The next phase involves AGORA networking with over 3000 pastors and church leaders looking for interested applicants. If anyone at WCPres knows people we should talk to, please contact someone on the PNC. We will work with AGORA to filter applicants. AGORA will handle initial interviews. Their interview process becomes more intense as candidates rise to the top: AGORA’s final interviews involve our AGORA liaison meeting with them at their homes, and with their families, and having a long walk & talk where they will dive deeply into personal matters. By the time the PNC brings a final two or three candidates to Walnut Creek on-site interviews, each candidate will have had about fifty hours of interview time and between us we will have reviewed ten to twenty sermons. This weekend visit will be a carefully thought-through opportunity for candidates to evaluate us as we evaluate them.

Pastor Benjamin may enter this process. Because of his position here his application will be considered with the best candidates found by Agora. In fairness to the process, to him, and to the other candidates, he will then go through whatever interview process all other final candidates go through, and the same interview process by the PNC.

This search process involves talking with pastors who are currently serving churches and privacy is imperative. So as with every previous PNC, we will not be sharing names. Our aim is to be as transparent as possible with our congregation while retaining confidentiality.

Just as with any PNC, when we are done, the church will be presented with one candidate.

Brothers and Sisters, in order to honor our God and Father, the nominating committee asks three things of you:

  1. Uphold the integrity of this process and the expectations of discretion and confidentiality that come with it.
  2. Refrain from and combat rumor and conjecture among us whenever it arises.
  3. Please pray for us for our church, and for the person God is bringing to be our permanent pastor.

We will be updating the congregation regularly on our status using the following graphic. The detailed descriptions of each phase are listed below.

Our team at Agora has worked remarkably quickly since my August report, and we are now beginning Phase 3 of their process. This means that the PNC feels we have 3 very well-qualified candidates. We will be beginning in-person interviews in Walnut Creek next month. As we have stated before, this is a process. This is NOT the last step; we do NOT have a time table.

We continue to keep Session, Bluewater Presbytery and Pastor Benjamin aware of our progress on a regular basis. The Presbytery is verifying candidate credentials. Once we have a final candidate to present to Session and they work through a compensation package, Bluewater will also be working through the acceptance process with us as a congregation. Bluewater will also work with that candidate to help insure a smooth and successful transition. And our Session will be working with both Pastor Benjamin and our candidate to do the same.

We, the PNC, continue to ask for your prayers

  • for Our Lord to guide us,
  • for our future Senior Pastor,
  • for Pastor Benjamin to find his next right step,
  • and most especially for our congregation to be united and excited about welcoming and following a new leader here at Walnut Creek Pres.

A friend encouraged me last week with words from Isaiah Chapter 43, especially verses 18-19

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”

I have no idea what God has in store for all of us here. But I have trust that He has a wonderful plan. We just need to wait on Him, discover and follow that plan. Please feel free to ask questions of your Session or your PNC; there is no need to speculate about this process. We are not trying to be secretive, but the identity of our candidates must remain confidential to protect their privacy, as in all nominating committee work.

The Search Process and Timeline

The AGORA search process flows through 4 intentional phases: Define, Discover, Discern & Decide. During these phases there will be specific responsibilities that fall upon either AGORA or the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). Throughout the process both AGORA and the Search Team have the ongoing responsibilities of prayer and frequent meetings.

Click on a phase to learn more about it

Phase 1: Define

1-2 Months


Meet with hiring authorities
Discover your story
Day of discovery
Identify unique message
Create opportunity profile
Identify networking channels


Take online surveys
Host the day of discovery
Approve the opportunity profile
Create search website with link to AGORA
Update congregation

Phase 2: Discover

4-7 Months


Initiate networking
Conduct candidate interviews/video calls begin
Thorough referencing process
Meet final candidates including family dinner
Orchestrate weekend experience packets


Review candidate resumés & sermons
Decide candidates to move forward
Prepare for the weekend experience
Create weekend experience packets
Update congregation

Phase 3: Discern

1-2 Months


Gather information from final candidates
Complete thorough referencing calls
Present final candidates
Develop and present candidate portfolio
Debrief client
Debrief candidate(s)


Review 10 sermons of each final candidate
Calendar and finalize weekend experiences
Finalize interview questions
Complete weekend experience packets
Plan website/video announcement
Update congregation

Phase 4: Decide

1-2 Months


Meet with client on final decisions
Extend offer
Partner with client for successful on-boarding
Follow-and review


Present final candidate to governing body
Finalize announcement details
Celebrate what God has done!
Onboarding of new pastor