F.A.Q - Frequently Asked Questions
What is the plan for Westwood during this time without a Senior Pastor?
We are confident that God will provide direction and resources in the coming months. He has been faithful to meet the needs of Westwood for almost fifty years. We have full confidence in His continued favor and faithfulness moving forward. Please pray for our leadership as they seek to serve God and serve the family of Westwood. We sincerely believe that it is in these times that we are challenged to trust God as we grow in faith and perseverance.
What is the process and when does Westwood intend to call a new Senior Pastor?
We continue to spend time praying and seeking God’s heart of direction and vision for Westwood. It is important that we do not make any decisions until we lay this before the Head of the church, Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:17:18a). The VCM survey and interviews have been completed and we have scheduled a presentation of their findings and recommendations for 2:00pm on September 27th. Please check your email and our website for more information. The Elders then intend to select a Transitional Pastor that is qualified to lead us through the identified core issues. Our goal is to lay a strong foundation for the selection of a permanent Senior Pastor. Westwood leadership welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. God is leading us to wait on Him, to listen, and ensure we fully understand His desire for Westwood. Please join us in patiently, prayerfully waiting on the Lord’s leading.
We have heard about a multi-phase process to hire a permanent Senior Pastor. Can you explain this more thoroughly?
Yes. We have sought counsel and prayed for wisdom as we seek to move forward. We believe that it may consist of at least 3 phases.
Phase I: Seeking discernment, praying, facilitating a congregation-wide survey, conducting additional interviews, and desiring to answer four key questions:
- What are the real issues?
- What are God’s solutions?
- Who are God’s leaders?
- What are God’s plans?
Phase II: Implementing a plan to employ a Transitional Pastor and seek to resolve the 4-5 identified core issues. We expect to conduct regular Town Hall meetings, host a Re-visioning meeting with the congregation, and facilitate opportunities to reconcile, and build the foundation for a Senior Pastor search.
The Phase II Objective is completion of the implementation plan, a revised vision for Westwood, and resolving issues from Phase I. This objective is condition-based so it may be completed quickly or it may take several months. When it is complete, we are ready to start Phase III – Senior Pastor Search.
Phase III: A Senior Pastor Search will include forming the search committee, identifying the critical characteristics of the next senior pastor, determining the methodology of the search, filtering resumes, conducting interviews, reviewing sermons, evaluating applicants and candidates, setting up conference calls, visitation, and recommending a candidate to the congregation.
The Phase III Objective is to successfully select and present a qualified candidate to the full elder council and congregation.
What can you tell us about governance at Westwood?
Our Elder Council is taking a more active role in the operational and staff decisions at Westwood during this transitional time. Jared Harrington is now our Executive Pastor and he will continue to lead the pastors and staff in close collaboration with the Elder Council. We have full confidence in his leadership during this process.
How will the Elders communicate with the congregation during this time?
We intend to use a variety of communication methods: website, emails, postal mail, and telephone. Our intent is to be transparent and to also encourage your input. The Elders are part of the shepherding and communication plan for the entire church. Each elder has been assigned a region and has enlisted the help of several missional community leaders to maintain telephone contact with members and attendees. We want to use this method of communication to address any problems and to find ways to assist you during the Stay Home mandate and beyond.
When can we meet again for worship services and fellowship at Westwood?
As Christians, we need the fellowship of other believers, Hebrews 10:24-25. We want to gather and encourage each other face-to-face. However, we also want to follow the orders and guidance of the State of Washington and Thurston County. Over the summer we have regathered during our Sunday services as well as some of the children and youth programs. As we continue into the Fall, we will gradually open up more programs and groups. In early October, we have planned for many of our programs will restart. We intend to facilitate many of these gatherings both online and in-person to accommodate everyone’s need in our congregation. Those most vulnerable are encouraged to watch online for some weeks before gathering to ensure their health and safety. We are prepared to adjust our schedule as needed in accordance with the current situation. Our goal as we do this is to create a safe and healthy environment as we restart church and activities at 333 Kaiser Rd. We love you and miss you!
How will we run Church-wide meetings and Question and Answer sessions?
Our intent is to follow the State’s and Thurston County’s directives on Staying Home and maintaining social distance. Our intent is to continue to run our church-wide meetings using a combination of video technology (livestream, Zoom) and telephones. We realize that some of our members do not have access or expertise with online technology so we will use telephone calls and postal mail to ensure all our members and attendees can participate.
Are we continuing to meet the needs in our community during this closure?
One of the things we have done as a result of Coronavirus is to personally contact our members and attendees. In the Spring, we assigned Elders and other leaders with a contact list of members and attendees to touch base with periodically. They have the honor to call people, encourage them, see how they are doing, and pray with them. We continue to deliver wood, provide benevolence funds, assist the homeless shelter, and be the church to our neighbors. We have several people that are available to help if you need it. We can assist with work around the home, grocery shopping, or other tasks as needed. Please share your needs with us. It is our privilege to serve you!
How can we ensure that our tithes and giving are received by the church?
This is a new situation and may require a different way of giving to the church. If you are able to use online giving, this greatly helps. Other methods include setting up payment directly from your bank, sending your check through postal mail, or dropping the check in an envelope at the church office. Please let us know if you need an addressed and stamped envelope.
Are we looking at the CARES Act?
The CARES Act was approved by the Federal Government and has provisions to give grants to churches and non-profit organizations during the coronavirus time period. This Act was put in place to help pay salaries, compensation, and utilities through early October 2020. Westwood has used this to help pay salaries and utilities during this season.
How can we pray?
Please pray for the elders, pastors, and staff as they seek to lead the body of Westwood to follow Jesus each day. Pray for healing and reconciliation in the body of Westwood in preparation for calling a new Senior Pastor. Pray that we continue to trust in God and His faithfulness. This November, we celebrate the Jubilee year (50th year) of Westwood. Please pray that it would indeed be a jubilant year as we forgive every debt we hold against each other, allow Jesus to cut off the chains that hold us in bondage, and recognize the mercies of God raining down over Westwood (Leviticus 25:8-55).