Hello Immanuel Family, 

Earlier this month, I sent you a letter updating you on the progress being made on the future leadership for our church. The importance of the project was underscored by our request for input early on from our entire congregation. Thank you to all who took the time to respond to the questions posed in that letter. 

The elders and I have reviewed the responses that were collected. Here are a few observations:
  1. The input received covered many topics. I am pleased to say everything suggested has already been considered, and most of the comments and ideas are in our transition plan. It was helpful to note the degree of importance behind an idea, based on the number of comments and the passion behind them.
  2. The most common theme is the importance of having deep, Bible-based teaching on Sunday morning from a strong, engaging teacher. This kind of input will help shape the profile of the person we are looking for as our primary teacher.
  3. Also noted is a sincere concern for a leader's capacity to serve Immanuel well while caring for his family. Establishing realistic expectations for the role is mentioned frequently. A third theme is a strong desire to maintain our church's long tradition of innovative ministries for children and youth. 
  4. The comments exhibited a lot of support for the church Immanuel is today, but there were also suggestions for change. Most of the suggestions for change were not easily condensed into a single theme like the comments above, as they range over a wide variety of topics like worship, spiritual practices, leadership roles, and social activism.  These suggestions are not being taken lightly; we believe it is critical to listen to all of you, to hear God's guidance, and to follow a thorough process in selecting our new leader(s).
Again, thanks to all of you who took the time to invest in the future of our church by submitting your comments to the questions asked. Of course, the elders and I are always open to input as the transition process moves ahead.

The work continues in earnest, as we lay solid foundations for calling the right leader(s) to fill our needs. As we  enter into a particularly intense period of work in the next three months, we continue to depend on your prayers for wisdom and perseverance.  
Thank you,