Denomination: United Church of Christ (Faithful and Welcoming Churches)
Weekly Attendance: 629
Location: Hickory, North Carolina
The Role: Senior Pastor
Meet Corinth Reformed Church:
Corinth Reformed Church wants to model Christ. Under the leadership of our current senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Bob Thompson, Corinth has defined that ideal by actively creating a culture that prioritizes humility, mutual submission and grace as modeled by the Trinity. Following the maxim 16th century theologian Rupertus Meldinius promoted, “In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity,” Corinth has developed a culture that strongly holds to the traditional tenets outlined in the Apostles Creed, while extending grace in the non-essentials that can bring disunity and discord.
Just as Jesus washed the feet of the very disciples he was leading, we believe service is crucial to leadership, and the strongest leaders gain respect and consensus through their humility. Corinth has been blessed by the presence and gifts of its current senior pastor, Bob Thompson, and with his upcoming retirement, Corinth is looking for a new leader to define and direct Corinth’s next chapter while holding to the tenets that have defined us thus far.
Corinth’s staff and leaders are eager to find a “tissue match” with the Corinth culture in areas such as a commitment to model humility, discipleship, love for the church, biblical focus, collegial respect, and patience with imperfect people and systems. The expectation is also that a new leader will ask new questions, bring fresh ideas, and lead the congregation in innovative ways. Because Corinth has enjoyed strong pastoral leadership for decades, our next senior pastor will inherit a strong pastoral and programming staff—people that are subject matter experts in their fields but need, and desire, a strong leader with vision and passion for the future.
As one example of our mutual submission and commitment to embrace our non-essentials, Corinth offers three differently-styled, Sunday morning worship services—traditional, contemporary and blended—with two pastors teaching each week. Although each service has a unique worship style, the scripture text in all three is the same each week and each service is Christ-centered and aimed at bringing glory to God.
- Traditional Worship Service—our next senior pastor will be the primary teacher for our Traditional 11 a.m. service in our beautiful, Gothic-style sanctuary featuring a R.A. Colby pipe organ that has just undergone a significant renovation. A typical service includes several hymns and special music from the choir, a scripture reading, a children’s message, a Bible-centered sermon, the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and an offering.
- Blended Worship—the 8:30 a.m. blended Sunrise Service is also in our sanctuary and features acoustic praise music and hymns on the piano or organ. Pastors usually share the preaching time for this service which allows for a unique experience where the congregation hears the teaching of more than one pastor.
- Contemporary Service—the 11 a.m. Contemporary Service is held in our Bost Memorial Hall specially designed as both a worship space and a fellowship hall. The service features a full praise band led by Associate Pastor Paul Cummings who serves as worship leader and teacher most weeks. The scripture is the same as the other services and lay leaders participate in worship.
Although Corinth members choose from three different worship styles, all members join together in communal programing and fellowship throughout all other arenas of church life, including Sunday school; Wednesday night fellowship meals; bible studies; small groups; children’s programming; and First Communion, Confirmation and New Member classes. With a large debt-free campus, Corinth is able to host a variety of church, ministry partners and community sponsored events onsite.
Corinth has a strong commitment to missions—local, national and international. Pastors, lay leaders and members regularly serve together on teams to minister to those in need in Hickory, Vermont, Moldova, Africa and many other places where we have mission partners. Besides having a budget line-item designated annually for missions, Corinth’s congregation generously contributes to non-designated appeals as needed.
While Corinth Reformed Church is affiliated with United Church of Christ, it is part of the Faithful and Welcoming network. Retiring Senior Pastor Bob Thompson and his wife, Linda, created and led the Faithful and Welcoming Churches movement, to connect with other UCC clergy and churches who consider themselves as we do, ECOT (evangelical, conservative, orthodox, or traditional.) With the UCC’s congregational polity, Corinth has full autonomy in its own affairs, including but not limited to the call of a pastor, property, worship, polity, spiritual formation curriculum, and finances. Note: for more information about the UCC and Corinth’s unique place within that denomination, visit corinthtoday.org/about-us/ucc/
About the Senior Pastor:
Corinth offers both challenge and opportunity for a new senior pastor. The current senior pastor Rev. Dr. Bob Thompson has served our congregation for over 30 years, but he is ready for retirement. During his tenure, the church has quadrupled in membership and attendance, modernized and expanded its facilities, and developed strong mission partners in Hickory, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Central America, but it’s time to look to the future.
The senior pastor’s primary role is to provide spiritual and administrative oversight of the congregation. The position reports to the Consistory with the assistance and advice of the Board of Elders. The Consistory is 20 individuals elected by the congregation, consisting of Elders who partner with the pastors for spiritual support and care, Deacons who oversee finances, and board chairs whose teams initiate programs and missions, plus the senior pastor. At Corinth, eight full-time professional staff and four full-time support staff are joined by 20 part-time staff to serve the congregation and operate a weekday Preschool. All professional and support staff report to the pastor directly or through delegated supervisors.
The approach of church leadership thus far has been patient change with cooperative discernment and mutual submission among church leaders, both staff and lay. The next senior pastor will lead a talented staff and a dedicated lay leadership team who will provide encouragement and support as Corinth navigates the next era. In addition, prior to his retirement (following which, he and his wife Linda will move away from the area to be closer to family), Pastor Bob is willing to serve in an overlap as needed to help smooth the way for the next senior pastor. Pastor Bob will be a valuable resource for as long as he is needed.
The Senior Pastor Responsibilities Include:
- Teach and model the Christian life.
- Lead, oversee, and/or delegate leadership of all public worship, preaching, and sacraments.
- Initiate and coordinate regular reviews of the church’s vision and strategic planning.
- Oversee the development of lay leadership in the life of the congregation.
- Provide or delegate staff support to all boards and ministry teams as needed.
- Provide and/or delegate pastoral care for the congregation.
- Serve as the primary administrative officer for the day-to-day business of the church, including the hiring, supervision, and termination of all staff members and interns as needed.
- Prepare prospective members of the church and recommend membership approval to the Elders.
- Represent the church in the community and the wider church.
- Serve as a voting member of the Consistory, Executive Committee, and Board of Elders, and perform duties delegated by them.
What You Bring:
Education & Experience
- A Master of Divinity or equivalent from an accredited seminary is required.
- Ministerial standing or eligibility for standing in the Western NC Association of the UCC is required. Note: It should not be difficult. VSG or Pastor Thompson can explain.
- 10+ years of experience in leading, vision casting, preaching, and developing leaders in a church of more than 500 attendees.
- Agreement with the historic creeds and basic insights of the Protestant Reformation.
- Gifts in expository biblical teaching that connects to an intergenerational audience.
- An appreciation for a broad range of worship styles and ability to partner with other staff in leading all worship services.
- Willingness to serve as the primary teacher and worship leader in our 11 a.m. traditional worship service.
- Exceptional leadership, communication, and organizational skills.
- Ability to navigate complex issues with humility, patience, grace, and truth.
- Clear profession of faith in Jesus Christ and love for the church.
- A team-oriented approach to ministry and leadership.
- Humility, authenticity, and commitment to personal spiritual formation.
- An example in leadership, love, and family care consistent with 1 Timothy 3.
- Wise stewardship of both personal and church resources.
What it’s Like to Live in Hickory, North Carolina:
With its low cost of living, Hickory is known to be a great place to live. The area has been recently recognized as Top 100 Best Performing Cities (Milken Institute, April 2022), Top 20 Hottest Housing Markets (Realtor.com, December 2021), Top 10 Best Places to Live Near the Mountains (US News and World Report, October 2021), and is among the Best and Most Affordable Places to Live (US News and World Report, July 2021). Hickory is truly one of the best places in the nation to live, work, and retire.
Hickory is located in the Catawba River Valley enjoying four distinct seasons and a relatively temperate climate. While the city itself has a relatively small population, the metropolitan statistical area is much larger; about 350,000 residents live within 25 miles of the area. Even so, Hickory does have a small-town, suburban vibe. Here, you’ll find countless craft breweries, vintage shops, and farm-to-table restaurants in the eclectic downtown.
While there are plenty of parks, historical sites, and sporting events in Hickory to keep you busy, Charlotte and Asheville are both about an hour away by car. Within an hour’s drive, other major attractions include the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. Overall, Hickory is a great place to call home, build a life, and raise a family.