Grace Church of Newark, Delaware, is seeking a new senior pastor. Our current pastor has stepped aside from his position for medical reasons and recently passed away. We are an EFCA church, averaging 80-100 in weekly attendance, with a mix of ages and demographics. Newark is home to the University of Delaware and is 45 minutes from Philadelphia and one hour from Baltimore. We are seeking a seminary trained, godly man with maturity in the scriptures and theological truth. Although giftedness in preaching and teaching is a central requirement, the applicant should also have strong interpersonal skills to connect with the churched and unchurched. The candidate should have leadership skills to work with the elders and staff to establish and carry out God’s vision for our church. Current paid staff include a part time secretary and a part time worship coordinator. As we are an elder led church, the senior pastor will work with the leadership of the church to move the church forward in God’s purpose for us.
This profile was created by the Pastoral Search Committee after a careful assessment of our congregation and ministry through surveys and focus groups.
A) Grace Church’s History
Grace Church held its first worship service on January 5, 1986, at a private residence in Landenburg, Pennsylvania. Later that year, Grace called its first pastor and joined The Evangelical Free Church of America—an association of churches united around the same Statement of Faith. In the following years, two full-time and two interim pastors led the congregation until Pastor Greg Barrier assumed leadership in 2004.
From the beginning, finding a permanent home for Grace Church proved to be a
significant challenge. For nearly 30 years, faithful members met in various places near Newark, Delaware—a Grange Hall, schools, and church buildings belonging to others. God always provided a place, but the longing for a place to call home was strong. God provided that in November 2016, when Grace purchased the upper Nazarene Church property at 355 Paper Mill Road, in Newark, near the banks of White Clay Creek and less than 1 mile from the University of Delaware.
Three decades later and counting, Grace Church is more committed than ever to its
mission of pointing others to Jesus and encouraging believers to mature, vibrant faith in our local community and around the world. We have about 55 members and approximately 60 – 80 attendees each Sunday morning. Although 50% of our attendees are over 55 years, we also have young adults and young families with children.
B) Newark, Delaware
The city of Newark, Delaware, is 14 miles southwest of Wilmington, 44 miles southwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and 57 miles northeast of Baltimore, Maryland. [Fun Fact: Corresponding to proximity, MLB and NFL fandom tends toward Philadelphia teams.]
Incorporated as a city in 1951, Newark is situated in the northern part of the state and is home to the University of Delaware, where approximately 20,000 students are enrolled. Meanwhile, the population of Newark is about 34,000.
With students in our midst, Newark takes on a lively hustle and bustle during the semester and has a leisurely pace during the month of January and summer.
Main Street is the heart of Newark. It is adjacent to the University of Delaware and home to many eateries and coffee shops.
Despite Newark being halfway between the urban centers of Philadelphia and Baltimore, there is a large amount of public parkland—over 12,000 acres – surrounding the city. These parks provide ample hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding opportunities. Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area and much of White Clay Creek State Park consist of land formerly owned by the Du Pont family and later ceded to the states of Maryland and Delaware, respectively.
C) Grace Church’s Mission
Grace Church is committed to growing believers to maturity in Christ. To accomplish this goal, we have Biblically based preaching from the pulpit and sound teaching in other more intimate settings, such as care groups, Sunday School, Men’s and Women’s Bible studies, youth group, and children’s church. Preaching and teaching encourage real-life applications as we seek to love God and love our neighbors.
An extension of our teaching and preaching is expanding the Church locally and worldwide. We have several outreach ministries to
- seniors in a nearby apartment building (sharing Gospel message and meal),
- community residents (Community Garden giveaways, giant yard sales that support foreign missions),
- youth at a nearby subsidized apartment complex (Homework Helpers, Bible clubs),
- University of Delaware community (street evangelism, Bible giveaways),
- Newark Police Department, and
- foreign and domestic missionary support.
D) Grace Church’s Core Beliefs
The core of our faith rests in the gospel of Jesus Christ—the forgiveness of sin everyone needs, the reconciliation with God made possible by Jesus’s death and resurrection, and the eternal hope we have when we believe in Him. Grace Church upholds the EFCA doctrinal statement but allows for differences in minor points of theology.
E) Grace Church’s Strengths and Desires
The people of Grace Church are a warm community that care for one other and its Newark neighbors. They desire to make the church community even closer-knit by strengthening discipleship between its members and encouraging a culture where we share our burdens and come alongside one another. We desire to continue to reach out to the University of Delaware community and the “next generation” of singles and young families while cherishing all generations who come through the doors.
Reason for Pastor Vacancy and Interim
Grace Church is seeking a new Senior Pastor after our Pastor has been disabled due to Stage 4 Lung Cancer. Our church is saddened by his illness but are trusting the Lord through this time. The elders are working together to continue leadership of the ministries along with utilizing pulpit supply from within and without the church.
We desire a man to build on the current foundation of ministry, grow our congregation in spiritual maturity and lead us to reach out to our community with the love of Christ through the gospel.
The Senior Pastor serves as one of the elders. He, with the board, oversees the ministry and works to discern God’s will for the mission and vision of our church. He serves as the lead teacher/preacher for the congregation and helps to set the direction for the ministry. The Senior Pastor, under elder guidance, is responsible for supervising paid staff and ministry volunteers, implementing the mission and direction of the church, and managing overall church operations.
Doctrine, Theology, Teaching, Preaching
The Senior Pastor along with the elders are responsible for upholding the truth of Scripture in our teaching/preaching ministry and guarding against attacks on the faith, the Word, or the flock at Grace.
The EFCA doctrinal statement is the foundational summary of the scriptural truth that we agree on and uphold. Since the EFCA statement of faith addresses core beliefs, it allows for differing views on minor issues. The Senior Pastor must understand the history of Grace Church and be open to diversity on the minor issues of theology. To better understand the current leanings of the leadership of Grace Church, the following non exhaustive list gives examples:
- Grace church has a leaning towards Reformed Theology and has traditionally not taught Covenant Theology.
- We have taught the pre-tribulation, premillennial return of Christ, but allow for differences on these issues.
- We embrace eclectic worship and value historic music of the church but also love new music done in a contemporary fashion with a worship band.
- We have not had the expression of certain more “charismatic” spiritual gifts in our services, understanding some of the errors of the contemporary charismatic movement but on the other hand do not believe the scripture teaches complete cessation of these gifts today.
- We believe the church is responsible to speak in the public square to the moral issues of our day, but do not embrace a specific political party or candidate. We at times cautiously support or oppose certain legislative efforts but understand the complexity of any political agenda. We believe the primary method for affecting change in our nation and community is the gospel of Jesus Christ, not a political victory.
Grace Church values deep biblical teaching and preaching and therefore the next Senior Pastor will be an individual who has a demonstrated ability to effectively articulate the truth of God’s word with relevance to people’s lives in today’s context and across generations. The Pastor will work with other gifted teachers and preachers in the church to maintain and develop teaching/preaching opportunities in the church.
Pastoral Care, Discipleship, and Relationship Building
The next Senior Pastor will be gifted in relationship skills so that he can model and foster healthy relationships in the church. He will be effective in discipleship and pastoral care and will work with staff and volunteers to grow the discipleship and caring ministry of our church. In addition, he will be one who can connect with the younger generation including young singles and families to minister to that demographic effectively. This will be done with recognition of our diverse age demographics and will respect and cherish the older generation and their contributions to the ministry.
III. Primary Responsibilities
- Primary preacher/teacher
- Ensure that worship services continue to focus on God, His truth and presence
- Lead the church into a life led by the Spirit and governed by the Scriptures
- Lead the “community” aspect of our church working in our community to build unity and relationships, setting the tone for spiritual growth and maturity
- Lead an effective discipleship ministry working with staff and volunteers to help spiritual growth of our church congregation
- Actively engage young people, University of Delaware students, young single adults, and young families.
- Grow the current outreach ministries to expand our impact in the community
- Leadership in the organization of the church implementing the vision and mission of the church including the church calendar of events
- An active and growing faith and relationship with Jesus Christ and a desire to contribute directly to His Church and Body
- Meets the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3.
- Agreement with the Statement of Faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America and distinctives of Grace Church
- A clear articulate understanding and practice of what it means to a life lived and governed by the Scriptures and led by the Holy Spirit
- A history of consistent prayer in his personal and family life that serves as a model for others on staff and in the congregation
- A desire for excellence in all things
- Experience in ministry including leadership roles with pastoral experience preferred.
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Experience in discipleship ministry and Biblical counseling
- A seminary degree, M. Div. or higher from an evangelical seminary
- Transparency about job history and previous experiences that would inform the selection process and the ability to share at least 3 references for current and past ministries.
How To Apply
- Describe your faith in Jesus Christ. Tell us how you came to know the Lord, something about your journey with Him, your current walk and how your relationship with Him has affected your life and ministry.
- At this point in your ministry, why are you interested in leading as Senior Pastor at Grace Church of Newark? What is it about the role or opportunity that motivates you to apply?
- In “The Position” section we note the diversity of beliefs within our church. Please share how you would both lead and teach in light of that understanding?
- Describe efforts you have led in a church context that required shaping a direction, culture and team of contributors to accomplish important results. Please describe the circumstances and your specific role in them.
- Describe your philosophy of ministry and leadership within the church environment, including addressing your personal style of leadership among an elder organizational structure.
- Please share five or six references including a few supervisors, ministry peers and direct reports (paid or volunteer). References will be contacted only after mutual interest develops with Grace Church of Delaware.
Contact: For individuals interested in seeking the position please send your resume and answers to the questions below to Jim Ley, elder at Grace Church and chair of the pastoral search committee. [email protected]
Jim Ley, Elder, Chair Search Committee