Search Team & Elder Team Update
Twenty months ago, we started a process to find two Senior Pastors to co-lead Village Church with distinct and clear lanes of responsibility. We filled one of those roles with Pastor Jeremy and have been actively searching for the second position with the help of an executive search consultant. As we searched within Canada, the United States and around the world, we vetted and processed several potential candidates – even flying some in and spending time with them. As time went on, we watched our staff team step up in amazing ways, both through the preaching team and through ministry leadership and came to the realization that the best way forward for our church was to leverage our internal team. Not because we couldn’t find quality candidates outside the team but because God had shown us that our existing staff were better equipped. God has blessed us incredibly, and our focus shifted to how God seemed to be leading and providing for us in this new direction.
There are two key takeaways from the search process:
- We are still committed to a dual or co-senior Pastor model where each pastor holds distinct and separate parts of the organization, collaborating on vision and reporting directly to the Elder Team.
- The best solution for filling the second Senior Pastor position is internally through who we have.
We have positioned our outstanding leadership team in ways that will help propel us into the future in the strongest way possible. This has meant forming and solidifying an Organizational Leadership Team and Preaching Team from leaders in the Vancouver / Lower Mainland area whom Pastor Jeremy leads.
So, we are excited to announce that Pastor Finu Iype, who is based in the Toronto area, will join the team in BC in January as Lead Pastor, Preaching, Mission & Advancement with a trajectory of filling the second Senior Pastor position when specific developmental goals are met.
God has orchestrated the last two years to bring us to this fresh and exciting point. When we started on this leadership and restructuring journey, we said from day one that we didn’t want to slow down our ministry’s effectiveness as a church. God has blessed us in ways no one predicted with the amount of impact we’ve continued to see.
We just experienced our highest-attended Sunday since before the pandemic! We are seeing many people baptized. We launched our Vancouver location in October and moved our Langley North location into a permanent church building with the ability to multiply ministry impact that just wasn’t possible before. We’ve seen unprecedented support for various global initiatives, such as our recent Freedom Sundays. We are seeing record numbers of students engaging in our youth ministries and have launched youth ministries at new locations for the first time.
We are also excited to be continuing to make progress with the new Ministry Centre building project. In fact, we are currently in the process of preparing the building permit for submission in the first quarter of 2024. We want to launch back into that crucial and exciting initiative in 2024 for many reasons that we look forward to sharing with you. Pastor Finu will play a significant role in communicating the opportunity and excitement for this project in his focus on the vision and momentum for the future of Village Church.
When we stepped out in faith 20+ months ago, there were a lot of unknowns. Thank you for your continued prayer support. We are blown away at how God has answered those prayers in ways we didn’t or couldn’t expect.
What does this mean for Pastor Finu?
We have crafted a role for Finu that begins to hold some of the key pieces of what that second Senior Pastor role is: preaching, advancement work, and evangelistic mission. Ultimately, the role will have full leadership of the preaching team, hold primary communication for front-facing vision, be key in our church’s missional evangelism, and own the advancement work that leans into donor relationships and other strategic partnerships inside and outside the church.
We will now begin a process to intentionally provide him with specific development, such as master’s level education and pastoral development, so that he can grow into the second Senior Pastor position within a couple of years. He will move to BC in early 2024 and join our organizational leadership team under Pastor Jeremy, and at a future point, as experience is gained and his developmental goals are hit, and he’s ready to become co-senior Pastor alongside Jeremy, we will bring Finu to the church membership for an affirmation vote, as we did with Pastor Jeremy in September 2022.
What does this mean for Pastor Jeremy?
Jeremy was affirmed to be the Senior Pastor over Ministry and Staffing of our church and will continue to do so even after the second Senior Pastor role is formally filled. He will continue to fill the gaps of providing leadership to the preaching team, overall vision and direction, and church leadership responsibility while leading and collaborating with the Organizational Leadership Team until all of the pieces of the second Senior Pastor position can be handed off to Finu. And he will play a key role in ensuring Finu’s development trajectory.
What does this mean for The Preaching Team?
We love our preaching team and believe in a preaching team model, so while there may be tweaks along the way to the frequency that each team member preaches, no one, including Finu, will dominate the calendar. We believe the regular diversity of voices and perspectives is a huge win for the church. This has been confirmed over the past two years through congregant feedback and seeing the church continue to grow. That said, having Finu in BC will allow him to preach live at other local locations throughout the year.
What does this mean for Village Church Toronto?
Charlie Stokes (Ministry Associate) has shown great leadership at our new plant in the Mississauga area, so our plan for that location is to continue to gather and build after Finu moves.
Why aren’t we making Finu the co-Senior Pastor now?
While Finu has the traits to be a great fit for this role, this is not a position to rush into. While Finu has been a great addition to our team and holds key strengths for the role, we will help him develop more pastoral and church leadership experience, more formal education, continued development in Village Church ministry and preaching DNA, and a few other key aspects that will help him excel with the responsibilities and leadership required for the role.
What does developing Pastor Finu look like?
We see a couple of areas to work on intentionally. First, being one of the senior pastors of a church like Village Church typically necessitates a master’s level education, which will be a part of Finu’s development. We also feel that Finu will benefit from more time in a high-level pastoral role to gain more experience. While Finu aligns very well with Village Church DNA, he has spent his time on our staff remotely connected to our hub. We are looking forward to him being embedded in our home base to fully internalize the intangibles of what makes Village Church “Village.”
What is Pastor Jeremy’s role in Finu’s development?
Pastor Jeremy will play the key role in Finu’s development plan as a part of and under the authority of the Elder Team. He will be the primary driver of the process and will be instrumental in helping to assess progress and timelines. It will benefit the process, and Finu, that someone with significant Village Church experience and leadership will directly handle this development trajectory.
What will determine if Pastor Finu is ready for the role? Finishing a master’s degree? Something else?
We will invite Finu into the role when we believe he is ready to take on the full responsibilities of the second senior pastor position. This may be before he finishes his master’s degree, or it may be upon completion. Still, the more important factor is that he would be ready and able to take authority of the church’s preaching ministry theologically and be trusted to oversee the other areas of the role around advancement and church eldership.
Will the congregation vote on Finu becoming a co-senior pastor when that time comes?
Yes. We will follow the same process we did with Pastor Jeremy in September 2022, which is consistent with our governing bylaws. When the Elder Team feels the time has come to make that move, we will present Finu to the membership for an affirmation vote as the second Senior Pastor.
Does this mean that Finu will preach most of the time?
No. A preaching team model is one of our unique strengths going forward. Of course, the scheduling frequency and make-up of the preaching team may evolve as we do our best to be most effective in ministry. Still, we don’t want any single preacher to become the dominant voice. We are seeing the benefits of a strong diversity of preachers.
Will Finu eventually be “in charge” of the church?
That is not the leadership model that we have landed on. Our model means that there are two senior pastors. Each one reports directly to the lay elders on the Elder Team while each is a member of the Elder Team. Together, as one team, they collaborate on the church’s mission, vision, and direction. Each co-senior pastor is responsible for different areas of the church, and leadership of these areas is clearly defined. While each co-senior pastor has clarity of authority in their areas of leadership, the two senior pastors will collaborate continually in leading the church together as equals.
Will Finu become an elder right away? Or will this happen when he is put in the co-senior pastor position?
Finu will be a guest of the Elder Team at all meetings going forward so that he can be close to the decision-making process in order to input with the team and to be able to represent and communicate accurately to the church. At some point, but no later than when he would be invited into the co-senior pastor position, Finu will be affirmed as an official Elder.
What is the general breakdown of the two Senior Pastor roles and responsibilities? When the second role is filled, what will Pastor Jeremy do, what will the second role do, and how will they work in tandem?
Pastor Jeremy’s role will settle into the general responsibilities of ministries and staff. This includes the ministries of the church (kids, students, adults, groups, classes, etc.), serving and support areas (Guest Services teams, Worship and Production teams), operations, finances, and staff. This also includes site health and the pastoral work done at the site level.
The second senior pastor’s responsibilities will be the preaching ministry of the church (preaching regularly and leading the preaching team), carrying the front-facing communication for the vision and mission of the church (internally and externally at strategic speaking engagements), driving evangelistic outreach, and advancement (donor growth, strategic internal and external partnerships).
These two roles are constructed to carry full responsibility for their areas, not to oversee them as a duo. This will take a high level of trust as they will work closely together. The ultimate strategic vision and direction of the church will be a collaboration between these two and the Elder Team.
What is the benefit of the two senior leader approach?
This approach allows for several wins. It enables us to maximize specific giftings into senior roles where one person isn’t relied on to try and be everything. It also allows for a level of shared weight for the demands and pressures of a church the size and scale of Village Church. It also avoids the church from becoming driven by a single personality and allows for a shared diversity of perspectives.
Are we making this decision because we couldn’t find anyone in the search?
No. Quite the opposite. The external phase of our search process led us to realize the calibre of people we have internally compared to a literal worldwide search. We met some remarkable outside candidates, but as time went on, it became apparent that people already on our team would be better fits for various leadership positions now and in the long term. This made the potential evaluation of our external candidates more and more difficult, so we shifted to ensuring our structure maximizes the giftedness we already had.
Will the mission and vision for Village Church change with Finu taking this role?
While we would hope that any senior leader will bring fresh ideas, opinions, and convictions to the leadership direction of the church, we believe the core elements that make Village the kind of church that it is and has been will need to stay core going forward. Village Church has always done whatever it takes to reach many different people with the gospel, finding our authority in the Bible and introducing many to Jesus in compelling and excellent ways that are direct and understandable against the cultural landscape. We will also continue to strive to be known for being a church that brings God’s goodness and justice into the world, all while engaging families, students, and kids at a high level. We will continue to have a unique mandate to be a Canadian movement that balances local city, national, and global impact. While Finu, Jeremy, and the team will undoubtedly bring creativity and fresh insight into how we do these things, we expect these priorities to continue to make us who we are.
What does this mean for our organizational leadership team?
Jeremy has assembled and positioned a high-level team of amazing Village staff leaders to help him lead the church and its various ministries, structures, and direction. In addition to Finu joining this team in January, it is currently made up of
Victor Maynard – Lead Pastor, Surrey & Staff Development
Chris de Monyé – Lead Pastor, Langley South
John Broadhead – Executive Pastor
Buffy Paul – Pastor, Ministries
Coreena Martel – Site Development & Operations Director
This team will continue to report to Jeremy now and after the second senior pastor position is formally filled, as they will continue to fall under the organizational responsibilities of Jeremy’s job description.
December 10, 2023
Senior Leadership Search Team & Elder Team