Stated clerk presbytery of the james

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Describe a moment in our recent ministry that you recognize as one of success and fulfillment.
This past summer, 300 people attended a family movie night on the church’s front lawn. As I walked through the crowd, welcoming families, meeting strangers and greeting prospective members, I reflected on how this was another event that really began in 2010, when I led the church through Unbinding the Gospel.

Unbinding seeks to strengthen three characteristics that a Lilly Foundation Study found were common to all growing mainline congregations: It cultivates spiritual vitality, creates safe space for people to become comfortable talking about God, and directs attention to people outside the church.

Our church’s involvement with Unbinding began when I invited key lay leaders to participate in an 8-week spiritual life group. We gradually scaled up the program to invite the whole congregation to participate in similar short-term, small groups. During these weeks, themes discussed in small groups were reinforced through sermons and daily devotions. 250 people participated.

Unbinding changed the church culture and laid the foundation for new outreach initiatives. We started two new worship services to reach people we weren’t reaching with traditional Sunday offerings. Worship attendance increased. Veterans of Unbinding began other outreach endeavors: a coffee house and small groups for youth, as well as several initiatives to strengthen fellowship in the church. Everyone in the group that developed and worked on the movie night outreach was an Unbinding veteran.
Describe the ministry setting to which you believe God is call you.
We discern God’s call by paying attention to our God-given gifts, passions and opportunities. I seek to serve a congregation where I can employ my skills and experience in preaching, staff leadership, strategic planning, program initiation and change management. This congregation would appreciate a pastor with a Ph.D. in History and Theology and expertise in Christian ethics. It values preaching and wants someone with a pastor’s heart.

I want to serve a congregation that shares my passion for putting Christ at the center of everything. They want to grow spiritually. They understand that the church’s vitality is rooted in the experience of “tasting and seeing that the Lord is good.” This experience unifies them despite their differences, fills them with compassion and turns them outward to the world God loves. Having tasted God’s goodness, they want to share it with others. I would hope that this congregation values its traditions, yet is also asking, “God, what’s next?” They want to do great things for God. They think big. The dominate attitude is faith, not fear. They are intentional about making disciples, providing opportunities for people to grow in the context of Christian community and serve God’s world. They care about numbers because they understand that numbers represent people.

Finally, I am interested in exploring whether there may be an opportunity to serve God in a location closer to family.
What areas of growth have you identified in yourself?
Early in my ministry, while leading a congregation in a college town, I developed study habits to deepen my preaching. Some years later, I recognized that I had allowed the busyness of being a pastor to crowd out my spiritual life and rededicated myself to regular prayer and devotion. After being called to serve a larger congregation, I took classes on staff management and immersed myself in leadership literature. More recently, I recognized that my sermons were more dynamic when I preached without notes and modified my approach to sermon preparation.

Today I am learning how to empower the church to live out its mission in a rapidly changing cultural context, where, among other things, the church faces significant competition for Sunday morning, digital technology is changing how people gather information and connect, and 30% of adults under 30 claim no religious affiliation. I have led the congregation in developing new strategies for reaching our community and in employing technology to connect with existing and potential members. We started a Saturday and a contemporary worship service for people we weren’t reaching with our traditional Sunday morning offerings. We began using digital media in our contemporary worship service. We are striving to involve everyone, but especially newcomers, in spiritual life groups where they can grow in their relationship with God and one another. Each of these endeavors is requiring me to learn something new.

Describe a time when you have led change.
Following a recent session dinner and meeting at my home, I reflected on how the session’s ethos had improved over the past 10 years. When I arrived the session had 33 members and was divided by distrust. After our first meeting, the Clerk of Session informed me that the real meeting was starting in the parking lot.

We worked on a number of fronts to change these dynamics. I invited small groups of elders to my home to discuss their experience of serving on the session and their hopes for the church. I learned that they all disliked rubber-stamping decisions. I shared this with the whole session, along with my impression that anxiety rose whenever the session had to work through a decision.

We drew up a behavioral covenant to guide our life together, created email policies to help keep communication direct and efficient, and held each other accountable to these norms. We built time in our meetings for learning, discussion and prayer. We created an annual cookout and an elder retreat to allow us to build relationships and give us time to take in a big picture view of the church. Later, after deciding that part of the problem was that session was too large to engage in the sorts of conversations that would allow a shared vision of ministry to emerge, we downsized to 18 elders. The spiritual and relational vitality that has since developed has made it safe to share unpopular opinions, accept inevitable disagreement and helped us make better decisions.
Statement of Faith
I believe in God the Creator, the one Jesus called, “Abba.” This term of endearment is a heartfelt response to God’s care and provision. We know God as Creator when we sense that God is the source of our life in and through the ordering of creation, particularly when life’s goodness, wonder and beauty inspire us to thanksgiving and praise.

We fall short of the glorious goodness God wants for us. We see human sin in the alienation between peoples and in the desecration of nature. We see it in individual misbehavior and in the way that worldly kingdoms have organized themselves in defiance of God’s purposes. The shame we feel when we fail in our obligations to God and others is an aspect of the knowledge of God, the sense that God is the judge who measures our lives.

I believe in God the Redeemer, God’s Word made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus called people to repent for God’s kingdom is near. He gathered a community of disciples, calling them to follow him. He lovingly laid down his life on the cross and forgave those who crucified him. He cried, “My God why have you forsaken me?” confirming his solidarity with those who suffer. God raised Jesus from the dead, vindicating his life and defeating the power of sin, evil and death.

Jesus reveals God’s deep love for the world. He discloses that the God who judges us is also our merciful Redeemer. We know Jesus as Savior when our sense of shame is overwhelmed by a sense of God’s love and we are filled with joy because of the new possibilities Jesus opens up for our lives. We know Jesus as Lord when we pick up our crosses and follow him.

I believe in God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Sustainer and Renewer of life. Wherever the Spirit blows, God’s creation is revived and flourishes. The Holy Spirit creates the church by calling Jesus to mind and enabling us to say, “Jesus is Lord.” The Spirit inspired the writing of scripture and inspires the church to hear the Bible as God’s Word. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us by displacing fear, pride, envy, greed, nationalism and every other spirit that may motivate and diminish us. Although we experience as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, it is the same one, Triune God.

God calls the church into existence to bear witness to Jesus Christ through word and deed. God gathers the church to worship and to grow together as disciples of Jesus Christ. God sends the church into the world to serve God and neighbor in our worldly callings as teachers, parents, business people, friends, lawyers, spouses, etc. God empowers the church to proclaim the gospel and to seek God’s rule and righteousness. Because the work of discipleship is difficult, the church cultivates the spiritual life of its members and strengthens communal ties in the body of Christ so that we may be formed and encouraged in our vocations.

Sexual Misconduct Self-Certification Statement
I certify below that no civil, criminal, ecclesiastical complaint has ever been sustained or is pending against me for sexual misconduct; an I have never resigned or been terminated from a position for reasons related to sexual misconduct.

I have read this certification and release form and fully understand the information obtained may be used to deny my employment or any other type of position from the employing entity. I also agree that I will hold harmless the employing or judicial authority or any other entity from any and all claims, liabilities, and causes of action for the legitimate release of any information related to sexual misconduct.

Allen Lloyd Pickett

2614 Cradle Hill Court, Midlothian, VA 23112
Ecclesiastical Status: Teaching Elder

Membership Presbytery: Lake Michigan

Ordination Date: June, 1991

Formal Education:

Virginia Teach, BS in Forest Products Utilization, 1983

Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Masters of Divinity, 1990

Continuing Education: Multiple trips back to Gordon-Conwell for personal study – New Hope Church Pastor Mentoring in Hawaii – Billy Graham Evangelism Conference in Lake Louise, Alberta – Many seminars and conferences at Calvin College and Seminary – Perspectives in World Mission course at Western Seminary - Training with Wycliffe Bible Translators - Mental Health Training for Member Care Missionaries in Indiana

Employment Type: Full Time

Minimum Effective Salary: $55,000

Position Types and Experience:

Solo Pastor, 5 to 10 years

Associate Pastor (Youth) 5 to 10 years

Pastor Interim, 2 years.

Geographic Choices: Virginia

Languages: English

Past Experience:

Independent Contractor 4/2012-Present Assisted in developing the infrastructure for an organic farm and developed a Handyman Business

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services 12/2011-4/2012 Grand Rapids, MI Chaplain Led spiritual growth groups for a variety of ages, Created and developed a volunteer mentoring program for the residential adolescent program, led weekly groups for Jellema House (a recovery center).

Rain Forest International School (Wycliffe Bible Translators) 2009-2011 Yaounde, Cameroon Bible Teacher/YouthLeader/Pastor/Coach Taught Christian World View and other Bible courses to teens, led a youth ministry to kids in the missionary community, and coached several sports teams.

Knapp Street Reformed Church 2003 – 2009 Grand Rapids, MI Suburban Solo Pastor, 150 members Created a ministry focused on the centrality of God's Word and the outworking of our faith through local, national, and international mission.

John Knox Presbyterian Church 2000-2003 Associate Pastor Grand Rapids, MI Suburban 400 members Developed a Christ-centered youth ministry and advanced the mission of the church through programs targeted at our own city, country, and refugee resettlement.

Ogburn Construction 1999-2000 Construction Assistant Richmond, VA Between ministry positions, I was fortunate to learn skills in home construction that enabled me to create a personal ministry of home improvement in Grand Rapids.

Third Presbyterian Church 1997-1999 Richmond, VA Associate Pastor for Youth Suburban 800 members Overhauled the Sunday School, Middle School, and Senior High Boys programs and created an effective prayer ministry in connection with the older adults.

Ross Presbyterian Church 1996-1997 Interim Pastor Pittsburgh, PA Urban 80 members Instigated change in an older and was introduced to the role of solo pastor.

Memorial Park Presbyterian Church 1990-1996 Associate Pastor for Youth Pittsburgh, PA Suburban 1500 members Directed a vital youth ministry through training adult and student volunteers to run all essential functions of the ministry.

Other Services:

College Bible Study Grand Rapids, MI 2013-2014 College Bible Study in our home

Kid's Hope U.S.A. Grand Rapids, MI, 2005-2009 Mentored a boy weekly from Kindergarten through 4th grade.

West Town Jubilee Housing Ministry Grand Rapids, MI, 2006-2007 Home maintenance for inner city ministry. Volunteer while serving as Pastor.

Healthy Marriages Grand Rapids 2002-2006 Served on the pastoral advisory board.

Third Option 2008-2010 Grand Rapids Helped develop a marriage ministry in

conjunction with three other churches.

Describe a moment in your recent ministry that you recognize as one of success and fulfillment.
I was meeting with a friend at a coffee shop. We were discovering things we had in common and hoping to help each other in our job search. At one point in the conversation, we were discussing trends in youth ministry. At that point in the conversation, a young man chimed in from a few feet away, "I know exactly what you mean." He proceeded to express his concern that the church as indeed feeding into an American version of Christianity and we were not creating true disciples of Christ. He introduced himself as Matt and we invited him to join us in our conversation. It turns out that he had just gotten out of jail for three D.U.I convictions. During that time he had read a Gideon's Bible and recommitted his life to Christ. Feeling the compulsion of the Holy Spirit, I asked if he would be willing to meet with me on a regular basis to study the

Bible and learn more fully what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Without hesitation he agreed.

It also turned out that he was anticipating getting engaged to a young woman from Brazil. He needed help not only in his relationship with her, but also navigating the cross cultural issues that he would face. So, I agreed to disciple him, and to offer the services of my wife and I in premarital counseling which we will do via the internet. We meet weekly at the same coffee shop for 1 1/2 hours each week.

Describe the ministry setting to which you believe God is calling you.
There was a time when all I wanted to do was youth ministry. Then God put on my heart the idea of being a solo pastor. This caused my love of preaching to be developed. As I preached, I could not escape the basic idea that God is a missional God, so that led us overseas where I used a variety of the gifts God has given me in teaching, preaching, coaching, discipling and mentoring. So, as I look ahead, I believe the local church is the place where I can use all the gifts I have on a regular basis. The older I get the more rapport I develop with people of all ages. I would like to think that I am in the sweet spot of ministry potential at my age. To lead a church to become fully devoted Disciples of Christ at whatever age is a challenge I would enjoy undertaking. In any one day, I enjoy sermon preparation, discipling an individual, leading a Bible study, participating in a church committee meeting, guiding staff and visitation. I also recognize that leading a local congregation can be full of challenges. Individuals, traditions, social structures, etc. can often get in the way of effective ministry. These things are normal and if addressed in love and maintaining the God-given value of each person, growth and change can happen. No one is hopeless and no congregation is stuck if there are some who are ready to engage the basic principles of discipleship and follow Jesus regardless of culture, bureaucracy or misconceptions of church.
What areas of growth have you identified in yourself?
We live in a culture that is rapidly changing. Standard and accepted sexual mores are shifting. We have experienced a polarization of culture and unfortunately attitudes of judgmentalism have erupted rather than creative conversation. We are each made in the image of God, male and female. And second to holiness, God is love. How can I, as one who believes that Scripture supports and affirms marriage as the institution between a man and a woman love someone who

disagrees? How can I look past prejudice and allow a person, who differs from me, to express their pain and their joy? How can I then, in love, express my opinion and allow them to express their opinion, remain friends and pursue Truth together?

I believe directly related to this is coming to terms with God's holiness. I have grown comfortable with my thoughts about God. If I want to discover Truth about culture, myself and others, I need to face God as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6. I pray that the Holy Spirit would take over my preaching and His power would pervade the atmosphere and bring us to our knees. Also, as I think about my past and recognize that there is unresolved pain, resentment, rejection and so much more, I believe I can either engage in psychotherapy or lay prostrate before the holy God. Maybe both would be mutually beneficial, but I'm going to trust that my pursuit of the holiness of God will bring about healing that no amount of therapy could touch.
Describe a time when you have led change.
At the RCA church I served in Grand Rapids I asked our elders how they felt about the amount of money we were giving to missions. They appeared a bit sheepish and struggled to explain that they had a practice of giving whatever they had left rather than offering their 'first fruits'. I asked them what they wanted to do. They boldly stated that giving 10% was their desire but they didn't know how to go about it. I challenged them to commit to giving 10% of this year's budget to which they balked. Instead they agreed to give 10% to whatever came in. Reluctantly, I agreed, but at the end of the year, they were able to celebrate God's faithfulness, because 'what came in' was more than they budgeted, so that actually gave away more than if they had done it my way.
Statement of Faith
I believe in the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three have been co-existent forever and represent themselves as one holy and perfect God. God, in his desire to express his love, created a universe in which to display his glory and created men and women who have the choice to worship him in all his glory or go their own way and thus separate themselves forever. The separation began in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve chose to listen to Satan. The Bible calls this sin and because of what happened in the garden we as humans are born with a tendency toward rebellion. We and creation will not be fully redeemed until Christ returns at the end of time. In between the fall of mankind and our redemption, God has not left us without hope. Through the nation of Israel, he provided our Savior Jesus Christ. Ultimately, salvation came to all people through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. This historical event is the crux of all of history. To accept Christ as Lord and Savior and become His disciple brings with it the eternal reward of life in heaven with Him. To not accept Christ as Lord and Savior is to choose to live in eternal separation from him in a place the Scriptures call Hell. The church is God’s instrument for carrying on the message of salvation to the world. Through worship, service, mission, celebrating the sacraments of the Lord’s supper and baptism we participate in the ministry which is an engagement of the great spiritual battle that Paul tells us about in Ephesians 6. Through regular participation in the Lord's supper we remember the sacrifice of His body and blood through which Jesus defeated death and provided eternal life. The Reformed tradition of baptism, whether of infants or adult believers remindsus that it is God who takes the initiative in our lives. Neither sacrament brings salvation but is practiced by believers as examples of God's grace and the need for the work of the Holy Spirit. The sacraments are shrouded in mystery, thus making us wholly dependent upon Him for its full interpretation and practice. The Bible, Genesis to Revelation, is God’s holy, inspired and authoritative Word which according to Paul is God-breathed. These writings are not merely historic literature, but God's Word to mankind which tell us all we need to know about us and Him. Scripture also reminds us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), thus salvation only comes through Jesus Christ. This Scripture is to be read, interpreted and followed using good principles of interpretation gained through careful study of the context and intent of the author.

Life on earth will end someday, either with our physical death or with the return of Jesus Christ. All people will appear before the judgment seat as described in Matthew 25. At that time those that have been disciples of Christ will enjoy the new heaven and new earth that God will create after the destruction of the present heaven and earth.

Sexual Misconduct Self-Certification Statement
I certify below that no civil, criminal, ecclesiastical complaint has ever been sustained or is pending against me for sexual misconduct; an I have never resigned or been terminated from a position for reasons related to sexual misconduct.

I have read this certification and release form and fully understand the information obtained may be used to deny my employment or any other type of position from the employing entity. I also agree that I will hold harmless the employing or judicial authority or any other entity from any and all claims, liabilities, and causes of action for the legitimate release of any information related to sexual misconduct.

Robert Allen Johnson, Jr.

6824 Shawnee Rd., Richmond, VA 23225
Ecclesiastical Status: Teaching Elder

Membership Presbytery: Presbytery of the James

Ordination Date: September 4, 1988

Formal Education:

Ph.D. in History and Theology, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, VA, May, 2006. Dissertation title: Full Moon Over Washington: Charles Ferguson and the Religion of American Democracy.

M.Div. (spec. in Pastoral Theology) from Princeton Theology Seminary, Princeton, NJ, 1988

B.A. (spec. in Communication Psychology) from Austin College, Sherman, Texas, 1980

Continuing Education

Purposeful Boards, Powerful Fundraising, University of Richmond. Virginia Association of Fund Raising Executives, 2015.

Soliciting Major Gifts, Vision Quest Associates, 2011

Seminars on Reformed Tradition and the Family (2014), Reformed Social Teaching (2013), Jonathan Edwards (2012), The Patristic Roots of the Reformed Tradition (2011) and The Writings of John Leith, (2010), The Foundation for Reformed Theology. Convener and seminar leader.

500th Anniversary Seminar on Calvin’s Institutes, The Presbytery of the James, 2009. Convener.

Interim Pastor Training, Level I, Union Presbyterian Seminary, 2008

The Limits of Electoral Democracy in the Pakistani Context, The Centre for Public Policy and Governance, Forman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan, 2007. Presenter.

Understanding Liberal Arts Education, Forman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan, 2005. Presenter.

Mission Co-worker Training, PC(USA), Louisville and Chicago, 2005

Numerous (10 in three years) week-long seminars on ethics, worship, evangelism, preaching and other topics conducted by the Institute for Reformed Theology at Union Theological Seminary. Convener and attendee as the Director of this Institute. 2000-2003.

Numerous (5 in two years) seminars for The Company of Pastors, an enrichment program for teaching elders that was one of my responsibilities as a Theologian in the Office of Theology and Worship of the PC(USA). Convener and attendee. 1998-2000.


Interim/Transitional Ministry

Certified Administrator

Employment Type: Full Time

Minimum Effective Salary: $75,000

Housing Type: Manse or Housing Allowance

Position Types and Experience Level:

Solo Pastor, 10 years

Head of Staff, 1 year

Pastor Interim, 3 years

Pastor, 3 years

General Assembly Staff, 2 years

Executive Director, 6 years

Mission Co-Worker, 3 years

Funds Developer, 4 years

College/Seminary Faculty, 3 years

Seminary Staff, 2 years

Campus Ministry, 3 years

General Presbytery (acting) 1 year

Geographic Choices: USA

Leadership Competencies:

Preaching and Worship Leadership, Lifelong learner, Teacher


Communicator, Public Communicator

Organizational Leadership

Advisor, Culturally Proficient, Strategy and Vision

Interpersonal Engagement

Motivator, Bridge Builder

Languages: English

Past Experience:

October 1, 2012, December 31, 2012 – Acting General Presbyter, The Presbytery of the James. Acting executive while General Presbyter is on sabbatical.

June 1, 2011- present – President and CEO for Friends of Forman Christian College, Atlanta GA.

November, 2008 - June 1, 2011 — Interim Pastor, Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Virginia. Engaged to assess the present health of the church, try to find suitable avenues for revitalization.

Summer, 2008 — Temporary Head of Staff, First Presbyterian Church of Charlottesville, Virginia. Temporary Head of Staff for a 1500 member church.

2005-2008 — Mission Co-Worker, Presbyterian Church (USA), with these responsibilities

Primary Responsibility: Dean of the Chapel and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Forman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan.

Part-time Professor of Historical Theology at Gujranwala Theological Seminary, Gujranwala, Pakistan.

Structural Consultant to the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan.

2000-2003 — Director, Institute for Reformed Theology, Union Theological Seminary-Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Richmond, VA. Funded by the Lilly Endowment, this venture brought pastors and academics, together to do theological reflection on topics related to Reformed Theology and church life.

1998-2000 — Associate for Theology, Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church (USA), in charge of the Pastor - Theologian Program, a Lilly Endowment funded program ―Excellence from the Start, a major program to mentor new pastors.

Pre 1998: Pastor, Designated Term Pastor and Stated Supply pastor. Teaching Assistant.

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