Good People —
I write with a huge dose of gratitude to let you know that my tenure as director of NEXT Church comes to a close at the end of May 2021.
I am so proud to have been part of this movement of the Spirit over these last 9 years as director. Together, we have created a space for sparking imagination, telling the truth, working toward justice, and pouring into church leaders in this time when the church as an institution is precarious and the common good needs strong and focused institutions.
From scrappy early days when we wondered if anyone was interested in thinking together about the future of the church to the (still scrappy) days of:
- an energizing and inspiring annual National Gathering,
- a meaningful antiracism audit that is already shaping the next chapter of NEXT Church,
- coaching cohorts that inspire and challenge leaders to keep leveling up,
- antiracism facilitation to help us collectively move toward justice and equity,
- a Cultivated Ministry guide that invites us to reimagine faithfulness and fruitfulness, and
- a chaplain corps to offer care for church leaders in times of need.
I am deeply enriched by the talented and faithful leaders — that’s YOU — who have been part of NEXT Church over this last decade. It is good to be in your number. I have learned so much from many talented leaders — those who first had a vision for NEXT Church and the subsequent ones who have made up the Strategy Team. I’m especially grateful to the staff members with whom I have been privileged to work — Linda Kurtz, Jen James, Pete Peery, Layton Williams, Shani McIlwain, and Katherine Baker. It is amazing what they can pull off with sheer passion and love for God’s church (and a good GIF game).
Nine years is a long time to be a founding director and exert the entrepreneurial energy needed to midwife an organization. Over the past year, I have been in discernment about my energy and capacity to continue to be a good steward of this challenging work. At the same time the organization has been in deep conversation about how it is best stewarded. It is time for the stewardship of the directorship to be passed to another. NEXT Church leadership, the Strategy Team (NEXT Church’s board) and within it the Coordinating Team (tasked with keeping the organization focused and moving) are working on a smooth transition so that the meaningful and important work of NEXT Church continues.
I am excited to watch from afar the energy and vision a new leader can bring to the next season of life of NEXT Church.
In Gratitude and Hope —
It is with a colossal amount of gratitude that we, the Coordinating Team, humbly accept Jessica’s resignation as the director of NEXT Church. She has been nothing less than a good and faithful servant. We honor and respect her decision, though we know we will have a challenging transition. Challenging does not mean impossible. As a matter of fact, we pray that it means an opportunity to further live into who we are called to be as NEXT Church.
Inasmuch as this is true, these are the next steps as we look forward and envision the next NEXT Church. Your Coordinating Team has been working very hard. Our first steps will be to hire a part-time administrative/communications assistant. This hire will happen relatively quickly to give this person time to learn from Jessica before she departs. Jessica has voiced a sincere promise to make the transition as smooth as possible. This part-time position will be from 20 – 25 hours per week and will run through the end of 2021.
If you or someone you know is interested in applying for this very important role you may find the job description and application here. Resumes will be accepted through May 17th, at which time the committee will review applications and schedule interviews.
Once this person is in place, a more formal search committee will be established to start the process of finding an interim director. This will take much more time than the assistant position. We certainly appreciate each of you and ask your prayers during this time of transition.
Peace and Blessings,
Amantha Barbee, Co-Chair Coordinating Team
Daniel Vigilante, Co-Chair Coordinating Team
P.S. You can learn who is currently part of the Coordinating Team on our website.