As we shared on Sunday, July 21, we are excited to announce that we are moving forward with Anthony Stevens as our new worship director.
The following is the content of an email that was sent to our church family to share more about our process and the "why" behind our plans. We will be providing several opportunities to get to know Anthony in the coming few weeks.
In May, the elders approved a worship search team (comprised of elders, staff, and lay individuals - including both men and women, from different ages and musical abilities). In late June, our team evaluated our top three potential candidates from a wider group of applicants. With much prayer and through many conversations, we reviewed aspects such as character, competency, commitment, chemistry, theological fit, ministry methodology and potential vision for the future direction of the worship ministry. After prayer and discussion, the search team unanimously decided to proceed forward with one of the three candidates.
Our search team proceeded to invite our candidate out for a stealth visit to lead a worship set during a rehearsal and have further discussion, assess his leadership capability and to determine if our candidate would be a good fit for our staff and church. After our time together and feedback from various groups, our team unanimously agreed again that our candidate would be an excellent fit for our church. In addition, our search team believes it would be wise for us to hire our candidate as a worship director instead of a worship pastor. Our elders and staff have had an opportunity to meet and interact with him and have also affirmed our decision on the candidate and the positional title.
Below are some FAQs for why we came to this conclusion and more important information:
Why a worship director over a worship pastor?
During our conversations with Anthony Stevens, we quickly identified several strengths that God has given him. Anthony has a heart for the development of God's people. He is a skilled musician who has recently graduated with a degree in worship arts. Anthony plans to continue his education and pursue his Master's in Theology in the fall. Although Anthony has all the character and competency qualities to begin leading our worship ministry, we recognize that Anthony is young and his leadership experience within a church is limited. Anthony has led different ministry teams, but this will be his first full-time church ministry position.
Hiring Anthony as a worship director allows for his personal and pastoral development. Although Anthony's church leadership experience may be limited within a church setting, his ability to synthesize theological truth with clarity and his heart to love, shepherd and lead others is exceptional. We can't tell you how excited we are to have him as part of our leadership team. We believe Anthony has the ability to cross generational lines and help strategically lead our worship ministry forward. We cannot wait for you all to meet and interact with him.
Would Anthony's authority and responsibilities be different as a director instead of a pastor?
Anthony will have full authority and responsibility to lead the worship ministry team, but we want to appropriately size this position for both Anthony's and the church's success. This allows our leadership team to walk alongside Anthony to develop a strategic plan that focuses on his pastoral development and ministry direction.
Does his lack of experience disqualify him for this leadership position?
Although there will be a learning curve in this position, we believe Anthony is capable of leading the worship ministry team based upon his experience leading other teams, his large church internships, his skill set as a musician, and his interpersonal and relational temperament.
Will Anthony lead both service styles?
Yes. We believe Anthony has the capability to lead both contemporary and traditional service styles. He has significant experience leading a worship band and is also able to read music, has choral experience and would build relationships strategically leading this ministry forward. As would be the case with any candidate or ministry department, we will ensure we are resourcing any needs that may arise.
Do we need to have a vote to hire Anthony?
At this time there would not need to be a vote since it is a director position instead of a pastoral position. Our aim is not to avoid a church vote, but to allow Anthony to gain practical experience in the broader pastoral role. If or when this leads to a pastoral position, the members would vote at that time.
How does Anthony fit within our organizational structure?
Anthony will report directly to Pastor Jay. Together they will continue to form and cast a vision for the future of worship at New Covenant. Pastor Chad will be available to assist and consult with the process where needed.
Will there be an opportunity to meet Anthony and ask questions?
We will be having an Open House to meet Anthony during the morning of August 4. We will be scheduling other opportunities to interact with and get to know Anthony in the near future. Anthony's official start date will be July 31.