A Recommendation for Lead Pastor
Last July, our elders initiated the process of seeking God’s direction on who would lead Forward Church for the next season. After much prayer, discussion, research and consultation, it became clear that a co-lead pastor model would be the best way forward for our church.
Two highly qualified internal candidates applied for the position. They care deeply about our church and carrying out our mission to Love God, Love Others and Serve the World. Their experience and leadership style complement each other. The Board of Elders is pleased to recommend Kirk Giles and Derik Fuller to be considered as co-leaders of Forward Church.
The membership vote for leadership will happen on September 20 at Forward Church Cambridge from 6:30pm-7:30pm. This will be a two part vote. The first vote is for a change to the bylaw which will allow for co-leaders of the church, and the second is the candidate vote.
We appreciate your prayers as we move through this transition and vote. Please follow along with our prayer guide for the next 28 days.
Bylaw Change Information
The co-lead pastor model requires a change in our General Operating Bylaw from the current Bylaw #3 to be replaced with Bylaw #4, which would replace the wording Senior Pastor with Lead Pastor or Pastors. This change will be voted on and allow for the implementation of a co-leadership model at Forward.
A copy of Bylaw #4 and a second copy that highlights the changes from Bylaw #3 are available through the links below.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have a list of frequently asked questions available if you scroll to the end of the webpage
Videos of Open Meetings
The recordings of our Open Meetings can be found below if you scroll to the end of the webpage
Co-lead Pastor Job Description
If you’re curious about the roles and responsibilities of the co-lead pastors, you can view the Co-lead Pastor Job Description.
Get to Know the Candidates
Open Meeting Dates (live and streamed)
Our Open Meeting dates have passed. The vote takes place on Sunday, September 20 at 6:30pm at our Cambridge site. You can view recordings of the Open Meetings below.
Sunday, September 20
The Forward Church Membership vote at Forward Cambridge, 6:30pm-7:30pm
Sunday, August 30 – Kirk Giles at Forward Cambridge
Sunday, September 6 – Derik Fuller at Forward Cambridge
Sunday, September 13 – Derik Fuller at Forward Kitchener
Sunday, September 20 – Kirk Giles at Forward Kitchener
More on the Co-lead Model
Today there is a great demand on our church to serve the needs of our members, attendees with Godly biblical teaching and spiritual guidance, and for building community outreach as the scripture instructs us. To accomplish this great commission, we sensed the need for two full time pastors to share the administration, teaching and preaching as co-leaders of the Church.
Throughout the pastor search process, the research team found great insight from other well established and thriving churches that God led down a similar path to develop and adopt a sustaining co-lead model for the future ministry of their churches. They found this model to be a benefit to both lead pastors, the congregation and the church staff.
In addition, the survey results demonstrated that our congregation has many expectations for the next lead pastor and that these duties might be too extensive for a single person to take on.
We are excited to be able to recommend this robust leadership model to our congregation and believe that God has led us in this direction.
If you’re curious about the co-lead pastor roles and responsibilities, you can view the Co-lead Pastor Job Description.
28 Day Prayer Guide
FAQ and Q&A Videos
Co-Lead Pastor Recommendation
Frequently Asked Questions
Q #1 – How many people did you consider/interview? What sorting processes did you use?
A #1 – The Search Team collected 20 resumes before the deadline. About 6 came later. Each person’s resume was sorted as follows:
- Had they submitted a cover letter, a personal resume, and answered all of the questions listed in the Opportunity Profile (OP)? If not, the person was placed in a secondary category.
- Did the person’s answers reflect the priorities and experiences that were necessary as outlined in the OP and as described more thoroughly in the Critical Leadership Requirements document?
- Did their overall ability to express themselves meet our expectations?
Q #2 – What led you to the co-lead pastor model/concept?
A #2 – The combination of the following:
- Constant prayer for God’s guidance by the entire congregation
- Our openness to God’s direction for Forward at this time in our history.
- The results of the congregational and staff/Elders surveys
- Interviews with several individuals and leaders of larger churches in the Canadian context
- More prayer
- Two strong internal candidates
Q #3 – To whom will they be accountable?
A #3 – To the Lord, to the Elders, to each other
Q #4 – How will they divide their responsibilities and resolve differences/conflict?
A #4 – Several steps have been taken and/or are in process:
- Comprehensive, joint ministry descriptions that outline both shared and separate responsibilities
- A mutually developed and signed covenant agreement that includes a process for resolving disagreements
- Some further testing and counseling by a trained professional
Q #5 – What will happen to the Kitchener site? Will Derik be involved there in any significant way?
A #5 – Here are the proposed steps:
- Derik will no longer be in Kitchener on a weekly basis, but both Kirk and Derik will still speak there several times during the year.
- We will begin a search for a new site Pastor for Kitchener
- Both Derik and Kirk intend to serve both sites in order to strengthen the goal of being one church meeting in different locations across the region.
Q #6 – Do we have sufficient money in the budget for this proposal?
A #6 – We have prepared our budget for 2020-21 with this scenario in mind. Budgets in the past several years have included salaries for both a Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor. Moving from that scenario to Co-Lead Pastors does not require a major budget adjustment.
Q #7 – In broad terms, what will be the division of responsibilities?
A #7 – Please watch the video they prepared that shares their personal stories, how they came to understand God’s leading to respond positively to the Search Team’s idea (Confirmed by the Elders), and how they will approach serving together.
Q#8 – What about the future involvement of Steve Adams?
A #8 – The Elders have a verbal agreement with Steve for a minimum number of speaking dates per year (10) commencing at time of the new leadership implementation. As well, Steve will continue to oversee the Global Outreach ministry. Discussions will continue between Steve, the co-leaders, and the Elders board with regards to future ministry.
Q#9 – What roles would Keith Sparrow and Greg Patus have in this new co-lead setup?
A#9 – Keith would continue to be a valuable member of the senior staff team primarily responsible for worship and technical support. Greg would continue to provide much needed pastoral care and counseling support for our Forward family.
Q #10 – What does this mean for other staff and their roles?
A #10 – Kirk and Derik will take appropriate time to discuss all the staff and what they do to advance the mission and vision of Forward. They affirm their love for the staff here and hope to see everyone thriving in their calling in ministry.
Q#11 – Have Derik and Kirk had an opportunity to work together since the decision was made by the Elders to introduce the co-lead model and to recommend them for those roles?
A#11 – Yes, they have met often and been in almost constant contact regarding various church matters/issues that needed their input.
Q#12 – Have you, Kirk, had any prior experience as a church pastor and/or ministry leader?
A#12 – Yes, as Assistant Pastor in a local church for a season. Also, I have served as an Elder in churches for most of the past 20 years. I have given overall leadership to Promise Keepers Canada for past 11 years.
Q#13 – Is Kirk ordained as a pastor?
A#13 – In our church and denomination, a person is not required to be ordained to serve as a Lead Pastor. However, the process is important for a person serving in a leadership, preaching role (see below). The Elders will begin the process of ordination for Kirk within the guidelines of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada (our denominational affiliation).
FYI – Here is an explanation about the ordination process. Ordination for ministry is a process by which a local church, with the assistance of other Fellowship Baptist local church leadership teams and denominational leaders, examines a candidate based on his personal life, his experience in ministry, and his deeply held beliefs about the doctrines and position statements of Forward Church. The candidate prepares a document which is reviewed and discussed by peers before and at an actual Ordination Council called for that purpose by Forward. A decision is made by that Council to recommend or defer the candidate’s ordination. The ordination process reflects the process used by other professions that have “colleges” that protect professional conduct and standards within that profession.
Q#14 – Please outline some long-term and short-term goals for the ministry of Forward Church?
A#14 – COVID makes a lot of short-term goals challenging – rules are changing all the time. Much more could be written, but here is a summary:
- Some short-term goals would be:
- Find a site pastor for Kitchener
- Engage Kirk with the day-to-day operations of the church
- Serve the church as co-leaders during this uncertain season
- Some long-term goals would be:
- Strengthen our intentional discipleship of all ages using Love God – Love Others – Serve the World as our core mission
- Continue to strengthen our commitment to outreach through both central locations (like the Cambridge building) and by helping the church family reach others in our everyday life.
- Leadership development plans to help facilitate these ministry initiatives (Develop and oversee the leadership pipeline strategies that the Elders had begun to discuss in early 2020)
- Develop increased online and in person ministry experiences – for Sunday mornings and throughout the week
- Continue to develop as a multi-site / multiplying church – new sites; church planting
Q#15 – How do you think COVID will impact the church?
A#15 – Many church consultants are discussing this issue, but no one knows exactly how Forward will be impacted at this time. The Elders are discussing potential new opportunities and changes that are arising as a result of the pandemic.
Q#16 – What is the timeline for starting?
A#16 – Because of his current ministry responsibilities, Derik is expected to start immediately upon approval of the recommendation by the church membership. Kirk is expected to finish his current ministry obligations with Promise Keepers Canada and join Derik as Co-Lead Pastor on November 1, 2020.
Q#17 – Does the new by-law require that Forward Church would always choose a co-lead pastor model?
A#17 – No, the changes to the by-law allow for a variety of Lead Pastor models.
Q#18 – How can I vote if I feel that only one candidate is qualified for the position?
A#18 – This proposal is based on much prayer and an understanding of compatibility, shared and varying skills by the candidates. Essentially, we are voting for both only.
Q#19 – What is the future direction of our digital ministry?
A#19 – We acknowledge that digital often is the first step for someone, leading them to the point of attending church in person. We also understand that digital will remain a part of church for reaching our community and for discipleship within our church body. For this reason, we will monitor these channels and invest in technology to reach and disciple people.