In 1997, Pastor Fraser Venter accepted a ministry appointment from the Free Methodist Denomination of Southern California to be Lead Pastor of a church called Cucamonga Christian Fellowship (CCF). Here, from the pulpit to the prayer closet and everywhere in between, Pastor Fraser & JoAnne Venter have loved and led this church family in remarkable ways.
After prayerfully considering what God has in the season ahead, now marks the time to begin the transition into a new chapter and a new season, particularly when it comes to the leadership of CCF.
While an exact timeline is still unknown, we anticipate that the process of finding, interviewing, and approving an applicant (followed by saying goodbye to the Venters) will take place over the next 4 – 6 months.
For now, please take some time to listen to the video, as they share their hearts about this update on what is next for them, and for our CCF family. And join us in praying for this season ahead and all that God will do in and through us as we prepare for a new Lead Pastor.
THE PROCESS FOR APPOINTING A NEW LEAD PASTOR
The Free Methodist Church USA seeks to love God, love people and make disciples. At Free Methodist churches around the nation, we see this vision lived out in powerful and unique ways, and Cucamonga Christian Fellowship (CCF) is no exception.
In Scripture, we read about Jesus calling the twelve disciples (or apostles) into the work of the ministry. After walking with Jesus, and being sent by him to preach the gospel message, teach Kingdom living, baptize and make disciples, the men and women who had come to know and worship Jesus as Lord also raised up leaders for the growing Christian community.
The process of allowing the Spirit to raise men and women to be ordained for ministry and appointed to serve in particular locations has its roots in the New Testament. This model of church governance and appointments form the core understanding of how the Free Methodist Church identifies and deploys pastoral leadership within communities and congregations.
Following are some simple questions and answers about the appointment system of the Free Methodist Church. As we follow these procedural guidelines in the process of searching for and appointing a new Lead Pastor to Cucamonga Christian Fellowship, we trust that this information will be helpful to you.
Q. Who appoints pastors?
A. The Ministerial Appointments Committee (MAC).
CCF is part of the Southern California Conference of the Free Methodist Church, which means those who have been nominated and appointed to the FMCSC Ministerial Appointments Committee will take the lead on vetting, interviewing, recommending and appointing our new Lead Pastor.
Q. How long are Pastors appointed to a congregation?
A. While the appointment can be indefinite, Pastors can also be reappointed at anytime based on the wisdom and discretion of the MAC. Each year, as part of preparations for the FMCSC Annual Conference, a comprehensive list of appointments is reviewed and finalized.
At CCF, we have been historically blessed with long appointments and our church has found great stability and consistency through the leadership of people like Pastor Fraser Venter (24+) and Pastor Melanie Neilson (22+).
Q. What (and who) will give input to the decision of our new Lead Pastor?
A. The Executive Staff have prepared a Local Church Profile (which has been approved by the Servants Council) to provide to the MAC in preparation for their search. This document gives an overview of CCF, and the core vision, values, history and other information that would be important for candidates to know when considering an application to become Lead Pastor.
The current Lead Pastor & FMCSC Superintendents can also give input on the needs of the church, and any attributes that an ideal candidate would have for this ministry appointment.
Once the MAC has identified a strong candidate, they will make their recommendation to those who serve as our Delegates to the FMCSC from among those serving on our Servants Council (church board) and key CCF lay leaders.
The candidate would then meet with our Servant Council as a whole, who would then provide feedback to the Superintendent via a brief survey, recommending that the MAC continues or discontinues their efforts to appoint the candidate as the new Lead Pastor of CCF.
Q. What are some considerations that will influence the decision of the MAC on the candidate that they will recommend?
A. It is important to know that the MAC always desires this to be a successful and smooth process. An important part of the process is ensuring that they do not appoint a pastor that does not want to come to a specific church, or appoint a pastor that the church (by representation through the board and delegates) does not want to have appointed there. Key factors that will be considered are:
- Needs of the Kingdom of God
- Needs of the community
- Pastor’s gifts/emphasis (preaching, evangelism, administration etc)
- Needs of the church
- Perspective of the conference Superintendents
- Church/Pastor personality match
- Pastor’s family needs (children’s ages, schooling etc)
- Evaluation of Board (Servants Council)
- Evaluation of Delegates
- Growth patterns of the church & various ministries
- Financial trends of the church
- Perspective of MAC
- Professional history of Pastor
- Local Church Profile (document)
- Community perspective of the church
- Opinion/wishes of Pastor’s spouse (if applicable)
- Relationship/cooperation of Pastor with Peers, Conference & Denomination
HOW YOU CAN BE PRAYING
PRAYERS FOR THE VENTERS
Please join us in praying for Pastor Fraser, JoAnne, and their family as they navigate the season ahead and the many "lasts" that it will hold at CCF. This has been their church community for almost 25 years, and there is bound to be hope for the future AND grief of the loss in this change.
PRAYERS FOR THE PROCESS
We believe that God has amazing things in store for our church, as we continue to be a place to connect under the leadership of someone new. Please be praying that the MAC, the Superintendents, our Delegates and Servants Council would have wisdom in choosing who that person will be.
PRAYERS FOR OUR CCF FAMILY
We have been blessed by the long tenure of Pastor Fraser here at CCF, particularly as we navigated the uncertainty of the last 18 months as a church family. We know it will be hard to say goodbye, but we celebrate Pastor Fraser and what God has ahead for him, his family and for CCF.
Over the coming months, stay in the loop with the process and the search for the new Lead Pastor of CCF through regular update videos.VIDEO UPDATES AVAILABLE NOW
In addition to being appointed as Lead Pastor at Cucamonga Christian Fellowship, Pastor Fraser also currently serves as a Conference Superintendent in Southern California. Superintendent/s play a vital role in the process of new Lead Pastor appointments, but Pastor Fraser is recused from this part of the process and leaning on his fellow Superintendents to serve CCF in this capacity, as they've done before.FMCSC SUPERINTENDENTS
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Change can be hard for anyone, and particularly after the last 18 months, we know that many are still navigating feelings of loss and grief. You are not alone. There is hope. And our Counseling Center is a great resource for you to process, heal and find hope for the season ahead.LEARN MORE
STAY TUNED FOR THE CELEBRATION!
What an honor and privilege it has been to sit under the leadership and care of Pastor Fraser & Jo Anne Venter at Cucamonga Christian Fellowship. Before we say goodbye, and pray over them for the season ahead, we will be most definitely be taking time to celebrate the 25 years of leadership and love they have shown our church family.SHARE A MEMORY OR ENCOURAGEMENT