Lead Pastor Profile

Mark Henderson   -  

Lead Pastor Profile Guide (Approved April 8, 2020)
For a Transitional Search Process

Since its inception in 1963, Christ Community Church (formerly named First Evangelical Free Church) has sought to be led in its mission and ministry in Ames, Iowa by a partnership between a senior (or lead) pastor, the church’s leadership boards, and its congregational membership. Over its (almost) 57-year history, four men have served as senior pastor.

1965-1971 Milo Lundell (left to serve in Trinity Evangelical Divinity School administration)

1972-1979 Jim Parrish (left to pursue a career in Christian counseling)

1979-1991 Dean Johnson (left to become an EFCA District superintendent)

1993-present David Staff (date for transition-to-semi retirement set)

By the grace of God, Christ Community has grown from an original membership group of 26 to a membership today of approximately 450, from a weekly worship attendance of under 100 to some 1300 who would call this ministry their spiritual home.

In the past 25 years, by the grace of God and the leadership of the Lord Jesus, Christ Community has navigated some significant developments:

  • STAFF: A full-time and part-time staff now numbering 30+, along with several staff structure changes (notably in 2007 and 2018-2019)
  • CAMPUS: A campus relocation from 4.8 acres to 75 acres, costing over $14 million dollars, through stages which happened from 1999-2014.
  • LEADERSHIP: A leadership-structure by-law revision (2006-2007) streamlining overall ministry health management into one Board (Missional Leadership Board), and the adoption of a Leadership Pipeline approach (2018)
  • MISSIONS: The adoption of “Focus Field” international missions investment, expressed in a commitment to support both longer-term missionaries and shorter-term teams in chosen areas (e.g., Central Asia/1040 window, Bolivia, Haiti) for disciple-making and church planting
  • OUTWARD FOCUS: The transition from traditional ministry outreaches to more community-based outreaches (e.g., The Church Has Left the Building weekends, the Perfect Gift, Summer “Thrive,” and Upward Flag-football, Cheerleading, and Basketball)
  • WORSHIP: The transition from a singular worship style (or language) to a venue-crafted worship approach (i.e., Catalyst and Classic)
  • MISSION AND VISION: The clarification and adoption of a Vision Frame approach to ministry (Mission, Strategy, Values, and Measures), expressed in Vision Proper ministry initiatives (Family Enrichment and International Care)
  • DOCTRINAL: the cooperative adoption of the revised EFCA doctrinal statements (2006, 2019)
  • SUPPORT: the development of a well-functioning Support Ministries team, including Operations, campus management and scheduling, data management and administration, technology, communications, financial oversight, and volunteer Safety and Emergency readiness teams.


Over time, the “success” factors (if you will) for this ministry have become increasingly decentralized. While in a smaller church much of the success depends on the leadership of a senior/lead pastor, in our context accomplishing our mission with momentum and fruitfulness depends on a larger team of key volunteer and staff leaders.

The overall health of our ministry depends on a Missional Leadership Board which both leads well and listens well to Christ Community’s membership and requires staff leadership to equip the larger body for the mission of this ministry. The health of our staff and its leadership of the body is the responsibility of Christ Community’s senior pastor and executive pastor, and secondarily that of the staff “ministry leaders” (those who lead our Gather, Connect, and Serve strategies, as well as Support/Operations).

Nonetheless, in our current structure (and likely to be true into the future), the senior or lead pastor will continue to “set the pace” for the staff, the Missional Leadership Board, the members, and Christ Community Church’s larger constituency in the following ways:

1) LEADING VISION: The Senior/Lead Pastor’s position description requires that he give key leadership to the mission (i.e., Vision Frame execution) and development of vision (i.e., Vision Proper) of Christ Community.

2) PRINCIPAL TEACHING: The Senior/Lead Pastor will likely be the primary teacher of the Scriptures (i.e., apostolic doctrine, and the whole counsel of Scripture), as well as a key guardian regarding what is taught throughout the ministry. The Lead Pastor will be the “voice” of Christ Community’s ministry.

3)  STAFF MANAGEMENT: In tandem with our existing Executive Pastor and staff Ministry Leaders, ultimately responsible for all matters related to the composition, health, integrity, encouragement/development of staff, personnel budget and policy.

4)  MEMBERSHIP LEADERSHIP and SHEPHERDING: In tandem with the Missional Leadership Board, the encouragement of membership growth, the clarification of important Biblical and missional matters for the membership, and the shepherding of those who are members (officially).

5)  PARTICIPATION: Exemplary, personal participation in Christ Community’s key ministry arenas (involved in the ministry’s strategies, expressing the ministry’s values, growing in the ministry’s life-question measures)

6)  COOPERATION: energizing a cooperative partnership with district and international EFCA ministries

All of these matters should help inform any profile of Christ Community’s next lead pastor as we step through a 1-2 year process of pastoral transition.


This compilation below outlines the profile of a qualified candidate for consideration for the lead pastor leadership role at Christ Community Church. It is for the Missional Leadership Board to discuss and sharpen and/or revise this profile for eventual use in steps taken to search for Christ Community’s next lead pastor.


  • Completed or actively pursuing a Master’s degree (M.Div., M.A., or Th.M.) from an accredited, evangelical theological seminary
  • Eight (8) years in full-time, vocational Christian ministry
  • Affirms without reservation the Evangelical Free Church of America Statement of Faith



  • Approximately 5 years in a leadership role, with oversight and development responsibility for other leaders and ministry staff
  • Experience as a primary teaching pastor with effective delivery
  • Track record of having grown a ministry numerically and spiritually with a focus on disciple-making
  • Success in creating a pathway for visitors to join the life of the church
  • Track record of accomplished community outreach
  • Experience with multicultural ministry and community

Skill Set

  • LEADERSHIP: demonstrated competence in envisioning a ministry’s future (shepherding change management) and effective management of the organization
  • COMMUNICATION: demonstrated communication gift (verbal and written) in clear, compelling, and relevant teaching of Scripture texts and Christian doctrine
  • RELATIONSHIPS: demonstrated ability in healthy interpersonal relationships and conflict management

Theological Foundation

  • CREDENTIALS: credentialed (or will pursue credentialing) within the EFCA ministerial association
  • BALANCED: demonstrated commitment which avoids “majoring on minors” and/or “minoring on majors” Biblically and theologically

Ministry Philosophy

▪ MISSION AND VISION: eager to give leadership to Christ Community Church’s Vision Frame ministry philosophy and Vision Proper future.


  • Personally growing in a vibrant, exemplary walk with Jesus Christ (maintains and develops spiritual disciplines)
  • Openly accountable to identified godly colleagues and mentors
  • Nurtures a growing love for and discipleship commitment to his wife and their children
  • Demonstrates humility, teachability, and maintains a healthy pace