To the members of Surfside Presbyterian Church: As you know the Shepherding Committee of Pee Dee Presbytery has been helping us with decisions regarding our pastoral search process. As a result of these prayerful deliberations, the Session of SPC, in concert with the Shepherding Committee, and the Pulpit Committee of SPC, has unanimously agreed to call a congregational meeting for 10:30 a.m. on June 24th 2018 in the church sanctuary for the purpose of voting on the candidacy of Associate Pastor Tim Melton. This meeting will be moderated by Rev. John Bumgardner of the Pee Dee Presbytery Shepherding Committee. Below you will read three (3) letters from: The Shepherding Committee of Pee Dee Presbytery, The Pulpit Committee of SPC, and The Session of SPC. Please read these letters carefully so you will have a full understanding of how we have come together in the making of this decision by the grace of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
RE Will Parker, Clerk of Session, May 25, 2018
Notice from the Shepherding Committee of Pee Dee Presbytery:
We, the Shepherding Committee of Pee Dee Presbytery, have been meeting with the Session, Pulpit Committee, and Pastor Melton. We have been greatly encouraged by the willingness shown by all parties to reconcile the differences occurring during this transitional period within your church. Their submissions to the authority of Christ and to each other, shown through their forgiving spirits, have been wonderful to experience.
We were invited by your Session into your church to, among other needs, review the pastoral transition process and to help identify areas needing correction or improvement. In that review, we have found the congregation was promised a vote to be held on whether or not Pastor Melton should be the next senior pastor of Surfside. We have also found that the vast majority of people to whom we have talked want that vote to occur. So, we have recommended to the above groups that a vote should take place. We have also reviewed the Pulpit Committee’s recommendation of Pastor Melton to the congregation and find its wording to be in accord with the Book of Church Order. The Session, Pulpit Committee, and Pastor Melton are all in agreement with our findings on the vote and on the recommendation of Pastor Melton for that vote.
Your session will set a date for the congregational meeting so this vote can be held and one of the Shepherding Committee’s Teaching Elders will moderate that meeting. Our committee continues to pray for Surfside during this time. We also want the church to know that, regardless the vote’s outcome, our commitment and counsel to Surfside’s leadership will continue for as long as we are needed. It is our hope that the spirit of love and submission to the authority of Christ shown by your leadership will continue to encourage your congregation to come together in that same spirit during this time of pastoral transition.
Blessings in Christ,
Pee Dee Presbytery
Notice from the Pulpit Committee:
We stand before you in thanksgiving for what the Lord has allowed Surfside to experience under the leadership and ministry of Rev. Julian Riddle. By God’s wisdom, Pastor Riddle’s health has now made it too difficult for him to continue to pastor this church, so this Pulpit Committee was elected by the congregation of Surfside to seek out the man God has already chosen to be our next shepherd.
To do this, we have guidelines available through our denomination, the Book of Church Order, and most importantly, God’s holy and eternal Word to help us in our search. Because of the rigors of ordination administered by our denomination, we can proceed with confidence that most of the men we will interview to become our next pastor meet the spiritual and academic qualifications put forth in our denominational documents. We can also proceed with confidence that, as much as humanly possible, each candidate has been vetted by the PCA’s ordination process to meet the biblical requirements to become our next pastor.
Therefore, because of the strength of our denominational preparation and examination for ordination giving us the possibility of many denominationally and Biblically qualified applicants from whom to choose, it becomes equally important in our selection process that the discretion of the Pulpit Committee be used wisely in choosing the candidate we present to you, the congregation, to be voted on as our next pastor. So, prayer for insight to judge the suitability of each candidate to lead our church takes on the utmost importance.
Our experience tells us that a pastoral candidate, even though denominationally and Biblically qualified to be a Teaching Elder, must also possess the gifting necessary to lead a certain church. Many factors influence the successful matching of a candidate with a church. For example, types of ministries, congregational size and make up, culture, and location all have to be considered when seeking a church’s next pastor. So, it becomes imperative to ask the Lord for insight into the fitness of candidates to minister in these and other areas as we conduct our search.
As we examined Pastor Melton we found him to be qualified denominationally and Biblically to be a Teaching Elder. We have also found him to be a gifted counselor. We know and enjoy his wife, Martha Jo, and children, Callie and Camp, lifting them up in our prayers regularly. We have also been able to witness his ministry for the past fifteen years he has served here, so we feel we have sufficient experience to decide whether or not Pastor Melton is the right man to fill the senior pastor role at Surfside. After interview, prayer, and deliberation, our committee made the decision that even though we feel Pastor Melton was qualified to be a Teaching Elder in the PCA with certain ministerial gifting to offer a congregation, we did not feel he was the right man to become the next senior pastor of Surfside.
However due to Pastor Melton’s long service to our church and his willingness to reinstate his closed candidacy, the Pulpit Committee believes that, for the peace and harmony of Surfside, and to seek additional guidance from God in this decision, we should present Pastor Melton to the congregation as a candidate for Senior Pastor. This will allow your vote to decide God’s will concerning whether he is the best candidate to fill this role. And if, by God’s will, Pastor Melton is elected by this congregation of our brothers and sisters in Christ, according to the Book of Church Order requirements, and accepts this call, we, the Pulpit Committee, will gladly submit to Pastor Melton’s leadership and support the ministries of this church with our energies and abilities, trusting our Lord to enable Pastor Melton to lead our church into its future.
For His Glory,
The Pulpit Committee
Notice from the Session of SPC:
As you know, last month the Session requested the involvement of the Shepherding Committee of the Pee Dee Presbytery for their guidance and recommendations regarding the selection process for the next Senior Pastor of Surfside Presbyterian Church. After meeting with the Session and the Pulpit Committee, and after a period of prayer and deliberation, the Shepherding Committee has recommended that the Session set a date for a congregational meeting to vote on the candidacy of Associate Pastor Tim Melton to become Senior Pastor at Surfside Presbyterian Church. In conformity with that recommendation, the Pulpit Committee has unanimously referred to the Session a request that a congregational meeting be held to vote on the candidacy of Associate Pastor Tim Melton for Senior Pastor of SPC. Having previously agreed to submit to the recommendations of the Shepherding Committee regarding the selection of our next senior pastor the Session has unanimously agreed to call a congregational meeting for 10:30 a.m. on June 24th 2018 in the church sanctuary for the purpose of voting on the candidacy of Associate Pastor Tim Melton.
In His Service,