In August, after 17 years of lovingly serving the Wake Forest Baptist Church Family, Dr. Bill Slater retired as our Senior Pastor. We are thankful for the ways the Lord used Dr. Slater to shepherd our congregation and community. As we move through the process of finding our new Senior Pastor, we invite you to check this page for news and updates.
November 6, 2023
We are thrilled to share with you, now publicly, that Dr. Jeff P. Mathis has accepted the call to be the next Senior Pastor of Wake Forest Baptist Church. Following an overwhelming affirmative church vote on Sunday, October 29th, Dr. Mathis (Jeff) accepted our invitation and shared this important news with his current congregation in Sylva, NC yesterday, November 5.
Jeff has served the last 12 years as the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Silva, NC. He is married to Rebecca and they have two teenage children, Zeb and Ellen. The Mathis family will begin their transition to Wake Forest at the end of the year and Jeff will begin his work at WFBC in early January. We are excited to welcome the entire Mathis family to WFBC and to the Wake Forest community. Please continue to be in prayer for Jeff and the Mathis family, for our church, and for the First Baptist Church of Silva in these days of transition.
To learn more about Dr. Jeff Mathis and his family, please click here. Please join us in celebrating this good news, in praying for all involved, and seeking God’s continued leadership and provision in the days ahead.
October 15, 2023
We are so excited to announce our plans for Call Weekend, one of the last steps in the process for selection of a new Senior Pastor for Wake Forest Baptist Church. You will have multiple opportunities to meet the candidate and their family! We so appreciate your prayers during this process, and ask that you continue praying for the Team, for the candidate, and for God’s blessings upon this very special weekend!
Friday, October 27
5:30-8:00 p.m.-Candidate meeting and dinner with Pastor Search Team / Diaconate / Leadership Council
Saturday, October 28
10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.-Churchwide Fall Festival at WFBC. All ages are invited! The Candidate will join in the fun by 11:30, and for a period of time following the Fall Festival, the candidate will be available to meet children’s families and children’s leaders in the Fellowship Hall.
1:30-3:30 p.m.-Everyone is invited to the Stephenson Center for a meet & greet with the candidate and family. The first 90 minutes will be for introductions/mingling with the last half-hour for Q&A with the candidate, Cookies & drinks will be provided.
5:30-7:30 p.m.-Pizza dinner and fellowship in the Youth Center. All youth, youth parents, and youth leaders are invited. Registration is requested to secure enough food. Look for the registration link in your Youth email.
Sunday, October 29
8:45-10:30 a.m.-If you were unable to attend Saturday’s “meet and greet”, come to the Fellowship Hall for another opportunity to meet with the candidate and family. The first hour will be introductions/mingling, and the last half-hour will be Q&A with the candidate. Coffee, juice, and donuts will be provided. Childcare will be available for children Birth-2s, the playground will be available for all children (with a parent’s supervision).
11:00 a.m.-One service only, and the candidate will preach with a special church conference with vote to call the candidate as our new Senior Pastor. Worship care will be provided for Birth- Preschool children.
August 20, 2023
Dear Wake Forest Baptist Church,
We are incredibly grateful for your unwavering support and steadfast prayers as we continue the search for our new Senior Pastor. Your prayers have been a source of strength and guidance for us, and we are truly humbled by your dedication.
Over the past month, our Senior Pastor Search Team has been hard at work. Through many Zoom meetings and the careful review of sermons, we have had the privilege of engaging with a remarkable group of candidates. We are happy to let you know that we have completed this initial phase of interview process. Through prayerful consideration and group discussions, we have narrowed down the list to a smaller group of candidates with whom we will continue to have deeper discussions. This marks an important milestone in our journey, and we believe that God’s hand is guiding us every step of the way.
Please join us in praying for wisdom, discernment, and God’s guidance as we enter the next phase of the interview process.
~Senior Pastor Search Team
May 22, 2023
The Wake Forest Baptist Church Transition Team is pleased to announce that our Congregational and Pastor Profile is now available for viewing here, as a joint document. We are grateful for the congregation’s participation in the three congregational conversations held in January, February, and March of this year. A great deal of the information contained within the profiles comes from the congregation’s responses and insights during these three conversations.
The WFBC congregation invited the Center for Healthy Churches (CHC) to assist in the transition and pastor search process in June 2022. CHC will now use the Congregational Profile to recruit candidates for the senior pastor position and help those candidates learn more about the history and outstanding ministry of our church. The Senior Pastor Search Team likewise will utilize the Pastor Profile, developed by participants in the third congregational conversation, to guide their work in finding the person God is leading to serve as the next senior pastor of this church family.
The Transition Team has worked diligently since our third congregational conversation in March to organize and write these this profile. Stacy Fleming, our Communications Specialist, provided the graphic design of the document. Stacy’s gifts of graphic design shine brightly in both profiles. Lisa McLemore has served as our general editor, checking the document for grammatical errors and weaving the multiple writers’ words into a unified voice. Ryan Keith, along with many other contributed photos, spent months documenting various church events with his photographic eye. Rev. Ryan Wilson, serving as the staff liaison to the Transition Team, offered helpful insights that have improved these two profiles significantly. We owe a debt of gratitude to our Transition Team members, along with Stacy Fleming, Lisa McLemore, Ryan Keith and Ryan Wilson, who worked tirelessly in this process and deserve our applause and gratitude.
The profile is dedicated to our beloved Transition Team Chair Joe Kenney, who died unexpectedly this past February. Joe’s heart and spirit motivated and encouraged the early work of our Transition Team. We celebrate his many contributions to the life of our church and specifically to the work of this team.
The tasks that the Transition Team began last October have now been completed with the conclusion of our three congregational conversations and the Congregational and Pastor Profiles. We now turn our attention to supporting prayerfully the Senior Pastor Search Team as this team begins the process in the coming weeks of preparing for initial interviews with pastoral candidates. Please remember to pray daily at 6:35 pm — 18:35 military time reminding us of the year God birthed Wake Forest Baptist Church almost 188 years ago — for our search team and for the church’s next pastor and that person’s family. Let us fully seek God’s will and God’s best for this church family in the days ahead — nothing less, nothing more, nothing else!
Blessings in Christ,
Interim Senior Pastor and Transition Coach
Transition Team Members: Joe Kenney, Chair; Leigh Berrier, Gene Cross, Paula Goodson, Katherine Goodwin, Aaron Kirk, Kristi Leff, Dave Leonard, Todd Lesley, and Jo Ann Stancil
February 20, 2023
After considering the nominations presented by the congregation, the following individuals have been selected to serve on our Senior Pastor Search Team:
- Mike Tedder – Chair
- Esther Austin
- Ron Bowman
- Mike Dishman
- Sally Ishikawa
- Aaron Kirk
- Alice Leonard
- Holden McLemore
- Anne Packett
- Sherry Upton
We feel this group reflects the demographics of our congregation and represents faithful and committed individuals who have been involved in many of the church’s missions and ministry programs. Please be in prayer for this group and our church as we work towards understanding what God has in store for Wake Forest Baptist Church in our search for a new senior pastor.
February 6, 2023
Congregational Conversation 2; February 26
9:00 – 10:30 AM in the Fellowship Hall
Mark your calendar for our next Congregational Conversation on Sunday, February 26; 9:00-10:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall. We are asking all participants to register today so we can plan properly. Even if you registered for the first Conversation, we are asking that you register again. If you were not able to attend the first Conversation, you are absolutely welcome to attend any of the remaining events. We look forward to continuing the momentum toward finding our new Senior Pastor. Register at here.
Timeline of Wake Forest Baptist Church
The timeline below was shared at our first Congregational Conversation, visually displaying history of Wake Forest Baptist Church. If you need help reading the details on your computer screen, you can right-click on an image and open it in a new window to view a larger version. You can also view the entire timeline here.
January 10, 2023
Congregational Conversation 1; January 26
9:00 – 10:30 AM in the Fellowship Hall
This is the first of three church-wide discussions as we move ahead in our search for a new Senior Pastor. These conversations are critical in developing an appropriate profile of our church and it is our desire that everyone attends, whether you have been a member for one month or fifty years! Childcare is available for children ages 0-5th grade. However, 3rd-5th graders are welcome to join the conversation at their parents’ discretion.
In-person participation is requested, but accommodations can be made for those that may need to join virtually. There is space to indicate this need on the registration form below.
December 5, 2022
November 7, 2022
At the November 6 Church Conference, the Transition Team submitted a plan for our three congregational conversations, which will take place from 9:00-10:30am on the following Sundays: January 29th (Consecration Sunday), February 26 (Children’s Ministry Sunday), and March 26 (Disciple Now Weekend). To accommodate these congregation-wide conversations, there will not be an 8:30am service on those Sundays and there will only be Bible Study for children 5th grade and younger. Childcare will be provided.
September 2022- A Note From Your Interim Pastor and Transition Coach
Many people are familiar with the work of an interim pastor – an individual that a congregation calls to serve between the departure of one senior pastor and the calling of a new one. But what about the work of a transition coach? How will that process evolve at Wake Forest Baptist Church?
Already you have made two important decisions on this journey of eventually calling a new senior pastor. First, you have invited the Center for Healthy Churches several months ago to guide the senior pastor search process and, specifically, you have called me to serve as your interim pastor and transition coach. I’m honored and excited to be a part of the WFBC family in the coming months. Second, the congregation elected a Transition Team on September 11 chaired by Joe Kenney and composed of the following team members: Leigh Berrier, Gene Cross, Paula Goodson, Katherine Goodwin, Aaron Kirk, Kristy Leff, Todd Lesley, Dave Leonard, and Jo Ann Stancil. I will train and orient that team for their work on Sunday afternoon, October 16.
We will then invite the entire congregation in the coming months to participate in a self-study phase that includes three, 90-minute congregational conversations (see chart) that will address our past, present, and future as a church family. We ask that you plan to attend all three congregational conversations. From those three congregational conversations, the Transition Team will then assemble the data, comments, insights, and reflections that you generate and create two documents (see chart): a Congregational Profile and a Senior Pastor Profile. Later next year when the church elects a Senior Pastor Search Team, these two documents will guide their process of seeking a new senior pastor. The Center for Healthy Churches will bring to your Senior Pastor Search Team 8-10 pastoral candidates that represents the qualities, traits, and strengths you have identified (Senior Pastor Profile) needed for Wake Forest Baptist Church to live into a new future God is creating. The Congregational Profile will introduce Wake Forest Baptist Church to these pastoral candidates and help them discern whether God is leading them toward a deeper conversation with your Senior Pastor Search Team.
Several core values will undergird our work together:
- We are not seeking to hire a new senior pastor; rather, we are engaging in a spiritual discernment process that invites God’s Spirit to guide us on this journey. Our key question is not, “What do you or we want for our church or next senior pastor?”, but rather “Who does God intend for us to be and who is God leading us to call as our next senior pastor?”
- The process is radically congregational and honors you as the experts on the life of your church, emphasizing each person’s participation in the three congregational conversations.
- We will focus on what is right about Wake Forest Baptist Church and build on those core values and strengths as we prepare for God’s future for our church.
I look forward to sharing this exciting journey with you, a journey that is now entering its 188th year. Please let me know if you have questions that need clarification. Most importantly, let’s join hand and heart together as we pray and seek the mind of Christ on behalf of the Wake Forest Baptist Church family.
Your Transition Pastor and Coach,
Slides Regarding the Interim Time and Process
During our June Church Conference WFBC voted for the Center for Healthy Churches to provide guidance through our Senior Pastor search process. Along with CHC approval, our Interim pastor and consultant/coach, Dr. Greg Rogers, was also approved. This is a winning combination and WFBC is blessed to have this team for guidance. If you would like to read more about Center for Healthy Churches and/or Dr. Greg Rogers please check the information on our church website.
CHC will guide our church through a self-study process led by a church-elected Transition Team, followed by a church-elected Senior Pastor Search Team/Committee that will ultimately lead to a church-elected Senior Pastor.
We anticipate that Dr. Greg Rogers, our Transition Senior Pastor and consultant/coach for the self-study and senior pastor search process, will begin training the newly elected Transition Team in September 2022. We hope to lay the spiritual groundwork later this fall through sermons, Wednesday night studies, and church-wide prayer opportunities that will allow us to conduct three congregational conversations in January, February and March 2023. The Transition Team will take the data derived from these three congregational conversations to create both a Congregational Profile and Senior Pastor Profile. This will be an invaluable identity tool for us as a church, for the Senior Pastor Search Committee, and for our new
prospective Senior Pastor. These two profiles will guide the work of the Senior Pastor Search Committee/Team once it is elected by the church during this process.