Bethel Senior Pastor Transition

A Message from Dave

“Two times now you have mentioned from the pulpit that you are thinking about retiring or stepping down from your role at Bethel. Don’t say that again. I called you. I’ll let you know when it’s time to go.”


Dave Bechtel update (Feb 28, 2017)

Dave Bechtel update (Feb 22, 2017)

Dave Bechtel and Greg Cullen give an update (Jan 24, 2017)

Letter from Bethel Elder, Greg Cullen (January 22, 2017)
If you’ve been following our Senior Pastor search, you may know that we’ve had two Senior Pastor candidates visit Bethel in the past month. Both candidates had formal interviews with the Selection Committee, followed by a day of various activities including time with Dave B., others on the Selection Committee, tours of all three campuses, and lunch with a Chemistry Team made of both staff and Bethel members. The purpose of the Chemistry Team was to gather feedback from others outside of the Selection Committee about the candidate’s ability to “fit” in at Bethel and on staff, as well as give their first impressions about the candidate’s leadership, vision, etc.

In total, Vanderbloemen has provided Bethel with 11 candidates, of which we video interviewed 8, and brought 3 to the Tri-Cities to meet face-to-face. All of the candidates were Godly men of the highest caliber, and we were glad that the second slate of candidates was closer to what we are looking for than the first slate. That being said, the Selection Committee was unanimous that neither of the visiting candidates this past month is the man that God has for Bethel. The reasons vary, but ultimately come down to some combination of leadership, preaching, and chemistry.

Although we don’t yet know who the new Senior Pastor will be, it is encouraging that there is such unity in making these decisions and that we are, in fact, making much progress. We have learned a lot every step along the way, the result of which is a higher level of confidence in who we eventually land on. We are also united in knowing that we cannot get ahead of God and are seeking His peace in our choices. In the coming weeks, we will continue the conversation with Vanderbloemen and we are also excited about a new candidate that was introduced to us outside of Vanderbloemen.

As always, thank you for joining us in prayer as we continue to look for the right man for the job. At the end of the day, we want to align ourselves with what God is doing at Bethel and find the person He has for us. This will continue to require prayer, wisdom, and much patience.

Greg Cullen

Bethel Senior Pastor Search Committee Chair

4 more candidates (November 4, 2016)
Vanderbloemen is scheduled to deliver a slate of four candidates next Monday (November 8th), and Bethel’s Search Committee will start the review process the following week. By the end of November, we hope to know if any of the candidates will be invited on-site sometime this winter. As part of the transition, Steven Wallace (our Executive Pastor) will be taking over management responsibilities of staff from Dave Bechtel, while Dave’s other responsibilities will remain unchanged.

This is an exciting time to be at Bethel, as the Lord is clearly moving and shifting many things – please continue to pray for this transition season!

Candidate Update (Sept 22, 2016)
After hours and hours of prayer, research, watching sermons, video interviews, face-to-face meetings, and feedback from others, the Search Committee has come to the conclusion that the remaining candidate is NOT the man that God has to lead Bethel into this next season. This means that we will start a second round of searching through Vanderbloemen, to include revisiting the search criteria to reflect any lessons learned from the first round. The first round of searches took about two months, and we expect a similar timeline this go-around.

As always, please continue to pray for this search and the transition process. Also pray for the candidate who we have not selected to proceed with – specifically that the Lord would bless him through this process and that he would end up precisely were he is supposed to be. Although he is not God’s man for Bethel, he is a gifted warrior for the Kingdom, and we are excited for the future God has for him.

Leading candidate visit (Sept 8, 2016)
The leading candidate visited Bethel the weekend of September 3rd for a series of interviews and interactions with a representative selection from the Bethel community. From here, the Selection Committee is going to further screen the candidate including a trip to his current church to see him in action in his own environment.

There are two possibilities moving forward:

• Selection Committee AND candidate both have peace moving forward, and the candidate is introduced to the Bethel Congregation as the recommended Senior Pastor Candidate

• Selection Committee OR candidate do not have peace moving forward, and we start over with Round 2 of the search process

Leading candidate (Aug 19, 2016)
Most of you know that we are looking for a senior pastor to replace Pastor Dave when he retires. We reported earlier that we had a slate of seven candidates who had emerged from the search. After viewing resumes, sermons, a video to us from each of them and conducting live skype interviews, the elders on the search group have now identified a leading candidate.Our next step is for the committee and others to interact him in person and learn more about him. If after that we all agree to continue the process with this man, we will present him to the congregation as a candidate and have him preach at Bethel. Please pray for the committee and this man as we seek the Lord’s will together.

4-6 candidates (July 22, 2016)
Monday, July 25, Tim our Vanderboemen Search Group representative will be meeting with Bethel elders and campus chairmen to present four­‐six candidates’ information for further consideration.

Tim Stevens Visit (July 18, 2016)
Tim Stevens, our Vanderboemen Search Group representative, emailed, “We are deep into interviews, and very encouraged.” Monday, July 25th, Tim will be here to present to the Bethel Elders and chairmen of each campus elder group the 4-6 candidates he recommends we start with. It is exciting to think that Bethel’s next senior pastor may be among those names.

115 serious candidates (July 7, 2016)
The number of “serious” resumes for our senior pastor position has grown to around 115. This coming week Tim Stevens, our Vanderbloemen representative, will begin talking personally with a few of the candidates who appear to be most qualified to be the new senior pastor at Bethel. Thank you for continuing to pray for the Lord’s hand in this transition!

Skype w/ Tim Stevens (June 22, 2016)
On Monday, June 20th, the elders skyped with Tim Stevens, our Vanderbloemen search firm representative. He informed us that they have received an encouraging number of “serious” resumes for our senior pastor position. He also presented us with two sample resumes. Though the resumes were from actual candidates, Tim had edited them to make them anonymous. Our assignment as elders is to give Vandebloemen feedback on those resumes to determine their fit at Bethel. With that input Tim will have greater clarity as he helps us discover the man the Lord has for us. Tim plans to come to Bethel with a short list (4-6) of candidates on July 25th. Each candidate profile will have a video introduction, a resume, and links to sermons. Our task, if we’re interested in the candidates, will be to rank them according to our level of interest. Please continue to pray the Lord brings us just the right man.

Posting Soon! (May 20, 2016)
The Bethel Elders are fine-tuning the document that the Vanderbloemen Search Group will use to describe Bethel and the Senior Pastor position to potential candidates. When this document is completed, Vanderbloemen will post the position in numerous ways and begin scouring their networks for potential candidates. We think this will happen next week. Vanderbloemen expects 300-400 applicants. They will give us a report of the kind of candidates they are pursuing by the end of June and will present an initial slate of the top 4-6 candidates by the end of July. Please be in prayer for the Elders, Vanderbloemen, and the pastor God is calling to lead Bethel.