609 East Cumberland,  Cowan, Tennessee  37318     Tel:931-563-3796 

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Fitting the Pastor to the Mission

We have a thing called a Pastor Parish Relations Committee.  This is a standing committee in United Methodist churches that functions to deal with matters concerning the relationship of pastor and staff with congregations, what in United Methodist parlance are called "charges".  Bishops and District Superintendents depend on these committees to monitor the health of the relationship between appointed ministers and the congregations they are serving.  In a healthy congregation this group serves as a forum for reviewing the mission of Christ in the church and exploring creative ways that the congregation and the appointed personnel can be faithful to that mission through the job descriptions and the job performance that those descriptions define, making changes and adjustments along the way.

Not all churches are this conscientious about reflecting on God's mission in which they are involved in any given year.  In these cases the Pastor Parish Relations Committee still functions, at minimum, as a forum for appointed personnel and churches to declare, annually, what they want in the appointed relationship by marking one of these options: 1) recommend the pastor be reappointed to the church in the next appointment cycle - that is, to stay; 2) pastor may come or go - either way; 3) it is time to sever the relationship and start working for another appointment at the next annual conference.  Those used to be the options, as I recall, back in my days as a United Methodist appointed pastor.

The Presbyterian Church does not have have appointed pastors in permanent calls.  Congregations conduct their own pastoral searches and calls, which are ratified by the presbytery.  Therefore, as a Presbyterian minister, there is no appointment to be reviewed by the bishop and district superintendent.  No form with options to be marked.  But this does not mean that the Pastor Parish Relations Committee is not important.  It can still serve as a Personnel and Mission Committee to do those things that should be done in any congregation.

Having served the Cowan Fellowship Church for 3 1/2 years, this is a good time to review the job description under which I was called, and make those adjustments, through prayer and reflection, that help insure that pastor and congregation are reading off the same page.  As you probably know, I think the mission of ministry of this congregation is exciting because, as I believe, God is leading us into that territory that is our future.  On October 6 the Pastor Parish Relations Committee will meet.

Here is the current pastor job description, as well as a vision statement that our adult Sunday School class thought through after a series on evangelism and strategic planning last year.  The pastor job description is official.  The vision statement is the not "official" for the church, but still reflects good thought and study.  Vision and mission statements get dated in a hurry.  We have had other developments in the church this year that have opened some new possibilities for ministry with young adults and youth.  The committee will revise the pastor job description in a way that is faithful to our current mission and work, and have a new document for 2015.  If you would like to be in touch with any member of the committee between now and October 6, or the pastor, the members of the committee are:

  • Sherwood Ebey
  • Stephanie Council
  • Raymond Council

Job Description for Andy Gay

Pastor, Cowan Fellowship Church



The pastor primary responsibilities are to:

  • Preach the Word and lead the worship of the church, developing a worship team to share gifts in service to God at all of the congregation's worship gatherings.

  • Visit people as is possible, including church members, friends of the church, visitors, and prospective members. The first priority of visitation is for emergency situations: hospitalizations, illnesses, deaths, counseling situations, and various other life transitions and crises.

  • Provide good administrative leadership as a framework for the church to fulfill its calling.

  • Provide strategic leadership for the church to “think outside the box” in ways to reach out to the community where God has placed us; to help the Governing Council choose those endeavors that not only serve the interests of our church family, but open doors to people in our community to find Christ and serve him in their lives.

  • Teach.

  • Be personally involved and provide leadership for the youth and children's ministries.

  • Collaborate with other churches and faith groups when advantageous to promote our congregation's mission.

  • Be available and present, establishing office hours at the church for people to drop in.

  • Provide leadership for the mission of the church, both as a mission on the ground where we are as well as to places elsewhere where we can both offer and receive the gifts of people unlike ourselves.

  • Leadership training: cultivate the leadership of the church by:

    • encouraging and supporting the ongoing leadership; finding roles withing God's purpose for the church for new leaders to emerge and offer their gifts;

    • promote a theology of work and sabbath for himself and the other leaders that honors the work that people do as a covenant in which we seek to be faithful to the time that we work as well as the time that we rest.

  • Work as a member of the Presbyterian Campus Ministry Team.

  • Consult with the District Superintendent for a way that he might offer his leadership in the family of United Methodist congregations of the Tennessee Annual Conference.

  • Oversee clerical tasks, such as picking up mail at Post Office, etc.

  • Be the principle representative of the church to both the Presbytery and the Tennessee Annual Conference.


Vision of the Cowan Fellowship Church

in Ten Years


  • Won't be in the form of this church or building

    • What's good about this:

      • We (the people) are the body of the church

      • Can use alternative places of meeting and media

      • Going back to original (biblical, early church) house churches or meeting outside

  • In the wake of the failure of public education, the church will replace government-sponsored (public) education for many children and their families

  • The church will provide community support services, such as:

    • Morning's Out for Moms

    • etc.

  • Capitalize on senior's ministries

    • Young at Heart





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