Douglas Avenue Christian Church (DACC) was founded in 1896 as a church plant in the commercial north end of Saint John, New Brunswick. DACC was sponsored by another Christian church operating in the downtown core of Saint John and was planted in a rapidly growing commercial and residential area adjacent to the downtown urban core. In its first four years, the new congregation gave sacrificially so that a dedicated worship facility could be constructed in the neighborhood, and in 1900 the congregation met in its new facility at 6 Douglas Avenue. DACC maintained an influential position in the densely populated north end neighborhood through the First World War, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and by the 1950’s the congregation was considering relocation in order to handle the growth the church was experiencing. In the end, the congregation decided to enlarge the original by adding a third storey to the building in 1953.
In the 1960’s, a major urban renewal project was undertaken in the north end of Saint John, which included tearing down many older densely populated residential areas and constructing new commercial office and retail space, expanded highways, and new streets. This extensive urban renewal significantly changed the north end and the DACC facility ended up bordering on two major thoroughfares, close to a major four lane highway, with a hotel and commercial office space across the street. Despite good intentions, this urban renewal effort changed the neighborhood landscape from a dense urban community where people walked to work and church to a commercially-driven “strip mall” community where people were disconnected from each other, and where pockets of extreme poverty existed next door to extreme wealth. DACC struggled along with the north end community in adjusting to these new realities, with the result that church which had been a stalwart of the community fabric for nearly a century went into slow decline.
Five years ago, the leadership at DACC realized that in order to fulfill the mission and mandate of the church, it needed to engage better with the surrounding community of 43,000 people living in the downtown urban core environment within a 5 km radius of the church building. In short, the goal was to build a church for outsiders. In the past three years, DACC has revitalized its programming to include modern contemporary worship on Sunday morning, upgraded its kitchen facilities and processes to follow commercial standards, and focused much of its programming on reaching the downtown urban core neighbourhood through practical ministries that not only preach the Gospel but also show it being lived out. DACC implemented a highly successful Celebrate Recovery program that continues to grow, engaging the neighbourhood and changing lives.
The revitalization of its ministry to the local community has seen Douglas Avenue Christian Church increase its financial giving to ongoing operations by 40% over the past 3 years, and the church has baptized over two dozen people in the past 18 months. DACC has a stable financial position with an annual operating budget of approx. $200,000 and no debt. This budget supports 1.5 FTE’s (full time equivalents). Attendance at the two weekly worship gatherings (Sunday morning and Friday evening Celebrate Recovery) is currently averaging over 100 people. The church has experienced over two dozen baptisms in the past 24 months.
// MISSION AND VISION
At Douglas Avenue Christian Church, our mission (our “why” we exist) is to reach lost people and help them grow them into committed followers of Jesus. This is mandated by Jesus in the Great Commission from Matthew 28:19-20.
Our vision (the “how” to accomplish this mission) is building Christ-centered relationships through teams that serve the practical needs of our community. Douglas Avenue Christian Church is focused on reaching the 43,000 people within a 5 km radius of the current facility, the large majority of who do not currently attend any church. This urban area consists of neighbourhoods with widely divergent demographics: areas of urban poverty with many single parent families, to neighbourhoods consisting of wealthy professionals and their families. These neighbourhoods often occur side-by-side and create a dynamic opportunity for members of DACC to interact with a wide cross-section of people in the city. There is a spirit of cooperation at DACC with like-minded ministries and organizations in the area to multiply the impact of time, energy, and resources.
Our vision is to see people of both rich and poor financial means serving side by side to tackle modern urban issues such as homelessness, addictions, and family poverty by showing compassion, serving others, and preaching the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-10 expresses our conviction of seeing people from all walks of life saved through grace and growing in spiritual maturity through serving together:
“ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Douglas Avenue Christian Church has focused its programming to align with its vision of building Christ-centered relationships through teams that serve the practical needs of our community.
Weekend services: DACC offers two weekend services; one on Sunday morning and one on Friday evening in conjunction with its Celebrate Recovery program. These services are quite different, with the Sunday service using high quality contemporary worship music with a skilled music team and preaching focused on “truth + grace”. The Friday evening service follows the Celebrate Recovery model and offers a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
Children’s Ministry: The ministry to children under age 10 occurs simultaneously with the Sunday morning worship service.
Student Ministry: The ministry to Junior High and Senior High students at DACC involves weekly small group meetings at homes, two trips per year to youth conferences in the Maritimes, and access to two different summer camps operated in the Maritimes during the summer months.
Adult Ministry: DACC is very committed on seeing our believers grow strongly in their faith and is currently undertaking a significant change to the way it delivers adult ministries. DACC has adopted the Willow Creek spiritual continuum and Reveal assessment tool as a way to measure the current state of its spiritual health and to track progress in growing our believers in their faith. Home-based life groups will begin operating in 12-week cycles throughout the year (eight weeks of classes then 4 weeks off before beginning another series of studies). A variety of studies will be covered, including a specially-designed series titled “Christianity for Busy People”, Total Money Makeover financial ministry classes, and Celebrate Recovery Step Studies. In addition to these classes, DACC is also implementing a comprehensive mentorship program that requires every believer to be mentored by another and to also mentor at least one other person. This program leverages material from Power to Change ministries. Additional emphasis will be placed on the importance of personal spiritual disciplines such as daily reflection on scripture, prayer, and tithing.
Prayer: In addition to encouraging daily individual prayer, DACC also holds a special prayer meeting on Tuesdays for a powerful time of group prayer.
Mission: Douglas Avenue Christian Church has shared a commitment to international missions for many decades. DACC is now aligning itself to be missional while continuing to support global missions. In the past five years students and adults have the opportunity to participate in several international mission trips. Over 10% of the church budget is dedicated to missions outside Saint John, and DACC has supported some missionaries to Africa and Asia for several decades.
Celebrate Recovery: This program has become a hallmark of DACC’s community outreach over the past two years. DACC “follows the book” on Celebrate Recovery and has seen tremendous results in changed lives as a result. Friday night consists of a full meal starting at 6:00 pm, an open worship time at 7:00 pm, closed group sharing time at 8:00 pm, and closing the evening at 9:00 with a café environment. Several Step Studies groups meet throughout the week. Celebrate Recovery has required a significant investment in volunteer time and financial resources and has been delivered with grateful servant hearts by a large contingent of volunteers each week. Participation in CR is expected to continue to grow significantly in coming months.
Leadership development: DACC has made a renewed commitment to developing new leaders by participating in several leadership events staged within the Maritimes each year. This includes people taking Bachelor and Masters level course at Maritime Christian College, actively participating in several leadership development seminars held throughout the year at Maritime Christian College, and attending the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit simulcast. Leaders are also developed through matching gifts with serving opportunities.
Members and guests at DACC’s Sunday morning worship service consistently use a single word to describe their experience: “authentic”. Members often start arriving an hour before the service begins to fellowship with other people in the coffee area in the main sanctuary, and even people with young families often stay for an extended period of sharing and fellowship after the service has ended. The dress code is informal and the environment casual. DACC places considerable emphasis on using the best music ministry it can put together on a Sunday morning and has spent appropriately on upgraded sound and video projection systems in the facility. The skilled music team uses the latest contemporary Christian music as well as updated versions of beloved hymns, played with a full band (drums, bass, guitars, keyboards) in a pop/rock format. The Sunday morning service is an important tool in building an experience for outsiders while at the same time providing a venue for people to hear Gospel-focused preaching emphasizing Truth + Grace. We feel we have built a foundation with the current service environment that a gifted preaching pastor can use to create a “catalytic event” every Sunday.
Saint John, New Brunswick – Canada’s Original City – was incorporated 1785 and has grown into a historically-rich and culturally diverse city. The city is home to an "uptown" core, where historic buildings dot the banks of the St. John River and the Saint John Harbour – the Bay of Fundy is our front door. A city of neighbourhoods, our citizens enjoy a unique quality of life with an abundance of housing options, a thriving arts and cultural community and easy access to a variety of exceptional recreational facilities and green spaces.
// THE POSITION
The Lead Pastor role at Douglas Avenue Christian Church is responsible for the preaching and teaching ministry of the congregation. The Lead Pastor is the senior staff member of the church and, following the elder governance model in place at DACC, reports to the congregation through the Eldership.
The Lead Pastor will be a visionary who can both lead, and delegate to, the other leaders in the congregation in fulfilling DACC’s mission. The Lead Pastor is a member of the Eldership team, and will work collaboratively with the Elders and the Executive Administrator to further develop and support the shared vision and mission. DACC has created the part-time role of Executive Administrator to create “bandwidth” for the Lead Pastor. This allows the Lead Pastor to focus on his areas of strengths in preaching and teaching, and to delegate operational tasks such as budgeting, program planning, and program implementation to a skilled Executive Administrator. As a member of the DACC Eldership, the Lead Pastor will be a person who enjoys working collaboratively with other leaders as well as developing believers to fulfill the mission and calling God has given them.
There are two key requirements from the Lead Pastor that are “must haves” in order to fulfill our vision for DACC: a strong ability to preach God’s truth in love while at the same time emphasizing God’s grace, and a passion for evangelism. The Word of God has tremendous power when the preacher applies it in a way that builds a bridge to the daily lives of the listeners. We desire preaching that is balanced between explaining the Biblical text, illustration of truth, and challenging application to life.
We believe evangelism must be the primary focus of our Lead Pastor and we require someone driven with the passion for reaching the lost. This passion for evangelism will be most effective when the members of the congregation are on fire for Christ and excited about growing spiritually. We believe authentic and contagious evangelism comes as a natural outpouring of believers’ excitement about what they’ve discovered in Jesus. Preaching that is based on the truth of God’s word and applicable to peoples’ lives will inspire believers in the congregation to become passionate about evangelism.
Rather than require the Lead Pastor to be gifted in many different areas of ministry, the desire of the elders is to see the Lead Pastor focus on preaching and evangelism and any candidates for this position must illustrate their giftedness in these two areas. Other leaders will be able to lead or assist in other areas of ministry required by the congregation, but we feel preaching and a passion for evangelism must come from the Lead Pastor in order for DACC to fulfill the full potential God has for us in our community.
The effective Lead Pastor will achieve the following goals during the first 24-months of work:
- Provide spiritual leadership for the entire church, staff, leadership, and ministry teams.
- Deliver biblically accurate and culturally relevant messages in weekend services.
- Renew the passion for reaching those who do not know Christ, leading to an increasing number of people crossing the line of faith to follow Jesus at DACC.
- Develop a clear spiritual path for moving believers to maturity in Christ using the Willow Creek Spiritual Continuum and Reveal surveys of DACC members as guideposts, with emphasis on:
- Evaluating the current spiritual vitality of the congregation
- Recommending Bible study material for individuals and groups relevant to their place on the Spiritual Continuum
- Leading the 1-to-3 mentorship model for discipling others
- Cultivate a desire in members for stewardship of resources (financial, time, and talent), resulting in increased giving and volunteerism.
- Develop a healthy and productive working relationship with the Eldership of DACC.
- Develop people with leadership gifts from all demographic segments of the congregation.
- Connect relationally and strategically with other churches in the community, as well as civic leaders and organizations.
- Connect relationally and strategically with other independent Christian churches in the Maritimes, as well as Maritime Christian College faculty and staff.
The Lead Pastor should have the following characteristics:
- Passionate about evangelism and reaching the unchurched.
- The ability to preach and teach spiritual truths with ease to both unchurched people and to committed Christians in a way that will inspire life-changing commitment to Jesus, and that speaks “Truth + Grace”.
- Committed to Restoration principles.
- Ability to reach a target demographic of 25-45 year old males in our neighborhood, with a heart for those who are broken.
- Support for Celebrate Recovery program including participation in the program.
- Pursuing an authentic and growing relationship with Jesus Christ, committed to spiritual disciplines.
- A transparency of spirit with the church about personal growth and struggles.
- Commitment to his marriage and family, and with a spouse who is supportive of the ministry.
- A gifted and engaging communicator that reaches a broad spectrum of people.
- Involved in pastoring the local community by participating in not only what DACC is doing, but also what the other churches in the area are doing.
- Have “street smarts” as well as “book smarts” in urban ministry.
- Be able to challenge members of the congregation to take action to grow into more fully committed disciples of Jesus.
- A team builder and team player committed to working with other leaders.
- Exhibit the qualities of a spiritual leader as outlined in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
- Superior leadership skills, yet a humble and teachable spirit.
- Relational and approachable, with a genuine shepherd’s heart, providing pastoral care and counsel.
- A high level of energy and a bias for action.
- Collaborative heart that empowers others to lead.
- An ability to recruit and develop future leaders.
- A willingness and ability to delegate.
- Visionary who is strategically driven.
A degree from an affiliated recognized Bible college is required.
A minimum of 5 years as a Teaching Pastor or equivalent experience in a role with similar characteristics is required. Candidates will be asked to provide an audio or video sample of their preaching.
Prior to being offered the role, the selected candidate will be asked to provide at least three personal/professional references who can be interviewed confidentially regarding the candidate’s capabilities.
The salary for this position will be negotiated with the Elders and will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.
// TO APPLY
Please send resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To apply for this job opening, please first post your resume.
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