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Hope Evangelical Free Church

Director/Pastor of Elementary Family Ministries

Hope Evangelical Free Church
Dubuque, Iowa, United States

Date Posted: 06/12/2012
Categories: Children's Pastor
Denominations: Evangelical Free
Church Size: 1001 to 1500
Job Type: Full-Time

Job Description:
Director of Elementary Family Ministries
Posted June 1, 2012
Position open as of August 1, 2012
This position is 40 hrs or 30 hrs, based on candidate’s interest.

The Background
By God’s grace, Hope/ Church seeks to be a growing community of faith that will make an eternal difference, beginning in Dubuque, Iowa. Currently, about 1,200 people per weekend find authentic community, relevant bible teaching, inspiring music, and loving children’s ministries at Hope Church. Additionally, Hope offers multiple ministries for adults, children, and teens beyond Sunday mornings (visit

Over the past 30 years, Hope Church has developed a consistent presence in Dubuque. Our aim is to reach our city for God. We want to see the Church prevail in this town. We believe strongly in Jesus’ urging, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.” Hope Church loves Dubuque, and we regularly look for opportunities to show it.

Hope Church is part of the Evangelical Free Church of America (see, a denomination focused on growing healthy churches. Hope Church would characterize ourselves by the following distinctives:

- We’re a Christian melting pot; with former Catholics, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Fundamentalists, etc. all finding common ground here.
- We are committed to accurate, simple, moderate, and relevant teaching of Scripture - our worship services are central to our disciple-making efforts, and our preaching is central to our worship services.
- We are passionate about sharing the gospel. We have a high degree of new adult converts within our church. We share the gospel simply and constantly in our various ministry settings.
- We prefer to be known for what we are for, rather than what we are against. We spend a limited amount of energy defining ourselves against various ideas, movements, organizations, political parties, news stories, etc. We do not shy away from taking a hard stand, but prefer to be positive.
- We are focused on making active disciples, and as such, promote opportunities for people to work on their own discipleship (through serving, small groups, leading, support groups, relational evangelism, etc).

Church Statistics
From an internal census in Feb 2012, we know:
- 55% of the attendees of Hope Church are new within the past 4 years.

We have a strong invitation culture, visitor flow, and sense of mission.
- 30% of our adults and teens have first accepted Christ through this church.

The Lord is working through us as we are focused on helping people connect with God.
- 55% of our adults and teens grew up Catholic.

Dubuque is considered about 80% Catholic background, so we are reaching our city.
- 15% of our adults and teens grew up with an “evangelical” church background.

We have many people who are hungry for Biblical literacy, exploring faith, etc.

Church Vision & Direction
In 2011, Hope Church completed of a 4-point, 3-year vision plan. Senior Pastor Matt Collins first shared these points with the congregation in the summer of 2008. They are now accomplished.

- Next Generation Redesign our children and students programs and spaces into vibrant places for families to grow spiritually.
- Worship Arts Upgrade our worship center so that we can better use the arts in our worship services to share the power of the gospel.
- Local Care Develop a multi-faceted care and counseling ministry that will assist individuals and families in their times of need.
- Global Church Start partnerships with Third World national ministries to accomplish life-changing initiatives.

We now have a new children’s and student ministry staff, and renovated spaces for these ministries. We recently renovated our worship center too, to better enhance our arts capabilities. We started a storefront Neighborhood Resource Center in downtown Dubuque in 2009. We started a partnership in Haiti in 2008 with a ministry that is by nationals, for nationals – raising up a next generation of Christian leaders for that country. We have also started links in Mexico City.

In 2012, we replaced this 4-point, 3-year plan with a new one-point, one year plan: go multi-site. We added a second worship service location in January 2012, to further our capacity to reach our city and to prevent plateau of our ministry capacity. We ran a one-month capital campaign in June 2011 to raise $300K for this work. The congregation pledged $330K, with half of the pledged amount being given in the first 6 months of the 18 month giving period. We took this as an affirmation of the direction. We are passionate about sharing the gospel with our city. Dubuque is amazingly under-evangelized for a Midwestern metro area. We are now working on a 2 year plan to find a permanent location for our second campus, and to add two more worship services.

There are very few Protestant churches in Dubuque. Hope Church is the only Protestant church within 60 miles in any direction that has an attendance over 300. We celebrate all the churches in our region, but also feel a unique responsibility to remain focused on reaching this city at this time. Evangelizing and making disciples in our city is by far our primary focus.

Hope Church is growing. In 2001, we averaged around 200 per weekend. In 2008 the average overall weekend attendance was 600. In 2010, that number was 900. In Spring 2012, we were 1,160. The prayer of the leadership has been, “Lord, we’re here and willing, whatever you want to do in our city. Give us your heart for Dubuque!” We started a 4th worship service at a second location in January 2012. We plan to add a 5th worship service in Oct 2012, and a 6th soon as well.
The Senior Pastor Matt Collins has been with Hope Church for 13 years. Prior to this, he pastored in upstate New York. Under his leadership, the Hope Church has grown from 200 to 1,200. Matt is passionate about sharing the gospel and about teaching practical Christian living. He and his wife Carol went to college together at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and have 5 boys, ranging from high school to out of the home.

The Executive Pastor Darrell Cloud has been with Hope Church since June 2008. Previously, he was on staff with Compass Church, an Evangelical Free Church of 3,000 in Naperville, IL. He oversaw assimilation and adult ministries for them as they grew from 900 to 2,300. He’s passionate about seeing the gospel shared, and empowering leaders to influence people for discipleship. He and his wife Laura also met at Moody (coincidence), and have a preschool son.

The Pastoral/Directoral staff of Hope Church is currently a team of 9: Senior, Executive, Administration, Arts, Adults, Early Family, Elementary Family, Students, and Campus Pastor. Seven of the 9 Pastoral/Directoral staff are new on staff in the past 4 years. Five were hired from outside Dubuque, 4 were hired from within the congregation. Five are men, 4 are women.

There are some additional full and part-time support staff. There are also about 70 lay leaders who are empowered to make decisions and lead teams. The Elder Board is a group of 7, voted into place by the Members (about 200 currently). Six of the 7 Elders have been on the Board for at least 4 years. The Senior Pastor is the only Staff member on the Board.

About Dubuque, Iowa
As the seventh largest city in the state of Iowa, Dubuque boasts small-town warmth and friendliness, and has been a vibrant river town since the early 1800s. Situated at the intersection of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, Dubuque stands among the Mississippi River bluffs with rolling hills and picturesque views at almost every turn.

In 2008, Dubuque was named as the “Most Livable” Small City by the United States Conference of Mayors. Also in 2008, Dubuque was awarded a national title of “100 Best Communities for Young People”. In 2007, Dubuque was declared an “All-America City” by the National Civic League. In 2007, Inc. Magazine listed Dubuque as 22nd out of 393 “Best Cities & Boom Towns”, alongside annual favorites like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and metro areas in Florida. Dubuque was the only Midwestern city listed in the top 25.

In April 2010, ranked Dubuque as the best small metro area in the country for projected job growth. In Oct 2010, Dubuque was named the best small city to raise a family, also in a listing by

Dubuque is a growing city with a population of about 70,000 people, and a county population of 100,000. Major employers in the area include John Deere, Prudential Insurance, Medical Associates, Eagle Window & Door, and McGraw-Hill Publishing. Several companies have recently expanded new operations in Dubuque within the past 2 years, to include IBM, International Transmissions, and Hormel Foods (visit The local economy and housing market remain strong, despite the national average. In the 2008-2010 recession, Dubuque had a very stable economy, and attracted job and housing growth.

Dubuque offers 11 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 3 high schools, 2 private school systems. There are also 3 private liberal arts colleges, a Bible college, and 3 seminaries. The city has a vibrant collegiate culture, but is not a “college town” like cities with large state universities.
The Position
Hope Church is seeking a gifted person to expand our Children & Family Ministries, in alignment with the vision of the church leadership. The goal is to support parents in leading children to a relationship with Christ, and to help them understand what it means to follow him fully all the days of their lives. This work is done through paid staff, lay leaders, and volunteer teams to work on evangelism and discipleship for large numbers of children and families.

Our current Director of Early Family Ministries is opting to remain on our staff, but to take on a support staff role. This works best for her personal family season; she initiated this plan and remains very positive about Hope Church and this ministry. As a part-time ministry Coordinator, she will report to this new Director, along with an additional part-time Coordinator that works with the Elementary Ministries at our second site. Together this 3 person team (1 Director and 2 Coordinators) will represent 60 hrs of staffing toward Elementary Ministries for our church. Both of the Coordinators will be peers reporting to the Director. Together, the 3 roles will be 30 hrs, 20 hrs, and 10 hrs or 40 hrs, 10 hrs, and 10 hrs, depending on new Director’s preference.

Up to this point, we have been using 4 main ministry programs as loving and learning environments to accomplish our faith growth goals:

- Hope Kids! – a weekend program of large and small group settings during our worship services for children K-3rd. Averages around 100 kids per weekend.
- Bridge 45 – a new weekend breakout program during our worship services exclusively for 4th and 5th graders. Averages around 30 kids per weekend.
- Treasure Seekers - a Wednesday night kids Bible club during the school year with grade-based Bible learning in small groups, Bible memorization, games and songs. Averages around 70 kids per week.
- Summer Bible Day Camp – an annual vacation Bible school event that has grown in recent years to over 150 kids. This year we are also busing kids from an under-resourced neighborhood in the city where we have some ongoing missional work.

Additional ministry opportunities include:

- Special Needs Ministry - We are planning to start a weekend option for children with disabilities at our second campus in Jan 2013.
- Kids Praise Team – We have had a group of a dozen or so students working on dance and singing for worship leadership, etc.
- Puppet Ministry – This ministry allowed Middle & High School students to perform for kids, to teach Bible virtues and values in various settings.
- Kids Musicals – We are exploring this as a new once or twice a year option.

The Director oversees all of these various ministries, both in concept and execution. They are responsible for the overall philosophy of ministry in Elementary Ministries, and for guiding staff reports and lay leaders to work with teams of volunteers to implement that philosophy.

This position is less like a school teacher, and more like a school principal. The Director must be able to work through others. This role is not so much about doing the work, but about seeing to it that the work gets done. The Director’s leadership capacity needs to be able to grow with the development of the ministry. A scalable Elementary Ministry is essential to our overall ministry mission. We want to change the way that the families in our city lead themselves spiritually.
Desired Qualifications
We are looking for a proven leader with a professional and educational background that makes them an obvious consideration for the role. Strong candidates would have:

- A readily observable Christian faith and life. We are called to be set apart, holy.
- Relational, and a pastoral heart. Ministry is about people.
- Leadership ability. This person must be able to equip lay leaders. They must be able to build teams and attract high-capacity people.
- Entrepreneurial skills. This staff member must be able to effectively re-engineer or expand ministries, and be able to grow them through other leaders.
- Teaching ability. This person must be able to effectively communicate publicly; to leaders, volunteers, parents and children. They must be able to train teams in thoughtful ways.
- Management skills. This staff must be able to empower others to oversee ongoing structures, teams, and budgets. They must be able to delegate multiple initiatives to multiple volunteers.

Roles & Reporting
As a specialist, the Elementary Family Ministry Director will oversee all ministries for and with children Kindergarten to 5th grade and their parents; both those at the church, and any others in the community with which we can gain spiritual influence. At Hope Church, we feel we are a secondary influence on these children, and that the parents are the primary spiritual influence. It is vital that this staff person be able to connect with both children and parents.

As a specialist, the Director will be overseeing curriculum choices, programmatic decisions, and big picture emphases regarding philosophy of ministry – it is essential this person understand sound doctrine, child development, principles of teamwork, and effective discipleship techniques. This staff person must have a strong understanding of how discipleship happens, and the ability to translate that into effective systems for discipling children.

As a generalist, each Pastor/Director is also expected to contribute to the staff team at large, as the group sets the tone for the disciple-making efforts of the church. There are some special projects and seasonal initiatives of the church where staff members work in taskforces together to benefit the whole church. For example, in Oct 2012, we are planning a month-long church-wide prayer campaign. Other examples would include our Christmas Eve and Easter ministry efforts.

This position is a direct report to the Executive Pastor. The church is Elder-governed and Staff-led, meaning the Elders work with the Senior Pastor on high-level vision, values, and decision-making that set the tone in the long view, but the year-to-year decisions and strategic planning are done by the staff, under the direction of the Executive Pastor, who reports to the Senior Pastor. The position is a peer to the other specialty Pastors/Directors.

Hope Church is eager to reach as many people as possible in Dubuque for Jesus Christ. We are looking for a staff person with a similar hunger for new life transformation and discipleship. We’re prayerfully looking forward to meeting you!