As someone who has been on several search committees, both denominational and academic, I want to let the region know that this was one of the best I have had the privilege to serve on. It had a good balance between men and women, and both ethnic and racial diversity. It was also a good mix of both pastors and lay people. In every way it represented the ABCNJ family. During the deliberations the gifts of each member combined to create a unique blend under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The committee that prayed together, worked well together, and was able to assess what the region needed in our future Senior Regional Pastor and Executive Minister.
Our first meeting with Dr. Woods took place on January 20, 2018 at the ABCNJ Office. Following that first meeting we met almost monthly, and gathered with both our associations and the ABCNJ staff to seek their input, until we chose the candidate we felt should be presented to our regional family.
By April 17, 2018 seventeen candidates had responded to our request for applications, and the applicant pool reflected the rich diversity our wider family. There were candidates from both ABCNJ and throughout ABCUSA. The fifteen candidates were first narrowed to eight, and after we requested further information we further reduced the pool to three. The Search Committee interviewed those three people on Saturday, July 14, 2018, and each one of them would have been an excellent choice to lead the ABCNJ. It was truly a blessed search!
The name of the candidate has not been announced until today because of the requirements of our Constitution and its By-Laws. Following the unanimous approval of the ABCNJ Council in August 25, 2018, we had to wait sixty days before we hold a special meeting where our family could meet and vote for the candidate. And so, in accordance with our ABCNJ Constitution and By-Laws, we invite our ABCNJ family to meet the candidate on Saturday, October 27, 2018, 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon, at the First Baptist Church of Hightstown. At this gathering, ABCNJ representatives are welcome to greet the candidate and ask any questions they might have before the vote is taken.
The Final Candidate
The candidate chosen by the Search Committee for the position of Senior Regional Pastor and Executive Minister of ABCNJ, and presented to the ABCNJ Council is the Rev. Miriam Méndez, who currently serves as an ABCNJ Associate Regional Pastor. Her biographical information is attached. Many of our candidates were excellent, but we decided to choose Miriam for many reasons. She knows ABCNJ very well, she has preached in many of our churches, she is a great listener, a prayer warrior, a meticulous administrator, a pastor to pastors, a challenging preacher, a visionary, a respected colleague, an optimist for the future, a progressive techie, a lover of God and His people and a believer who readily confesses her complete dependency on the Holy Spirit.
It is the hope of the Search Committee and the ABCNJ Council that our regional family will wholeheartedly affirm Rev. Méndez’s calling as our new Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor. We hope you will commit to praying for her, working with her, and involving your congregation with the work of the Region so that the Almighty God will do great and wonderful acts among us.
The Search Committee
From the Personnel Committee
Bobbi Daugherty, Vice-President
From the Executive Committee
George Hancock-Stefan, President of the ABCNJ Council
Suleima Rosario Diaz, Secretary of the Executive Council
John Grove, Vice President of Professional Ministries
Dr. C. Jeff Woods, the Associate General Secretary for Regional Ministries