Pastor Nominating Committee Updates

February 25, 2021

To the congregation:

The Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) has begun reviewing the Personal Information Forms (PIFs) of prospective candidates for our Senior Pastor/Head of Staff position. We received these PIFs from The Call System for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) because each of these individuals had indicated they were interested in seeking another position, and they all possessed a number of characteristics similar to the ones we have emphasized on our church’s Ministry Information Form (MIF).

In addition, the PNC will begin contacting other individuals that respected clergy in our region have brought to our attention. Most, if not all, of these people are not actively seeking to leave their current congregation, so we will be reaching out to them to determine their openness to exploring the possibility of a move to First Presbyterian Church.

Discerning God’s will and praying for the leading of the Holy Spirit will be our top priorities as we move through the interview phase of the search process, which could take weeks or even months.

In addition to keeping us in your prayers, please be praying that the Holy Spirit will be moving in the heart and mind of God’s choice for the person to lead our congregation in the future.

In Christ’s love,

Your PNC


February 11, 2021

To the congregation:

The Session of First Presbyterian Church and the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry have endorsed and approved, respectively, the Ministry Information Form (MIF) developed by the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) over the past several months. That means our MIF will soon be posted on the denominational website and available for review by prospective applicants/candidates for our Pastor/Head of Staff position.

For your information, the PNC will be looking for the following leader characteristics in our next pastor:
Excellent communication skills (a good listener; able to communicate with and relate to all ages; respectful of diverse points of view)
Excellent preaching and teaching abilities (demonstrates spiritual maturity; provides leadership in worship; encourages congregants’ use of their respective spiritual gifts; biblically astute; trained in and committed to the reformed/PCUSA tradition)
Flexibility/creativity (sensitive to the complexities/demands of urban life; open to the input of others when exploring creative options; open to various approaches to problem solving)
Strong administrative/leadership skills (dedicated to the PCUSA; contributing member of the Presbytery; capable of providing compassionate and competent leadership for church staff)
Dedication to local mission/service/outreach (a heart for city residents and the downtown community; excitement for urban ministry; sensitivity to cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity)

As always, we greatly appreciate your prayers as we begin reviewing the credentials of prospective candidates and conducting interviews.

We also covet your prayers for the person God is preparing to lead us in the years to come and for the leading of the Holy Spirit in helping us discern who that person is during our upcoming encounters with prospects.

In Christ’s love,
Your PNC


January 28, 2021

To the congregation:

The Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) has requested a meeting with Session on February 1 to present the Ministry Information Form (MIF) we have completed over the past several months. Our MIF will provide prospective candidates with relevant information about our church and what the Pastor/Head of Staff position would entail. Once we obtain Session’s approval, we will submit the MIF to the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry (COM) at their meeting on February 9 for final approval. We anticipate having our MIF posted on the denominational website by mid-February. At that time, we will share with you the leader characteristics we will be looking for, based in large part on your responses to the Congregational Survey many of you completed in early Autumn.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we move closer to reviewing applications and interacting with prospective candidates. Also, be praying for the Holy Spirit to be moving in the heart and mind of the next person God is preparing to lead us in the future.

In Christ’s love,

Your PNC


December 21, 2020

To the congregation:

Between now and the end of January, the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) will be completing the Ministry Information Form (MIF), which will provide prospective Senior Pastor candidates with relevant information about our church based, among other things, on your responses to our recent congregational survey. Once we complete this task, we will submit the form to the Session and then the PCUSA’s Committee on Ministry for approval. After we obtain final approval, we will submit the MIF for entry on the denominational website. 

As always, we covet your prayers during this process. We also ask that you be in prayer for the person God is preparing to shepherd our congregation in the future, and for our current ministerial staff, under Dr. Jeff McCrory’s leadership, during this period of transition.

In Christ’s love,

Your PNC

December 10, 2020

The Pastor Nominating Committee is currently conducting follow-up phone calls with members of the congregation who completed the survey we posted in November. We were excited and frankly overwhelmed to receive responses from over 100 people. 

This Sunday after the 11 a.m. worship service, we will be discussing the needs respondents seemed to feel were most important for our church moving forward, as well as the type of senior pastor that could best help us meet those needs.

As always, we appreciate your support—and especially your prayers—as we strive to identify the person God wants to shepherd our congregation in the coming years.

Your PNC

November 16, 2020

The PNC has begun tabulating and thematizing church members’ responses to the survey we posted.
Thanks to those of you who returned their surveys as well as those who have not yet done so but intend to by
November 18.

Please keep us in your prayers in the days ahead as we attempt to determine the priorities you would have us include on our Ministry Information Form.
Our goal is to describe First Presbyterian Church, Knoxville as accurately as possible so that prospective pastoral applicants will have a pretty good idea
of what their ministry here would entail.

Thanks and God bless.


October 20, 2020

Greetings from your Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC)

We have begun our assigned task of identifying and securing the services of our next Senior Pastor.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be meeting on a regular basis, conducting surveys and interviews with members of the congregation to obtain your thoughts regarding the primary needs/priorities for our church, and soliciting your perspective as to the kind of leader you would like our next Pastor/Head of Staff to be, recognizing that Jesus is not available.

In the near future, you will be receiving a mail-out containing a letter of introduction and a brief survey for you to complete and return to us.

Our aim is to be transparent throughout the entire search process; therefore, you can expect to find periodic posts on this link (in addition to other communications, such as the Thursday Update) that will keep you apprised of what we are doing and to let you know some specific things you can be praying about. Above all, we desire the leading of the Holy Spirit at all times to help us find the leader GOD wants for our church in the years ahead.

The names and phone numbers of committee members are shown below. Please feel free to contact any of us should you have thoughts, questions, comments you’d like to share.

In addition, you can email us at

Thanks in advance for your support and participation throughout this most important endeavor.

Members of the Pastor Nominating Committee

Name                                                            Phone Number

Vicki Bible                                                      865-805-8129
Geoff Emery                                                   865-254-7022
Travis Maryanski                                            865-208-0947
Ginny Morrow                                                865-567-4075
Joanna Pennoyer                                          865-382-1682
Stephanie Spurlock                                       615-406-6155
Rachel Trentham                                            865-250-5755
John Whaley                                                  865-806-3570
Craig Wrisberg                                               865-776-7613