About the job
We at First Presbyterian Church (FPC) are seeking a Senior Pastor / Head of Staff who is excited about the challenges of pastoring a downtown church while embracing the many opportunities that such a location provides.
The path forward requires many more months of building a plan that includes weighing current infrastructure requirements against future needs, determining funding strategies based on current and future resources, and discerning the likely future demographics of the community and the church. Traversing this path will require a congregation, Session, and Senior Pastor who are in agreement with the plan and who will support the plan, once it is defined. A successful pastoral candidate must have the capability and resolve to lead the church through the thorny decision processes that will have major impacts on all aspects of our church. This will not be an easy path to follow but the outcome will set the stage for the church for the next few decades.
We invite you to learn more about FPC, our congregation, and our city. We are looking forward to getting to know those of you who are interested in leading our church. To assist us in our search, we have engaged the services of McGowan Global Institute. If you wish to submit your name for consideration as our Pastor, please fill out the Pastor Registration Form at mcgowanglobal.com/
pastor-registration. Specific questions should be directed to our McGowan
consultant, Chuck Frost at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Presbyterian Church has been a fixture in Jacksonville since being chartered by the Territorial Government of Florida in 1840. FPC has been located at its current location on the corner of Ocean and Monroe Streets since 1847. In 1901, the wooden sanctuary was destroyed by what the locals call the “Great Jacksonville Fire.” The current sanctuary was rebuilt in 1902, remodeled in 1928, and remains our primary worship venue. Given our red sanctuary doors, we are known to our downtown neighbors as “the church with the red doors.” Following a lengthy period of discernment, prayer, and reflection, over 96% of FPC members voted to leave the PCUSA and join ECO on February 7, 2015. The FPC footprint occupies three quarters of a city block and includes the Sanctuary (1902), the Covenant Bldg (Administration/1924), the Williams Bldg. (Educational/1961), Towers Chapel (1971), and gas station/parking lot (2000). These older buildings are precious and unique but come with significant deferred maintenance issues. Our pre-COVID-19 annual operating budget in 2020 was ~$550,000.
We’ve had a 15% decrease in the annual operating budget in 2022. Through the loving generosity of members past, the church is the benefactor of an endowment (professionally managed) with an available balance that is approximately equal to our pre-COVID-19 annual operating budget. The endowment is overseen by the Trustees and is used for budget shortfalls and other non-budgeted needs as directed by the Session.
As a downtown Church, we have seen the ups and downs of our neighborhood as well as our church (in the 1950-60’s, FPC membership was in the thousands.). Like many downtown areas, Jacksonville has struggled to keep its downtown busy, vibrant, and relevant. Over the past few years there has been a concerted public and private effort to rebuild and revitalize Jacksonville’s Downtown. This rebuilding has brought nearly 7,000 new residents to downtown Jacksonville over the past five years. Currently, there are over 500 residential units under construction within an easy walk of FPC. In addition, more than 1,800 new units/projects are in review by the city. Once completed, the expectation is that more than 12,000 residents will be living in downtown Jacksonville. Since 2020, downtown Jacksonville has seen over $200 million in projects completed with another $2 billion currently under construction. All the above activity is an easy walk or short drive from FPC. We cannot help but be excited and optimistic for the future of downtown Jacksonville as well as our church, but it should be noted that despite the increase in downtown residents, to date our membership rolls have not increased.
Our Church Family:
Our Congregation is diverse with members of different backgrounds, ages, social and economic positions. Often you will find the homeless worshiping next to an attorney or doctor. We are primarily an older congregation with many of our members retired but do have some families with school age children. We pride ourselves on being a welcoming congregation to those new to FPC. We are a reformed church which adheres strongly to biblical principles and conservative theology. FPC cares for its members through visitation, prayer, and fellowship - where we just have fun. Plainly put, our members want to be at FPC.
They come from all points of the Jacksonville compass – north, south, east, and west, to take part in the worship and fellowship at FPC. Our members travel anywhere from 1 to 20 miles each way to be part of our church family. FPC has 238 members on the rolls with an average pre-COVID-19 Sunday attendance of approximately 150. Our current Sunday attendance averages 75-100 members. Most recently, our Christmas Eve and Easter services drew more than 200 worshipers. We also live stream Sunday worship on our Facebook page.
In 2018 our senior pastor retired after 18 years of shepherding the church. During that time, he accomplished the significant work of leading the church out of the PCUSA and into ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO). Following his departure our church has had an unsettling and uncertain period. Our next called senior pastor had to resign after only 2 years due to alleged inappropriate online conduct. At present, we are utilizing pulpit supply as our Session chose not to renew the contract of our Transitional Pastor. Along with COVID-19, the above has caused FPC to experience membership losses as well as reduced giving. However, despite these difficulties, the core group of members that remain are optimistic and hopeful, trusting God to bring FPC through these challenges and give the church a new vision for the future.
As a congregation, we realize that if FPC is to continue to be a presence at the corner of Ocean and Monroe in downtown Jacksonville, there needs to be a new vision with new leadership. What will this new vision look like? How will it be implemented? We look forward to exploring these questions with our new Senior Pastor, the shepherd of our flock, who will lead us into the next chapter of FPC. Are you up for the challenge? We are!
• Strong gifts in the areas of leadership development, strategic and visionary planning
• A strategic thinker who can move the church forward by putting all the pieces and people in the right places
• A leader of leaders with the ability to draw existing leadership up into greater maturity, deeper theological understanding, sharper biblical knowledge and intense servant leadership
• Identifies and equips lay members to lead in various ministries of and through the church
• Serves as Head of Staff, Moderator of the Session including training of newly elected Elders, and leads new members classes
• Values clear communication as key to fostering relationships between Session, Committees, Covenant Partners, etc.
• Practices effective conflict resolution and reconciliation strategies
• A shepherd who is ready to roll up their sleeves alongside us and help us become the church we aspire to be
• Exhibits enthusiasm that engages our congregation in worship, prayer and spiritual growth
• Serves as a leader, shepherd, counselor, and spiritual nourisher for the whole church
• Displays servant leadership; humble and approachable
• An effective, dynamic communicator who captivates the heart of every generation with the Gospel of Christ by practically applying truth of scripture
• A leader who is emotionally healthy, can identify areas of weakness, and is as human as any congregant they serve
• Practices effective conflict resolution and reconciliation strategies
• A patient leader who carefully brings people to the moment of change rather than make unilateral decisions
Associate Pastor / Minister of Music (FT)
Church Secretaries (2) (PT)
Pianist / Organist / Music Assistant (PT)
Director of Youth Ministry (PT)
Director of Children’s Ministry (PT)
Director of Youth Orchestra (PT)
Session – 9 Members
Deacons – 14 Members
Trustees – 6 Members
Student Ministry Sunday School
Adult Sunday School Classes (4)
Presbyterian Women – Day and Evening Circles
Music Ministry (Chancel Choir is a congregational favorite with special programing for Christmas, Easter, and the 4th of July.)
Sulzbacher Center Monthly Homeless Feeding Sundays
First Ladies “Annual Ladies Night Out” Christmas banquet
Opening and Closing Men’s Ministry (opens and closes the church on Sunday)
Visitation Teams and Card Ministry for shut ins.
Hosting Site for Non-Profits:
The Lord’s Foundation
Downtown Ecumenical Services Council (DESC) **
We support financially and/or provide volunteer services to the following
Downtown Ecumenical Services Council
Kairos Prison Ministry
J.E.M.M. (Tooth Bus - Jamaican
Ecumenical Mutual Mission)
Ron Allen Ministries
Light in the Word of God Church
All About Jesus/Pass it On
Prisoners of Christ
Hope Outreach Ministry for Every-1
3Bs- Boxes, Bells & Blankets (Congregation Supported)
Operation Christmas Child, Shoeboxes (Samaritan’s Purse)
Salvation Army Ring the Bell
Salvation Army Christmas Stockings
• Master of Divinity or working toward completion of M.Div.
• 5 years’ experience as a Senior or Associate Pastor
• Agreement with ECO Essential Tenants and Polity