NEXT Church director will leave her post later this month

The Rev. Jessica Tate has served the forward-looking organization for nine years

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

the Rev. Jessica Tate

LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Jessica Tate, who helped lead NEXT Church into what she called “a space for sparking imagination, telling the truth, working for justice and pouring into church leaders in this time when the church as an institution is precarious,” has announced she will leave her position at the end of the month after nine years of service.

In a letter posted Monday on the NEXT Church website, Tate called nine years “a long time to be a founding director and exert the entrepreneurial energy needed to midwife an organization.”

Over the past year, Tate wrote that she’s been “in discernment about my energy and capacity to continue to be a good steward of this challenging work. At the same time, the organization has been in deep conversation about how it is best stewarded. It is time for the stewardship of the directorship to be passed to another.”

NEXT Church calls itself “a purposeful relational community of Presbyterian leaders whose mission  is to strengthen a vibrant and thriving PC(USA) that shares the good news of Jesus Christ in ways that matter to  and have impact on God’s evolving world.”

As NEXT Church  has worked to carry out this mission statement, Tate listed these highlights:

“I have learned so much from many talented leaders — those who first had a vision for NEXT Church and the subsequent ones who have made up [NEXT Church’s] Strategy Team,” Tate wrote. “NEXT Church leadership, the Strategy Team (NEXT Church’s board) and within it the Coordinating Team (tasked with keeping the organization focused and moving) are working on a smooth transition so that the meaningful and important work of NEXT Church continues.”

“I am excited,” Tate wrote, “to watch from afar the energy and vision a new leader can bring to the next season of life of NEXT Church.”

Members of the Coordinating Team, led by co-chairs the Rev. Amantha Barbee and the Rev. Daniel Vigilante, said in a letter accompanying Tate’s letter that they were accepting Tate’s resignation “with a colossal amount of gratitude.”

“She has been nothing less than a good and faithful servant,” they wrote. “We honor and respect her decision, though we know we will have a challenging transition. Challenging does not mean impossible. As a matter of fact, we pray that it means an opportunity to further live into who we are called to be as NEXT Church.”

The Coordinating Team said it plans to hire a part-time administrative and communications assistant in the coming days to train with Tate before she departs. The job description for the position, scheduled to end Dec. 31, is here.

Once the assistant is in place, the Coordinating Team will then select an interim director for NEXT Church, a process that Barbee and Vigilante said “will take much more time than the assistant position. We certainly appreciate each of you and ask your prayers during this time of transition.”

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