A Timeline, Review, & Update of CCC’s Lead Pastor Search

  • In the Fall of 2017, an online all-church diagnostic survey report concluded that CCC is a “high-expectation church needs a challenging, visionary pastor who knows clearly what the church needs to do, sets appropriate goals, and will support and maintain discipline in the church” (pg. 90).
  • Two all-church Summits were held (Nov 2017 and Mar 2018) that identified both the strengths and growth areas of CCC as well as collected congregational input regarding the experience, gift-mix, and skill-sets for the next permanent Lead Pastor (LP).
  • In Nov 2017 Pastor Matt (and Pastor Jim) underwent a Mid-Career Assessment that included a Discernment Team of his choosing as well as completing a thorough spiritual gift and personality inventory with two in-depth coaching sessions. The inventories, the two primary facilitators of the assessment, along with Matt’s discernment team all concluded that Matt is definitely called to be a Lead Pastor.
  • In the summer of 2018, the Lead PastorSearch Team (LPST) was assembled and trained. LPST members were selected from a pool of nominees by the Staff, Transformation Team, and Elders. All LPST nominees filled out a packet and were interviewed.  The overarching question was: “Do you want the best person for the LP role over-and-above your own personal preferences including your area of ministry?”
    • Additionally, we sought diversity in age, gender, ethnicity, areas of ministry, and length of time attending CCC. 
    • The LPST endeavored to prayerfully, patiently, and persistently consider the gifts, calling, experience, and leadership capacity for an LP who would work with the Staff, Elders, and Ministry Leaders to extend God’s Kingdom further into Bristol and Plymouth Counties and beyond. 
    • Capacity, chemistry, character, and compatibility were also carefully considered.
  • With input from the Summits plus additional input from the Staff, Elders, and the Transformation Team, a Lead Pastor Profile was developed and then affirmed by the LPST (see below).
  • Early in the process Pastor Matt indicated he would like to be considered for the LP role.
  • The LPST unanimously decided to employ a Christian, independent, and objective organization to vet Pastor Matt and the Slingshot Group was chosen for this process. (The report is available to view here.)
  • Pastor Matt has filled out lengthy questionnaires for both the Slingshot Group and the CCC LPST and his references were thoroughly checked.
  • Two formal interviews with Pastor Matt have been conducted. 
    • One on Nov 25th with the Lead Pastor Search Team (LPST), plus three Staff members, and two Elders.
    • Another was conducted on Saturday, Dec 1st with the Elders (Wendi was present as well).
  • After both interviews, there was unanimous enthusiasm to recommend Pastor Matthew Thornton to the CCC congregation as the candidate of choice!
  • That announcement was made by Mark Mooney (Facilitator of the LPST) and the Elders at the weekend services of Dec 8-9.

Next Steps

  • A Candidating Weekend will be held on January 12-13. There will be a reception held after each service for those who have not personally met Pastor Matt and Wendi. Additionally, there will be an all-church Q&A session with Matt on Sunday afternoon, January 13 following the 11 am service at 12:45 pm (if the Pats have a playoff game that day, we may move the Q&A around to accommodate that).  Come prepared to ask any relevant questions!
  • A Vote of Affirmation will be held the following weekend (January 19-20) at all three services. The vote will be open to all CCC regular attenders (not just members). The ballot will include a line for your name, a box for members to check, and we ask that if anyone votes “no” to provide a biblical reason. 
  • A Commissioning Service has been tentatively scheduled for February 2-3 to “pass the baton” if all goes well with the congregational vote.

CCC Lead Pastor Profile

The incoming Lead Pastor will serve as the spiritual, directional, and primary communicator of vision for Christ Community Church (CCC). This individual will serve CCC with the heart of a shepherd and the primary gift-mix of leader/preacher/teacher who is able to deliver sermons that are Christ-centered, (mostly) expository, challenging, life-giving, and are also appropriate to the felt needs and aspirations of Bristol County’s unchurched population.

The Lead Pastor will have a demonstrated history of lifelong learning as well as a commitment to spiritual and emotional health through self-awareness, a verifiable track record of both personal and professional accountability, managing and expressing his feelings appropriately, strong conflict resolution skills, being aware of how his past affects his present, living within his limits, a healthy work-life balance, and a joyful and stable home life.   

Partnering with the Staff, Elders, and MinistryTeams of the church, the Lead Pastor will spearhead the implementation of CCC’sunique core values and missional calling through equipping and mobilizing the local congregation.  This individual will be an empowering leader who has a demonstrated propensity to shepherd, teach, and exhort congregants toward building multiple effective teams that will grow the congregation while offering insight toward long-term strategic planning to accomplish the goals and objectives of the ministry.

A ‘seasoned’ leader who has demonstrated several years of professional/ministry successes in an executive management role, as well as a demonstrated commitment to serving and equipping beyond the local church through short-term missions, will best fulfill the Lead Pastor role at CCC.  An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution is required for this position, although a seminary degree is highly desirable.  Significant experience in senior management positions in the business sector will also be considered as helpful.  An understanding and familiarity with Policy Governance (Carver Model) and the Simple Church model are also preferred.


  • Heart of a shepherd
  • Primary gifting of Leader/Visionary/Preacher
  • Gospel-centered hermeneutic (i.e., the gospel is the central storyline of the both Old and New Testaments) and a commitment to biblical theology (as opposed to experiential theology)
  • Team builder, equipper, macro manager
  • Demonstrated commitment tointegrating emotional health into the discipleship process
  • Demonstrated biblicalconflict resolution skills
  • Demonstrated history ofaccountability (both personally and professionally)
  • Demonstrated, historicalcommitment to missions having served on and/or led multiple short-term trips
  • Joyful, stable home lifewith a supportive wife


  • Graduate degree from an accredited university or seminary
  • Working knowledge of a Simple Church ministry philosophy/model
  • Working knowledge of Policy Governance (Carver Model)