February 2017 Update

Since the inception of the LPST in April 2015, the Team has been meeting in person monthly, and by phone bi-weekly to accomplish the following phases of the search process: Discovery, Development, and Delivery.

As a group in the Discovery phase, the committee and church staff read the book, Church Unique and spent time: as a team, with the church body and then collectively with the church staff discovering what is UNIQUE about our church. There are many churches all around South Florida – but what is God doing specifically at First Baptist | FTL that is different?

Collectively there are so many things that are unique about our church, but here is the summary of our work in the Discovery phase: 

  • Downtown, at the intersection of many cultures and communities
  • Family Focused, we have great ministries for children, parents, youth, young professionals, and senior adults
  • Welcoming and Serving, we love to serve each other, those in need, and our community
  • Creative, we are a talented body of believers
  • Multicultural

Now that we can summarize and express WHO we are in a succinct manner, we can better know and summarize WHAT we want in our next lead pastor. It is rather simple to find "a man" for this job, but the LPST is looking for "the man" that God has for the job. We are now in the Developmental phase of the process and have been finalizing our “job description” specifying personal and professional requirements for “the man” who will come to lead us.

In January 2017, we broke into subcommittees to work with increased agility and efficacy. As a team, we remain focused on prayer and want to keep that at the forefront of our team's purpose. We ask the body of believers to join us in prayer daily for our next lead pastor, and weekly at the altar at 10:10 a.m. in the sanctuary.

J.R. Longstaff
January 2017 Update

After poring through your Town Hall feedback, your LPST want to share our vision that First Baptist | FTL’s next lead pastor will have the following baseline characteristics:

  • Focused on Scripture –Psalm 119:105 – a church with a Biblical foundation from which disciples grow, share their faith, and serve
  • Visionary and Inspirational Communicator – Nehemiah 2:17-18 – a leader with a clear vision and calling to inspire others to follow Jesus
  • Servant Leader – Luke 22:25-27 – a humble servant who does the dirty work, cherishes unity, and connects with the church body and the community, leading by example.

Our next steps include continuing to brainstorm selection criteria and then we will begin our development phase. That is where we will begin looking for our leader.

With feedback or questions, we are available at all times at SearchTeam@FBCFL.com.

J.R. Longstaff
July 2016 Update

Your Lead Pastor Search Team has been meeting, reading, and working together diligently to find the new lead pastor for First Baptist Fort Lauderdale. As a group, we have completed reading the book Church Unique and we are studying all the potential of First Baptist | FTL has in its unique position and during this critical time. God has blessed us with a unified spirit and reliance upon Him to lead us to His next lead pastor for First Baptist. We know we do not possess anything apart from Him, so we are relying heavily on His promises. We've been praying for wisdom and direction and guidance and we'd love you to join us in those prayers. We want you to know you are very much who we are serving and we want to keep the process appropriately open. We plan to stand before you as a committee in July and also host a "Town Hall" event to ask questions and provide answers (as possible) to your questions. God has the next lead pastor ready; we are just working and praying together to follow His lead.

Paul Weinberg

Lead Pastor Search Team Chairman

J.R. Longstaff
May 2016 Update

The 12 members of the Lead Pastor Search Team have been selected and ratified. The members of the search team are listed below so you can better pray for each one by name. Their first formal meeting was a meet and greet, followed by a weekend retreat featuring several well-known leaders in our community offering insight, direction, and encouragement as they started their process. Their next meeting will be held in mid-June.

The LPST has indicated that this will be a multiple phase process and could take one to two years to complete, based on the experience of other church communities. They will be continually giving the church body updates as they are appropriate. The LPST has designed a collaborative leadership format and selected Paul Weinberg as its Chairman. The team’s leadership format is designed to maximize the gifts and talents of each team member.

After their June meeting, they will provide the church family with further updates regarding the search process. They will also designate a point of contact to which you can direct any encouragement or questions you may have.

Please pray for unity, wisdom, vision, and ask God to reveal his plan for our church and Lead Pastor.

  • Paul Weinberg - Chairman
  • Ana Anselma
  • Gary Cason
  • Sandy Casteel
  • Stephanie Leonard-Chen
  • Damon D'Agostino
  • Steve Morin
  • Claudette Pearson
  • Wendy Thomas
  • AJ Tolbert
J.R. Longstaff
January 2016 Update

The Personnel team and nominating committee have been meeting regularly since August of last year.

They have reviewed the volunteer surveys that and have begun recommending each ministry's leadership committee members pursuant to the By-laws. They have also been working on the Lead Pastor Search Committee and are very close to completing those nominations.

We had a large number of people who volunteered to serve on the leadership committees. More than we can actually use for the committees. Some individuals who volunteered will not be selected for a leadership committee, however, there will always be opportunities to serveas volunteers in those ministries.

The nominees will be presented to the Deacon Fellowship at their February 21st Meeting and to the entire church body on March 6th at 9:45 am in a Church Business Meeting held in the Global Events Center.

It is expected that all committees will begin meeting in early April. This includes the Lead Pastor Search committee.

J.R. Longstaff
November 2015 Update

Since Pastor Larry’s announced retirement, the personnel team has been meeting weekly; we are committed to continue to this schedule as long as necessary.  The team is made up of Romney Rogers, Ron Tabb, Jose Paes-Leme, and Bill Gavin (chairman).  The personnel team is determined by the direction of the bylaws and constitution.

We began by working on how we can support and honor our pastor now and in the future; this is ongoing.  Next, we began spending time looking at the bylaws and constitution for guidance.  They state that the personnel team, with the approval of the deacons, shall appoint the pastor search team consisting of at least nine faithful and committed church members whom shall be representative of the church at large.  This is going to take some time.  We also feel we need to develop a team to bathe the process in prayer. There are other things in the bylaws that we want to be sure we are doing as well, such as a nominating committee.

We agreed that it was important to provide for a strong messenger/teacher to help guide us after Pastor retires.  Thus we decided we needed an Interim Pastor.  Fortunately we have a man whomis a friend of our church, we know and love him, and he has a lot of experience helping churches thru this process.  On Sunday November 15th, we announced that Bob Barnes has agreed to be our Interim Pastor.  While this is effective after April 3, he will be filling in as he has in the past and giving us words of wisdom.

As we move forward we will make every attempt to keep you informed.  We ask for your prayers and patience as this process moves forward.

J.R. Longstaff
October 2015 Update

Our Senior Pastor, Dr. Larry Thompson, recently announced his intention to retire from the pulpit ministry here at First Baptist Fort Lauderdale effective April 3, 2016.

As we look to the future, we're grateful to have a well-defined search process in our governing documents as well as wonderful people in our congregation who will ultimately participate in that search.

Currently our Personnel Team is actively discussing the initial phase of this transition and will be reporting soon as to first steps in this journey.  If you have landed on this page because you would like to submit your materials for consideration, simply email them to SearchTeam@fbcfl.com and we'll hold onto them until such time as that team is identified and active.

Please note that it is not necessary for you to contact us directly in order to discern your status, we will contact you should the Lord lead us in your direction.  Know that we are grateful for your interest in the fellowship of First Baptist | FTL.

J.R. Longstaff