Pastor Search

Matthew 7:7-8

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Recap of the process

Following Pastor Mike Landry’s announcement of his retirement last fall, the church entered into 60 days of vital prayer and seeking the Lord. This was followed by nominations from the church of names for the search team and the recommendation of a team by the deacon body
whom the church voted to accept on 11/28/21. The first meeting of the search team was 12/11/21.

The team’s foremost objective throughout the search was to pray and seek with open hearts and minds that God’s will would be done in the selection of the new lead pastor for His church, Sarasota Baptist, that He would speak to us and use us collectively to discern the specific man He had prepared and was in the process of calling, and that we would listen and act in faithful obedience.

During the process, we prayed and fasted diligently, met often in person and by Zoom and communicated even more frequently, focused on not restricting God, openly discussed how God was leading us individually and collectively and maintained confidentiality. We studied and discussed the Biblical qualifications, updated the job description based on those qualifications and the responsibilities set forth in the Bylaws and policies of SBC, and prepared and disseminated information about SBC and Sarasota to candidates.

Many resumes were received after prayerful contacts, referrals and direct submittals, and we reviewed and discussed all referrals, all resumes received and all questions received from the church, responding to each. We watched and listened to hundreds of services and sermons, did preliminary social media and internet searches and conducted initial interviews covering 18 broad areas of interest with those persons we felt God was leading us to consider further.

For the final candidates, we completed detail background checks through a third party that included social media, financial, legal and law enforcement, verification of employment and education history and drug testing, we traveled as a search team to conduct detail interviews with the final candidates and their spouses covering 20 areas of interest and specific questions, heard them preach in their churches and saw the interaction with their church body, had follow up conversations with the finalists and completed many reference checks.

Throughout, we were blessed to serve as a team that was both outspoken and submitted to seeking God’s will; encouraged by SBC’s staff and people; challenged by the guest speakers; thankful for those pastors that God led to submit to the process; and grateful to see God’s hand in action in so many ways.

On 7/17/22, the search team announced they had finished the search process and selected one man to be nominated to the church to be their new Lead Pastor.

Nominee

During the services on 8/07/22, the search team shared the name of Pastor Michael Lewis as the nominee to be the new Lead Pastor at Sarasota Baptist Church.  Michael’s family includes his wife Liliana and daughters Hope, Faith and Charity.
His ministry experiences include Lead Pastor at Roswell Street Baptist Church, Marietta, GA, Executive Director for Pastoral Care & Development at the North American Mission Board, Lead Pastor at First Baptist Church, Plant City, FL and Lead Pastor at Great Hills Baptist Church, Austin, TX.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia International University with a major in Bible and a minor in Pastoral Ministry, a Master of Divinity, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Honorary Doctor of Divinity, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.  

Next Steps

8/11-8/12:  Pastor Lewis will be meeting with the SBC pastors, staff, deacons and chairs of the standing committees.

8/13:  The church is invited to one of two Meet & Greet times in the auditorium with Pastor Lewis and Liliana.  The first will be at 10am and the second at 3pm.  There they will share their story, their hearts, answer questions and meet you.

8/14:  Pastor Lewis will preach at both services and the members will vote on calling Pastor Lewis.  Voting ballots for members will be available from 8:30am-11:30am that morning at several tables set up outside the Worship Center based on their last name.  The tables will be manned by deacons.  Completed ballots must be placed in ballot boxes by noon.  The deacons will control and count the ballots during the process.  After the second service and second hour connect groups, everyone is welcome to gather in the Worship Center for the deacons to announce the results at approximately 12:30pm and to celebrate with God has done and is preparing to do.

9/11:  Pastor Lewis will preach his first Sunday as SBC’s new Lead Pastor, if confirmed.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR FAITHFULNESS IN PRAYING FOR THE MAN AND HIS FAMILY BEING CALLED BY GOD, THE SEARCH COMMITTEE, THE DEACONS, STAFF AND THE SBC CHURCH BODY.  PLEASE CONTINUE TO FAST AND PRAY DURING THIS VERY IMPORTANT TIME.  PRAY ALSO FOR ROSWELL STREET BAPTIST CHURCH.
updated 08/08/2022
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