Senior Pastor Search Update

By The Journey on September 18th, 2019

Church Family, 

Over the last several months, we have enjoyed another St. Louis summer together by growing in our understanding of rest, friendship, and stewardship through our sermon series and have been intentional about reaching out to those in our communities through various activities and opportunities throughout our city. 

Also during this time, we (the Board) have been in the process of seeking the Lord and discerning his will for our church as we look toward our future. In that timeframe, we have been able to have conversations with our lead pastors about where we are sensing God calling us as a church, and one of the major themes that has emerged from those conversations is the need to clarify our leadership structure moving forward. Within those conversations, our pastors have stated a need within our structure to have a Senior Pastor that would help shape our vision together as one church and help contextualize our ministries with each of our local churches.   

The Journey Board sees this next season and series of decisions as one that we must navigate with intentionality and prayerful discernment. We desire a deliberate and transparent process (Acts 13:3). With that said, Preaching Pastor Curtis Gilbert has shared his desire and calling to enter into this process, and because of his faithfulness and demonstrated leadership to The Journey, we want to honor him as the first candidate in this process.

As such, we've assembled a team of elders and women leaders who have been nominated by their respective local elder bodies to represent the diverse voices of our church (Proverbs 11:14). We have invited these leaders onto a team and into a process to do three main things:

  1. Be prayerful with us as we seek to follow God and love his church
  2. Provide input for the role and requirements of the Senior Pastor 
  3. Discern Curtis Gilbert’s and any future candidates’ calling for the Senior Pastor role  

This team consists of the following people: Slade Johnson and Laura Rakestraw (West County); Josh Wilson, Erin Karandish, and Sparkle Williams (Tower Grove); Dale Miesner and Angie Hoffman (South County); Chad Biehl and Mary Ann Turner (Metro East); Nathan Mattia, Michelle Macon, and Angie Mitchell (Hanley Road); Tiffany Hall (Human Resources); Brent Thies, Courtney Peebles, and Joel Steele (lay board elders).

This team has been commissioned by our elders to make a recommendation for the Senior Pastor to the lay board, who will then make the decision with the consultation of all our elders. In addition to this lay team of leaders, we also plan to meet with our lead pastors and a designated group of staff members to hear about their experience working alongside Curtis and ways they are discerning his calling as Senior Pastor. 

As of right now, Curtis is the only candidate that we are vetting, and we anticipate this process with him lasting throughout the fall. We plan to provide an update to the congregation regarding the decision around Curtis’ candidacy for the Senior Pastor role, and what our next steps might look like as a result. In the meantime, we’d like to invite you to specifically pray in these ways: 

  • That the Lord would bring unity, clarity, and discernment to all who are involved in this process and for us as a church moving forward 
  • That the Lord would protect our church and allow our focus to remain on the proclamation of his gospel
  • That he would bring joy and fruitfulness toward the ministry we get to participate in with one another in this next season  

As elders across The Journey, it is our joy and privilege to serve Christ Jesus and our church family in this endeavor. We are grateful for the team that has so diligently sacrificed for all of our benefit, to the staff and pastors that do so well loving our local congregations, and to Curtis and Tim Holley for their faithful pastoral care, wisdom, and leadership during this transition.

If you have questions or comments throughout this process, you may send them to

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

In Christ,
Brent Thies, on behalf of The Journey Board of Elders