Pastor Rick will preach for the final time as the Senior Pastor for North Highlands on April 30, 2023, which will also be his last official day as the Senior Pastor..
Pastor Rick Chitwood’s Announcement of Retirement
Pastor Rick Chitwood announced on March 27, 2022 that he will retire from his full-time role as North Highlands Bible Church Senior Pastor in April 2023. The following response was read by Greg Hatteberg respresenting the Elder Board.
“I would like to ask the Elders of the church to come forward and be seated in the front row in a sign of unity as we respond to Pastor Rick’s announcement.
When Pastor Rick expressed his thoughts to the Elder Board about retiring, we had a mixture of emotions like many of you may be feeling now: Thankfulness as we reflect on his years of service here at North Highlands Bible Church, sadness as we enter Pastor Rick’s final year of as our Senior Pastor, and excitement for the future that has been made possible through his leadership.
Pastor Rick’s service at North Highlands over the past twnety years is the longest running tenure of any pastor in our church history.
Pastor Rick and Shelly will not be leaving our fellowship at North Highlands. The Elders have heard his heart and will be affirming him and Shelly in any way we can. To that end, Pastor Rick and the elders are evaluating various ministry options, including a part-time pastor to seniors as well as being part of a preaching team.
We are fortunate that Pastor Rick has given us a year to conduct an effective search, which will ultimately provide stability and a smooth transition.
The elder board has focused on defining the work ahead, developing a strategic plan, discussing potential transition plans, and appointing a Search Committee.
The Search Committee has been intentionally made up of a broad representation of the church, composed of church officers, church staff, and individuals who have been involved at North Highlands for many years as well as recent members of the church.
I would like to introduce the members of the Committee and have them stand as I mention their names.
The members of the Search Committee are Carol Barrows, Scott Berry, Andy Gray, Alan Kirkpatrick, Allison Morrow, Kari Urban, and Jeremiah Wissinger. I will also be on the Search Committee serving as the committee chairman. I want to thank you for your willingness to serve our church by being on this committee. You may be seated.
The Search Committee has been meeting, praying, and preparing for this search process. We have been working on a number of things including the guidelines by which the committee will operate, drawing up a Church Profile giving an overview of North Highlands, and developing a Pastoral Profile describing the preferred criteria of our pastoral candidates. On completion, these documents will be available in the Pastoral Search section on the church website.
The Search Committee and Elder Board are committed to communicating with you throughout this process. We will post today’s information and all futures updates through our communication methods available here at North Highlands.
Because we value your input and recognize that all of us are in this process together, we have scheduled a Q&A session for the congregation after church on April 10, 2022.
The Search Committee will evaluate prospective candidates, then the Elder board will review and present a candidate to the congregation for final approval.
Specific details of the search and candidating process will be available in the Pastoral Search section of the website.
As we enter this process, the leadership would like to ask each one in the church to commit to praying with us throughout this process.
We ask that you pray in the following ways.
When is Pastor Rick’s retirement effective?
Will Pastor Rick and Shelly stay at North Highlands?
Yes, they are not leaving North Highlands and have no plans to move from Lake Highlands. Pastor Rick will be on a three-month sabbatical from May–July 2023.
What will the search process be?
Approving the new pastor will be a three-step process:
1. Evaluating Prospective Applicants by Search Committee
The Search Committee will evaluate prospective candidates and recommend one candidate to the Elder Board based on complete consensus of the Search Committee. The Search Committee’s recommendation will be an evaluation based on their resume, a questionnaire, reviewing messages, reference check, background check, visit of their church, and personal interviews.
2. Elder Board Review
The candidate will be interviewed and reviewed by the Elder Board. If accepted by complete consensus, they will present the candidate to the church. The Elder board will review the information gathered by the Search Committee and determine if any other information is needed. Once the Elder Board has competed their review, the candidate and his wife will visit the church for an interview. This is not the formal cadidating visit.
3. Approval by Church
Once a candidate has completed the formal candidating process with the church, the church will vote on the candidate for final consideration as outlined in the church Constitution. The congregation has the final decision-making authority regarding the Senior Pastor position. The Elder Board has determined an 85% approval rate by the Congregation is needed to extend a call to the candidate.
Who is on the Search Committee?
The Search Committee has been intentionally made up of a broad representation of the church composed of church officers, church staff, and individuals who have been involved at North Highlands for many years, as well as recent members of the church. The members of the Search Committee are Carol Barrows, Scott Berry, Andy Gray, Alan Kirkpatrick, Allison Morrow, Kari Urban, and Jeremiah Wissinger. Greg Hatteberg is on the committee serving as the committee chairman.
Each member of the committee has committed to praying for this process in general, as well as for being responsible for a particular day of the week for focused prayer as follows:
Sunday - Scott Berry
Monday - Allison Morrow
Tuesday - Jeremiah Wissinger
Wednesday - Carol Barrows
Thursday - Alan Kirkpatrick
Friday - Andy Gray
Saturday - Kari Urban
We would encourage people in the church to contact one of the Search Committee members to let them know they will be praying with them on their day.
Will the church have input into the approval of the candidate?
Yes. When a candidate has been presented by the Elder Board to the church, the church will have opportunity to meet and interact with the candidate so they can have a basis for a final vote.
What is the candidating process?
The candidate (and family) will be brought to meet the church family for the official candidating process. The church will have the following opportunities to get to know the candidate.
- Saturday Evening—Dinner meeting with the Elder Board and spouses
- Sunday Morning—Meeting with Adult Classes and preach in Worship Service
- Sunday Afternoon—Lunch with church
- Sunday Evening—Reception and Q&A with church
- Time TBD—Church Meeting to vote on candidate
- If approved, a call will be offered by the Elder Board
Will we have an interim pastor?
We do not plan at this time on employing an interim pastor to lead the staff or manage church operations. We will develop a preaching plan for the time period after Pastor Rick’s last Sunday on April 30, 2023. We anticipate that the pulpit will be filled by guest preachers as well as others who have been part of the North Highlands church family.
What will Pastor Rick’s role at North Highlands be going forward?
After retiring as Senior Pastor, Pastor Rick will not be leaving North Highlands. He and the elders are evaluating various ministry options, including a part-time Pastor to Seniors role, being part of a preaching team, or possibly being involved in a mentoring ministry to young pastors as an extension of the ministry of North Highlands. Rick and Shelly will stay as part of our fellowship, which will provide stability and a smooth transition for the new Senior Pastor. He will be available to teach, preach, and officiate weddings and memorials. The scope of Pastor Rick’s involvement will depend on the needs of the new pastor.
When will we have a new Senior Pastor?
It is impossible to say how long the search for a new senior pastor could take. Spring 2023 seems like the earliest possible time, allowing for a new Senior Pastor to relinquish his responsibilities at his previous ministry and make a transition to North Highlands.
How will we recognize Pastor Rick for his twenty-year service to North Highlands?
A celebration team will be put in place to develop plans for celebrating and honoring Pastor Rick and Shelly.
If we find a Senior Pastor before April 2023, will Pastor Rick leave earlier than expected?
No, if a Senior Pastor is called before April 2023, Pastor Rick will stay on full-time in a transitional roll with the new Senior Pastor. The Elder Board feels because of Pastor Rick’s faithfulness, it is our duty and responsibility to take care of Pastor Rick and Shelly through April 2023.
If we do not find a Senior Pastor before April 2023, who will do the preaching?
Pastor Rick will be on a three-month sabbatical from May–July 2023. During that time, we will have the pulpit filled by pastors and friends of NHBC. If for some reason the new pastor has not started by June 2023, or the search extends beyond that time, we will develop a preaching schedule providing consistency with a preaching team.
Who can I talk to about the Search Process if I have questions?
You can contact the Chairman of the Search Committee, Greg Hatteberg, with any questions. Also, any of the members of the Search Committee are available to provide information.