With Pastor Steve’s intention to retire at the end of 2018, the Church Council has engaged a search firm specializing in church leadership to aid in our transition to a new senior pastor. Information and documents related to the search will be available here. Check back often for the latest content.

If you have a specific question for the Church Council or Transition Team, please email In the meantime, join us in praying for God’s guidance in this process.

The Search Update, Return to Sourcing Phase | August 30, 2018

Dear Shepherd,

As we shared previously, the Search Team has been interacting with two excellent final candidates for our Senior Pastor role. I anticipated we’d announce our final candidate this week, but God seems to have redirected our path. Both candidates contacted us to say they feel God is calling them to stay with their current congregations. One was offered a senior position, and the other discerned that his existing role best fits his approach to ministry. While unexpected, we believe this result is the way our faithful God has answered our prayers.

We’re not discouraged. In fact, we’re encouraged, knowing God’s got this under control. We’re also encouraged by a Bible scenario that seems to relate: In 1 Samuel 16, when God sends the prophet Samuel to anoint Israel’s new king, seven of David’s brothers pass before Samuel as he waits with oil to anoint the chosen one. One by one, God confirms none of the brothers. David is not in the finalist pool because he’s out tending sheep. Likewise, God’s choice for us clearly is still “out in the field.”

So what’s next? We continue the search process. We will work with NL Moore & Associates to incorporate what we’ve learned as we return to the Sourcing Phase. The process will go more quickly this time, but it likely will be a few months before we identify new finalists. Pastor Steve and Julie have reassured us that they’ll continue to serve until our new pastor is in place.

Please pray. Pray for the encouragement and steadfastness of the Search Team. Pray for our consultants to be directed to the right candidate. Pray that the right candidates will sense a stirring to respond. And pray for the Council, Transition Team, staff and Pastor Steve.

Pray also for our congregation. Pray that we remain unified and positive as we trust that God will confirm our next leader just as clearly as he told Samuel: “Rise and anoint [David]; he is the one” (1 Sam 16:12). If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email

With thanks,
Fred Entwistle
Chair of Search Team

The Search Update, 2 Finalists | August 10, 2018

Dear Shepherd:

On behalf of the Search Team, I’d like to thank each one of you for your prayers. We have definitely felt your support and encouragement through the process and, most importantly, we believe God has been guiding and directing our efforts.  As we move past the mid-summer mark, we wanted to update you on the search for our next senior pastor.

Several weeks ago, the Search Team was presented with four excellent candidates. We spent time reviewing information including their resumes, written answers to questions and assessment results. We also watched numerous videos of sermons before engaging in initial interviews. While all four were quality pastoral candidates, the Search Team was unified in the sense of alignment with two people. We look forward to continuing the selection process with these two individuals.

Please be in prayer for the Search Team and these two candidates. Next steps include visits to their churches to view their current ministries in action, additional in-person interviews and potentially video chats, reference calls, and lots of prayers for discernment and wisdom.  Our candidates will need our prayers for their own discernment and clear call to Shepherd of the Valley, if that is how the Lord is leading them.

Here are some specific ways you can pray:

  • Please pray for God’s wisdom to guide our way, and for clarity and unity as decisions are made.
  • Pray for the Search Team to be attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and to follow in obedience.
  • Pray that all the details related to candidate interviews and visits go smoothly. Pray for safe travel for all.
  • Pray for all those involved in candidate interviews to be prayerful, discerning and wise in their reflections and recommendations.
  • Pray for the candidates and their families. The end of this process will result in a call to a new church family, community, school and home.
  • Pray for God’s peace to rule in their hearts and minds as they consider a new call.
  • Pray for Pastor Steve and Julie as they continue to walk this uncharted road.
  • Pray for the staff as they prepare to serve under a new and different leader.

Thank you again for your faithful support. We are encouraged and continue to trust that God’s got this! We will keep you updated as we continue to progress.

Fred Entwistle
Chair of Search Team

The Search Update & New Text Tool | May 18, 2018

Dear Shepherd of the Valley,

I’m writing to share the latest update about our senior pastor search and to let you know we’re launching a texting tool to make it easy to pray for The Search this summer.

We continue to hear good things from consultant Nancy Moore. Most recently, she reported that they’re moving a strong set of candidates through prequalification, assessment, and screening as they work toward assembling an official candidate pool to present to the Search Team for interviews.

In preparation for the summer interview phase, this weekend we’re launching a text-for-updates tool to provide you with specific ways to pray for that process.

Please text the word pastor to 651.424.0620 to receive The Search prayer requests by text. You will receive no more than 2 texts each month. (Do it now, while you’re thinking about it!)

We’d like your prayers during the summer months as this will be a crucial decision-making time both for our Search Team and for candidates who are interviewing for the position. The text updates will give you specific prayer topics and will serve as a good reminder to keep praying wherever you are this summer.

Thank you for your continued prayers for God’s guidance as we move toward the bright future he has planned for Shepherd of the Valley.

Brenda Van Vossen
Chair of Transition Team

Congregational Prayer Gatherings | April 4, 2018

As a church, we believe in the power of prayer. This is why one of the first teams created as part of The Search was the Prayer Team. Since its inception, this team has been covering this process and transition in prayer.

You are invited to join this team in prayer at an upcoming Congregational Prayer Gathering. Together we will pray for our church, our congregation, our leaders, and our next senior pastor.
Sunday, April 8, 11:15 am | Fellowship A NEW TIME & LOCATION
Tuesday, April 10, 11:45 am | Sanctuary
Wednesday, April 11, 6:30 pm | Sanctuary

The Search Enters Sourcing Phase | March 23, 2018

Dear Shepherd of the Valley,

We are excited to share that the search for our next senior pastor is entering a new phase—sourcing.

Based on the input shared by you at our January Search Input Meetings, our consultants have prepared a document that outlines the opportunity at Shepherd of the Valley. This Opportunity Profile will be shared with potential candidates, providing them insight to our congregation and the pastoral work. The Opportunity Profile, along with all of the documents related to our search, is now available on the documents page.

As we enter this new phase, I ask that you join the entire congregation in praying for our next senior pastor. Below are prayer events organized by our Prayer Team where we can gather together and pray over this process.

Sunday, April 8, 10:00 am | Gathering Area
Tuesday, April 10, 11:45 am | Sanctuary
Wednesday, April 11, 6:30 pm | Sanctuary
Thank you for your continued involvement as we move through this process and into our next season at Shepherd of the Valley. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email

In Him,

Brenda Van Vossen
Church Council President & Chair of Transition Team

An Update on The Search | February 4, 2018

Dear Shepherd of the Valley,

I’m writing to share an update about the process of finding our next senior pastor. As you’ll see below, things have been quite busy in recent weeks:

Current status of The Search: Working closely with the professional search consultant, we are fully immersed in the Planning Phase and, over the next few weeks, expect to move into the candidate Sourcing Phase. Thank you to all of you who took time to attend the recent Search Input Meetings. The consultant team said they heard consistent feedback about our church’s needs.

Web-based updates:
You’re reading this online, so thank you for visiting The Search website, just launched today! Use the navigation buttons above to find a timeline, team bios, documents, and prayer requests all related to this process. We will update this content regularly.

Annual Meeting:
 As shared at services this weekend, our Annual Meeting is next Sunday, February 11, at 12:30 pm. Join us for an in-person update from the Church Council and Transition Team as they will share details about the process and answer questions. I hope to see you there.

Volunteer to help: We still have openings for people to serve on the Hospitality and Pastoral Support teams, which will help with hosting visiting candidates and supporting our new pastor and family, respectively. If you’re interested in serving on either of these teams, send an email to

Again, thank you for your prayers as we move through this process and toward the bright future God has for Shepherd of the Valley. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email

In Him,
Brenda Van Vossen
Church Council President & Transition Team Chair

The Search at Shepherd is Beginning | Monday, January 8, 2018

Dear Shepherd of the Valley,

As shared at worship services this weekend, with Pastor Steve’s retirement next year, Shepherd of the Valley has begun working with a search consulting firm specializing in church leadership to plan our transition to a new senior pastor in January 2019.

The initial phase of The Search includes opportunities for you to get involved.

  • Search Input Meetings
    Share your input with consultants handling our senior pastor search.
    Sunday, January 21, 11:15 am | Fellowship D
    Monday, January 22, 7:00 pm | Fellowship B
    Tuesday, January 23, 11:45 am | Fellowship C (childcare available)
  • Serve on a Team
    We’re establishing new teams for the transition process such as hospitality, pastoral support, and others. If you are interested in serving, email to
  • Stay Tuned
    The Transition Team will be sending periodic updates about how The Search is progressing, but if you have questions along the way, email us anytime at
    We know God holds Shepherd of the Valley in His hands, and we trust Him to guide us faithfully toward our future. Thank you for your involvement in this process.

In Him,
Brenda Van Vossen
Council President

A Message from Pastor Steve | Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dear Friends,

This weekend I shared with the congregation my intention to retire near the end of 2018. I’m writing this letter to clarify, to say thanks, and to encourage.

First, let me clarify. This was not an easy decision. It took a long period of contemplation, prayer, and conversation with my wife, Julie. The reason it was hard is because I love Shepherd! I have been blessed beyond words to have the privilege to lead this wonderful congregation. And, I’m still having fun—God is at work! So why retire now? Well, I’m 64 and I’m sensing that God has something else for me to do. I better get at it before I’m too old! I am also sensing that God is ready to put a new pastor at the helm of Shepherd and I want to make way for that to happen.

So, thank you. Thank you for being a spirit-filled congregation. Thank you for being a support and encouragement to me for 31 years. Thank you for your faithfulness and service whenever and wherever it has been needed. It has been, and continues to be a joy, to watch and experience.

Finally, I want you to know that there is a wonderful group Shepherd has hired to guide the search for a new pastor and aid in the transition. They are led by a talented God-loving person, Nancy Moore. She is familiar with our congregation and has successfully led churches from all parts of the country through this same process—we have sufficient time to do this well since I am sticking around for another year or so. Most importantly, as we turn to God to lead us during this time, we know from experience that He will be faithful.

God bless you all. And may we continue to serve Him well each day.

In Him,