In 2000, and after only a few months without a Senior Pastor, Woodinville Alliance Church made a “coup” in the pastor-hiring category. In 2004, Mary Jammerman began as Executive Pastor at Woodinville … in October of that year, Senior Pastor Morris Dirks announced that he would resign.

To start at the beginning, in June 2000, and after only a few months without a Senior Pastor, Woodinville Alliance Church made a “coup” in the pastor-hiring category. Morris Dirks was well respected across the Pacific Northwest District and known throughout the United States and Canada. Dirks was at Salem, Oregon’s 3,000 member Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, and had been seeking God’s call to a smaller, growing church. He found it in western Washington, where he could pursue his passion for preaching, leadership development and spiritual direction. Pastor Morris and Woodinville Alliance, with the approval of the CMA District Superintendent, quickly came to the mutual conclusion that God was orchestrating Morris’ call to Woodinville. The church at Woodinville responded with great enthusiasm.

Fast forward three and one half years to 2004. Following the resignation of a senior associate pastor, it was decided that the key position to fill was that of Executive Pastor. This position was yet untried by Woodinville Alliance Church. This was a juncture in history where an unmet need intersected with a heart’s desire. Mary Jammerman had been serving on the Governing Board and, due to her experience in the HR field, has been assisting with church human resource issues. Pastor Dirks recognized Mary’s potential to serve on staff in this capacity; Mary had been praying for the opportunity to go into fulltime ministry. In January 2004, Mary began a new chapter as Executive Pastor at Woodinville Alliance Church.

In October of that year, Senior Pastor Morris Dirks announced that he would resign and he left in January 2005.

About Woodinville and the Senior Pastor Transition

Mary serves Woodinville Alliance Church of Woodinville, Washington, a church that works diligently to live out its mission statement. There is a strong call on the church and the individual to follow Christ. In the introduction to the New Members booklet, a quote is given from Senator Edward Hale, former Chaplain of the United States Senate:

“I am only one, but I am one; I can’t do everything, but I can do something. What I can do I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I shall do.”

This case study will seek to present Mary Jammerman in the midst of her ministry.

In the cover story for Church Executive Magazine, Rez Gopez Sindac writes, “with a clear sense of purpose and a knack for building relationships, Executive Pastor Mary Jammerman willingly takes the new challenges and opportunities that come with leading a 21st century church.” While Mary thought that she was getting a level 5 challenge in becoming an XP, it soon became a level 10 challenge. Mary’s preference is to have a close working relationship with the person to whom she reports. In her business career, she was often mentored by her supervisor—which helped her develop professionally. While that looked like the scenario at Woodinville, it was not to be.

In preparing for the article for Church Executive magazine, Mary said “I think the challenge is that there has to be a high level of trust and a very strong working relationship between the Executive Pastor and the Senior Pastor. Another challenge for the Executive Pastor is being willing to work behind the Senior Pastor and not need credit for what takes place in the church. I think it’s a challenge to not expect the limelight but to really take a strong support role. I have been very fortunate that my Senior Pastor absolutely has believed in me, mentored me and valued my input. I have never felt like I couldn’t speak into a situation. I did not expect him to always do what I say, but he gave me opportunities to speak into situations and decisions.” However, this relationship would change.

Mary was hired as the XP in January 2004. In October of that year, Senior Pastor Morris Dirks announced that he would resign and he left in January 2005. The Pacific Northwest District of the Christian & Missionary Alliance publicized the announcement: “Morris Dirks has resigned as pastor of Woodinville Alliance Church, in Woodinville, Washington effective January 9, 2005. He has enrolled in a full time doctoral program at George Fox University.” Dirks was a respected pastor in the church and Peacemaker Ministries had published his materials. Peacemaker Ministries is a national organization designed to assist churches in resolving conflict biblically.

Prior to posting their position, Woodinville’s leadership felt strongly that they needed to enter into a serious evaluation of who they were and where they were going before they could begin to define a profile for the next Senior Pastor. An ad hoc committee of pastoral staff and Elders were tasked with creating a vision statement that would focus the church toward the next ten years. At the same time, the governance structure was evaluated and the Elders began the unwieldy chore of review with intent to streamline and more clearly define the roles of the leadership. The objective was to create a leadership structure that would both strongly support and provide accountability for a new Senior Pastor.

To add yet another layer of concern during this transition time, there was apprehension, by some, that Mary was now placed in a position of responsibility without the direct supervision of a Senior Pastor. This was an awkward place for Mary to be. She has a highly responsible and highly visible role in a church without the benefit of a mentor to show her the ropes. “It’s where I am,” she says. “The corporate world was a much easier place to live. In some respects it was!” Mary is an XP without the buffer or collaboration or sponsorship of a Senior Pastor, and it makes the job much more challenging. The role of the XP is to work with the Senior Pastor. When that person is missing, it throws a lot more responsibility your way. “In my business life, I have not been like eagles or geese, flying the point. I am successful, comfortable and adequate working as the second person behind the one in power. Flying point is not my best place.”

About the challenging transition, Rez Sindac-Gopez asked Mary: “What is the impact of this transition period on your role as Executive Pastor? How do you handle the added pressure and expectations?” Mary responded: “Well, I am finding that while my job description is basically the same, I am being stretched in the role of liaison between staff and leadership, as well as general oversight on a day-to-day basis for church management. Our elders are our governance authority and they are committed to leading with strength through this transition as we seek God’s guidance for a new Senior Pastor. When the added pressure and expectation begin to overwhelm me, I look to God for strength and for His wisdom in each situation. I know that I am inadequate in my own strength, but I believe His word is true when He tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5 NAS).

Rez continued with a question: “Describe your working relationship with your Senior Pastor.” Mary replied: “We are in a transition phase at the present time. Our Senior Pastor resigned to pursue a doctoral program and God’s leading in his life to serve in another capacity. Prior to his resignation my working relationship with him was one of mutual respect and an understanding of one another’s roles. He is the shepherd of the congregation. With the pastoral staff he is responsible for providing church vision, ministry planning and development, spiritual guidance, counsel, mentoring, and overall staff leadership. We often collaborated on issues involving staff, ministry opportunities, budget decisions and general operations. I am blessed to have worked with a Senior Pastor who believes strongly in the role of women in ministry. I trust that God will bring us a new Senior Pastor who has the same level of confidence in me and with whom I can work as successfully.”

Career in Business

To understand Mary as an XP, it is helpful to gain perspective on her career in business. She was a Senior Human Relations Generalist in an engineering firm. As a part of a management team, they collaboratively made decisions about all things related to staffing. “How do we staff well, train well, compensate, and integrate with other departments.” Mary focused on performance management, working on the best management plan for the employees. She would often ask the question, “Who are the people that we put into places of responsibility?”

In her group she helped the “infrastructure happen—it was with the technical people, contracting, risk management, graphics, document processing, facilities, office services. We had about 200 employees in our group and about 800 people in the region.” The infrastructure supported the engineers, who were the “bread and butter” people of the firm.

A regional business manager led the area, and five regional technical managers reported directly to him. Mary provided the HR piece to complete the regional business management team. Altogether, she spent fourteen years with the engineering firm, with ten years in HR. She felt that her gifts and abilities fit the role and that she acquired the skill set required for the position. She enjoyed the issues of employee relations and performance management—even though it could often be “sticky stuff.” On performance issues, she would work with the supervisor of the employee, document the employee’s performance, have conversations with the employee and document those conversations. Then, she would set out clear expectations, give a timeline, hopefully engage the employee and move the employee along the continuum of performance to where they need to be.

When asked “why HR?” Mary said that it “brings out in me the ability to talk to people in a calm manner, with a calm presence. I enjoy being able to talk and engage without being critical or harsh. I enjoy helping people make improvements that will make them successful. It is very rewarding when someone turns around, is successful and is a satisfied employee.”

Mary found that many times people are hired based on skill. In her firm, people were often hired because they were great engineers. She found that people management or interpersonal skills are not always seen as important as technical education and experience. However, once those people are in the workforce, specifically your workplace, “If they don’t know how to do the rest of the piece—manage people well, create positive client relationships, sell the services of the firm—the technical expertise becomes secondary. They are a mess. Technical competency is there but some can’t interact with the clients.”

Mary was a vital player as she collaborated with the key managers as they discussed best practices relative to the firm’s greatest asset—their employees. There would be a problem issue and they would talk about it. One person would ask, “What am I going to do about the two employees that don’t get along. They each have value, so how can we sort it out? How can we bring resolution, or do we need to manage the person out of the organization?”

Problem Solving Skills

Mary found that she had problem solving skills. There was a synergy of working with others. She saw that when people have a common goal and are interested in coming up with a great resolution, that there was a high degree of satisfaction. There was satisfaction, even though the resolution may not be easy, such as moving the employee out.

With regard to the unfortunate time when an employee had to leave the firm, important questions and issues came into play. Some of the important questions were: “How do we do this transition and do it well? How do we treat the employee well? How do we keep the firm out of litigation? How do we deal well with their co-workers?” The issues of co-workers was key for Mary. The co-workers had often worked with the difficult employee for years. Yes, there was a performance issue, but there were also relationship and work issues. “We have worked with the person and counted on him/her for the services provided. If he or she leaves the firm, then there will be a hole. In some companies this frustration about who will do the person’s work causes them to move slowly or not all.” This fear of the future and unknown outcomes can create decision paralysis, which further erodes the integrity of the management team.

Training and Mentoring

Mary is deeply indebted to the engineering firm. It helped her acquire valuable skill sets. They provided a great deal of training for her to grow and expand her vistas. A vital piece was the ability to be mentored. “Mentoring is more than fifty percent up to the person who wants to be mentored. Pick out a person who has something to teach you.” Mary was hired by the governmental affairs office and it helped her learn the organization from the top down. The Vice-President of Governmental Affairs reported to the Board Chair.

As she was mentored by the Vice-President of Government Affairs, she gained a new perspective on the firm. “Things that I learned from him about the organization—the ability to ask questions … to learn who the players were … how to network effectively—all invaluable lessons.” Many of us think of mentoring as a wonderful path, without the stress and strain of everyday life. Many see a mentor as an advice giver, who only appears when requested.

However, there is another side of being mentored. There is a harder edge of reality. Mary says, “The Vice-President mentored me and he frustrated me to pieces. He knew everyone of significance in the organization, but had an inconsistent management style. One day we were having a celebration lunch and the next day he would be overly critical because a vendor was coming and there was a dirt mark on the door. I never knew what his mood would be.” Mentoring by someone in the office, specifically your supervisor, can be difficult and challenging. One gets the plus of the “inside scoop” but also the challenge of working with someone who knows you quite well and provides your day-to-day supervision.

While in Washington, DC, she had an “office lead position.” However, she was continually being given new learning challenges and opportunities. Her supervisor sent her on significant assignments and listened to her. On one such occasion, he brought in a consultant to help at a time when turnover was high; they did some work on communication and interpersonal dynamics using tools such as the Johari 8 window exercise. “The employees stabilized and the right people adjusted. Those that were not able to make the adjustment opted to leave and the office became a much healthier place to work. The VP was profoundly affected by what he learned about himself. ”

Following her introduction to the firm in Washington, DC, Mary received a transfer to the Corporate Headquarters in Denver, working with the President and CAO for a few years before transferring (back home) to the Bellevue, Washington, office. At that time she decided to (“finally”) finish her college degree. Interestingly, she asked the firm to pay three-fourths of the tuition. The company agreed. She advises, “Ask for what you want; if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. But if you ask, it might be yes.” Mary would have asked for more, but the institution was a Christian one and she would take religious classes. She didn’t think it ethical to ask the firm to pay for her religious classes. Mary obtained a degree in Organizational Management with a minor in Biblical Studies, which she refers to as the “frosting on the cake!”

Church Ministry

Woodinville Alliance is a Christian & Missionary Alliance Church (C&MA) and has 700 in worship each Sunday (a high of 1000+ with former Senior Pastor). Of the eighteen people on the staff, Mary is the first XP.

Woodinville has a mission statement that is similar to other churches: “to help people find and fully follow Jesus Christ.” However, the church further defines its mission statement by asking members and attendees to live out “Six ‘S’ Experiences.” The church believes that “a person who ‘fully follows Jesus Christ’ will consistently practice what we call the Six ‘S’ Experiences.” These experiences are both in print and on their website:

  • “Sunday” Experience: Committed to regularly celebrating God’s grace together.
  • Small Group Experience: Actively involved in a community of love and accountability.
  • Solitude Experience: Intentionally set aside time to meet personally with God.
  • Stewardship Experience: Choosing to submit my money, time, and abilities to God.
  • Serving Experience: Committed to a place of service in the Body of Christ.
  • Seeker Experience: Committed to relationships with people who need Christ.

The church has a unique introduction to their doctrinal statement, which is that of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church (C&MA):

The U.S Olympic team is made up of many different teams: gymnastics, swimming, boxing, track, volleyball, and on it goes. These athletes look and live diverse and contrasting lives—compare the 13-year-old gymnast with the 30-year-old weightlifter! However, when they walk into the stadium to open and close the Games, they march under one flag. When it comes to Christ’s church there are many different churches and denominations that have different worship styles and doctrinal statements. However, we must always remember that we march under the same flag if we hold to the basic truths given in God’s Word. At Woodinville Alliance we seek to build bridges to other Bible-believing churches and parachurch ministries on the Eastside because we believe that, when Christ returns, we will march into the stadium as one Church!

Woodinville is a church that desires its members to live out the mission statement. Many churches have a new member’s document that is five to ten pages long. In the training program for new members, the church distributes a twenty-five page booklet. The former Senior Pastor, Morris Dirks, begins the booklet by writing: “Our most important membership is in God’s family.” The booklet then calls new members to a high standard. Through a series of “Membership says” statements, new members are challenged to live a committed life:

  • “I belong here.”
  • “We share the same ministry goals.”
  • “I accept responsibility for a group of fellow believers in the family of God.”
  • “I am accountable to mature brothers and sisters in Christ for my walk with God.”
  • “I accept responsibility for how things are done here.”
  • “I want our church to be legal.”

The seven pages of the church’s bylaws allow for a small Elder board of five to nine members.

Rez Sindac-Gopec writes, “So what is it that makes Jammerman the authority figure you love to follow? ‘My identity is in Christ,’ she says. And in this world where many are convinced ‘image is everything,’ Jammerman’s words are as convicting as they are liberating.”

Rez Sindac-Gopez asked Mary, “How did God prepare you for your role as Executive Pastor?” Mary replied: “In addition to my background in the field of human resources management and administration, I have worked in a variety of volunteer and paid positions. I served on our church governing board for several years where my human resource skills were utilized in areas of staff hires and terminations, employee relations, and employment policy. I worked in administrative positions for corporate presidents and received valuable exposure to organizational management. I also had opportunities to lead women’s Bible studies, mentor younger women, speak at women’s retreats and seminars, and provide encouragement and leadership to women of all ages. I finished a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and biblical studies. All of these experiences played a part in preparation for my current role.”

Mary comments on the role of the XP to the Senior Pastor. “The role of the Executive Pastor is absolutely critical. The primary purpose of an Executive Pastor is to serve the Senior Pastor. The Executive Pastor must be able to keep the everyday pressures off of the Senior Pastor’s desk so that he can give the best leadership in a pastoral sense—preaching, teaching, casting vision, leadership development, and ministry strategy. If the Senior Pastor gets caught up in administrative issues, he will be siphoned off from his calling and fail to give the church the spiritual leadership that is needed.”

“People are people no matter where they work. The church faces the same challenges as does the corporate world, but because we are the church we often expect that relationships and challenges will be more easily resolved. In fact, the corporate environment more often provides for a cleaner, less messy way of dealing with people and issues! In the church, we’re a family and that often muddies how we see things, and yet at the same time we are an organization that needs to run as an organization to be effective. So it’s that fine balance that makes it difficult.”

Unique Flavor of Woodinville Alliance

Like most churches, Woodinville Alliance has a range of ministries for all ages and many types of people. It might have been the founding pastor that gave to Woodinville its heart for ministry. The founding pastor, Gary Higbee, was one of two graduates of Seattle Pacific University honored by the university at the 50th reunion of the class of 1955, receiving a medallion as a distinguished alumni:

Gary Higbee ’55 is a “semi-retired” pastor who hails from a long line of Seattle Pacific graduates. After all, it was 1911 when the first Higbees enrolled at what was then Seattle Seminary. With a degree in biblical studies from the family college of choice, Gary went on to postgraduate work and emerged from Fuller Theological Seminary with a doctorate of ministries and a heart for the church.

Decades of service followed. As a pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church (CMA) in California, Oregon, and Washington, Gary planted the Woodinville Alliance Church in Washington and became a CMA district superintendent. In addition, he and wife Nola Whittaker Higbee ’57 held biennial spiritual renewal retreats for missionaries in Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines.

The spiritual DNA may have been set in Woodinville Alliance by this distinguished pastor, with a “heart for the church.”

The church desires to live out its Mission Statement, conveying a servant and “seeker” spirit in many of its materials: “At Woodinville Alliance, we are continuously striving for relationships that build a strong community and help us grow in our relationships with God and one another.”

This spirit is seen as one reads about the worship services. In describing “the Sunday Experience, it says of the 9:15 a.m. and then of the 11:00 a.m.:”

The first of two identical Sunday morning Worship Services for 2005. You’ll find a relaxed atmosphere and contemporary worship with meaningful traditions from the past 2,000 years of worship within the church. Our pastors present a 25-35 minute highly practical message from the Bible. Tours and a reception follow each service.

You’ll find quality childcare at each service with an excellent child/staff ratio. Pagers are available for parents to be contacted if a child should need them during a service. Parking is available in our north and south campus lots as well as offsite north of the campus on 140th Street NE at the Woodinville Medical Center Campus and the Nelson Chiropractic Clinic. Regular attenders are encouraged to use the offsite parking as a courtesy to our visitors.

There is a high degree of intentionality to make visitors feel welcome, yet accepting them at the speed to which they desire to integrate into the church community. There is also the stated desire for regular attendees to help—such as by parking offsite.

  • The Children’s Ministries is designed for children through Grade 6 and contains a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) program for mothers of young children ages birth through kindergarten. On Sundays, there is an early childhood “Treehouse” program and an elementary “Clubhouse and Power House.” Children meet in the newly finished building. There is also a Parent’s Night Out and Vacation Bible School “Mexican Fiesta 2006.”
  • There are two unique Student Ministries that meet on Saturday night. “Fuel” is a ministry to 10th, 11th and 12th grade students, a place to hang out with friends, worship God, and learn what it means to follow Christ. “Souled out” is a ministry to 7th, 8th and 9th grade students, “existing to help students find and fully follow Jesus Christ.” Distinct from most other churches, the Jr. High “Souled Out” meets from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Saturday nights, followed by the Sr. High “Fuel” from 8:00-10:00 p.m. A High School program on a Saturday night? Many students commonly think of Saturday night as football night or “date night?” Yet, Woodinville Alliance boldly goes where few churches have gone before.
  • There are many adult ministries. In Spiritual Formation, there is a “Foundations of the Christian Faith course called The Jesus Code.” The Alpha Course, a ten-week exploration of the basic truth claims of the Christian faith, is taught. The Small Group Ministry is designed to “Help People Find and Fully Follow Jesus Christ.” There are women’s Bible studies on Tuesday morning, as well as Wednesday morning and evening. The Men’s Ministry is designed to provide men an opportunity to build relationships with other men in our church.
  • In Missions, the church states: “We desire to see God glorified all around the world. God’s power changes lives. Corporately as a church, we obey His Great Commission by reaching out with God’s love to others. Anywhere in the world, the faithfulness of one individual can make a difference.” The church hosts the class, “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement,” from the U.S. Center for World Mission. They have seven missionaries or projects. One project, the Valle Verde neighborhood of Tijuana, Mexico has had several groups go to serve that locality.

Living out the Mission Statement

To help understand the diligence of the church regarding living out its mission statement, one example may be helpful.

In 2004, the church considered housing a “tent city” on it property. The relocation of the tent city became regional news, eventually being noted in the Seattle Times. The Seattle Weekly reported:

The Woodinville Alliance Church is debating whether to be the next host of suburban Tent City 4, which now calls Bothell home but still faces regulatory hurdles there. Tent City 3, meanwhile, is quietly relocating to St. Joseph’s Church on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. The area’s two roving camps for the homeless, typically moving every three months, consistently have managed to find new ground over the years, despite some angry residents, lawsuits, and nervous politicians. Determining what ground to call home next is an ongoing challenge, though—for the volunteers and residents, certainly, but also for the communities that are reminded of the homeless problem with every move.

Seattle is not alone in addressing homelessness with tent cities. Other places have similarly struggled with how to calm nearby residents and find a satisfactory level of regulation and infrastructure to accommodate homeless campers. Some tent cities have seen success, others have failed, and others have struggled, eventually, to be accepted. Four U.S. cities have faced the same issues challenging Seattle’s Tent Cities 3 and 4.

This section from the Seattle Weekly presents the context for the decision. The church debated the wisdom of hosting the tent city and hosted an informational meeting, “The Woodinville Alliance Church will host an informational meeting open to the public to discuss the possibility of serving as host to Tent City 4 when the temporary encampment moves from its current location at St. Brendan Parish Church in Bothell in mid August.” According to The National Coalition for the Homeless, Woodinville Alliance Church then made a decision:

In the meantime, the Northshore United Church of Christ in Woodinville applied to host the camp after the Woodinville Alliance Church announced in July it had withdrawn from talks to host it. In August, the city bowed to public concerns and made a sudden council decision to move Tent City 4 to a city-owned industrial property rather than to the church property, which is near schools and homes, and which had volunteered to host the camp. Earlier in the month 200 residents attended a city council meeting, many voicing concerns about the Church’s offer to host the camp. The City enacted an emergency ordinance to allow for the use of the new site only days before the camp was to move to the Church property. On August 11, 2004, the residents of the camp in Bothell decided unanimously to move to the new site in Woodinville. The tent city may now remain on the City’s property for 40 days minimum and 60 days maximum.

The Northwest News reported that the church had a rationale for making the decision:

In the meantime, Woodinville Alliance Church introduced to its congregation the topic of hosting Tent City 4 for the camp’s next 90-day rotation. The church held a very well attended informational meeting June 27 to discuss the possibility.

“We do not believe,” said Doug Moore, chairman of the Woodinville Alliance Church governing board, “that Tent City 4 is the right fit for us at this time.” After six weeks of weighing many considerations, Moore said, church leadership decided to become much more active in reaching out to the needy in the community. “We will do this in a way that honors our mission and honors our neighbors,” he said.

One final quote concludes the external perspective on this difficult decision. A blog on homeless issues comments:

Tent City 4 is moving to the grounds of Northshore United Church of Christ, located at 18900 168th Ave NE, Woodinville. Pastor Paul Forman, pastor, can be reached at 425-483-6557. Pastor Forman chose, along with some members of his church, many of whom do not live within a couple of miles of the church, to bring Tent City 4 onto their land August 15, and decided this just very recently. Woodinville Alliance Church had decided, after months of careful study, that they would not offer their location to Tent City 4. Pastor Forman has stated that they have the constitutional right to host Tent City 4 with or without a Temporary Use Permit from the City of Woodinville.

The block quotes on this issue are longer than what may be expected for many issues. However, there are important values demonstrated by the church in the process.

The first value is that the church is proactively seeking to implement its mission statement. Second is that the church invited the community to discuss a controversial issue. The third value is that the church made a decision based on its values statement.

The conclusion to living out these values was an enormous amount of media coverage about a controversial issue. There was local, regional and national press attention on the issue. In all the media attention, there was no critical mention of the church. As a matter of fact, the church is continually mentioned in a positive light. The church is portrayed as having carefully weighed the issue and determined that it could not assist at the given moment. One might have expected a critical editorial comment from one of the newspapers and media outlets.

Building Issues

Woodinville conducted a capital campaign to finance a future addition to the church. The Senior Pastor, Morris Dirks, recognized that the church staff nor leadership did not have the time or specialization to conduct the campaign: “We retained The Goehner Group to assist us with a feasibility study which was followed by direct consultation throughout our building campaign fund drive … We are a congregation of 1,000 and simply could not negotiate all of the challenges along the way without wise counsel.”

The church broke ground in April 2004 on a 22,000 square foot addition to the church. On the website for Ryan General Contractors, standard information is given about the new building: “The project was a structural steel addition that tied in to an existing wood structure, matching the roof line and exterior finishes. Its primary use will be education and youth worship.”

While the first quote from Ryan General Contractors is not unusual, the second is. In their Adobe Reader file on the project, they say: “Ministry of Construction activities including weekly lunches for the workers. Seeds for salvation planted.” The church provided lunches each week for the workers, planting seeds of salvation. There are few churches that have provided lunches for construction workers. This is an intriguing outworking of Woodinville’s mission statement.

Mary’s Unique Contribution

In an interview with the Editor of Church Executive magazine, Mary is described by Rez Sindac-Gopez. Mary is said to have “a clear sense of purpose,” “a knack for building relationships,” “willingly takes new challenges,” “inspires instant respect,” “quiet confidence and composure,” and “an authority figure you love to follow.”

A Christian speaker’s bureau for the Pacific Northwest features Mary. Mary is listed as speaking for “Ultimate Grace Ministries.” Her profile gives another perspective:

Mary’s passion for speaking has its roots in relationships—with spouse, children, parents, friends, co-workers and above all with God as our Father. Her heart for people and joy in the Lord is evident the minute you meet her. As a skilled communicator, she is able to share understanding and knowledge of God’s Word in a relevant and practical manner.

Mary and her husband, Bob, have been married over forty years; have three grown children and three grandchildren. As often as her schedule allows, Mary makes herself available to speak to adults of all ages, sharing God’s truth, love and grace.

A list of her “popular talks” give a picture of her passion as a communicator:

  • “Marriage: Commitment Is Key!”
  • “The Enduring Years: Just When You Reached the Top… You Find More Hills To Climb!”
  • “Surviving the Divorce of Your Child”
  • “Queen Esther: Right Person, Right Place, Right Time!”
  • “Hiding Places for the Soul”
  • “Accepting the Love of the Father”
  • “Forgiveness—Optional?”
  • “Women in Leadership”
  • “Finding God’s Call and Commissioning”
  • “Truth Is Not Always Popular”

Mary was a key speaker at a Spring, 2002 “Women Seeking Higher Ground” Conference and was described by those who attended as being “in touch, creative, real and full of practical ideas.”

So, what’s in the future for Mary, for Woodinville Alliance Church, and for the new Senior Pastor that God is preparing for his next assignment? Well, Woodinville Alliance Church is in the mode of “staying the course.” The Pastoral Team is stronger now than they were a year ago. The ministries are moving forward. The team challenges each other and themselves as they strategize the pulpit ministry for the next months to make sure they are true to their vision and mission statements. Are they ready for a new senior leader? Absolutely! Are they sometimes discouraged and weary? Certainly! But they know that they are called to be about Kingdom business with and without a Senior Pastor. As for Mary, as she has said from the beginning, “I hold this position lightly. If the new Senior Pastor has a different approach to ministry and does not feel the need for an XP, or one with different strengths than I bring, I am willing to step aside. However, in the meantime, I will remain in place until the Lord releases me.” Mary has only two years of XP experience—two years that could not be more different from one another. For Mary, serving God is an adventure and every day is a new opportunity to say “Yes” to His call and then to follow where He leads. But, where will He lead?

 Executive Pastor Job Description

Woodinville Alliance Church is a growing church of 800 people located on the eastside of Seattle with a contemporary ministry designed to impact the surrounding community.

Our Mission Statement

To help people find and fully follow Jesus Christ.

Executive Pastor Position Description

The Executive Pastor position is a key management resource for Woodinville Alliance Church. This position reports directly to the Senior Pastor in supporting the planning, directing and administering of the vision of WAC. The Executive Pastor will have a reporting relationship with the Staff Management Team (SMT) that is complementary to the direct reporting relationship that the Senior Pastor has with the SMT (described in Reporting Relationships below). SMT at this time means the five lead ministry positions—Worship and Arts, Pastoral Care, Student, Administration, Missions/Outreach.

Reporting Relationships

The Executive Pastor will report directly to the Senior Pastor. The SMT positions will report to the Senior Pastor for church vision, ministry planning, ministry development, spiritual guidance, counsel, mentoring and overall staff leadership. The SMT will report to the Executive Pastor for carrying out the ministry plans, resources, human resource needs, developing efficient processes and day-to-day responsibilities.

Executive Pastor Job Description

  • Primary resource for the Senior Pastor for day-to-day management responsibilities that currently fall to the Senior Pastor such as resources, coordination, and priorities.
  • Work closely with the Senior Pastor, SMT, Governing Board, and Elders in the development of the strategic plan.
  • Function as a member of the Executive Committee and Governing Board, working closely with the Senior Pastor communication, meeting agendas and related issues.
  • Provide process and guidance for implementing the strategic plan by setting objectives with each ministry area covered by the SMT.
  • Monitor progress of SMT toward meeting ministry objectives, coming alongside the SMT with support and resources.
  • Provide a structure for supervision and ongoing, intentional evaluation of all staff and ministries.
  • Support the Senior Pastor in providing mentoring, leadership development and staff training as led by the Senior Pastor.
  • Be the primary resource for human resource issues including search processes, performance reviews, and terminations.
  • Understand and support budget development, approval and expenditure monitoring.


  • Professing believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior that desires to grow deeper in serving Him in their life.
  • Solid understanding of church leadership and the dynamic interface between staff and volunteers.
  • Servant spirit with a sincere desire to further the ministry at WAC through serving the SMT and Senior Pastor.
  • Demonstrated skill and training in all human resource areas.
  • Ability to develop processes with the SMT and create efficiency in meeting ministry objectives.
  • Strong relational and communication skills with small and large groups.
  • Proven skills in change management, visioning, conflict and people management.
  • Ability to adapt to the appropriate style or coach others in decision making.
  • Ability to come alongside other leaders to support and build their strengths in meeting ministry objectives.
  • Team building skills: Leading, training, evaluating and encouraging.
  • A relationship with the Senior Pastor and evidence of good chemistry for a supportive relationship with him and the SMT.

Minimum Education

  • Bachelor’s degree

Senior Pastor Job Description

Overall Objective

The Senior Pastor of Woodinville Alliance Church will lead the body toward the fulfillment of our vision and mission, in alignment with our values of prayerful dependency, transparency and unity.

  • Our Mission is “To Help People Find and Fully Follow Jesus Christ”
  • Our Vision is that by fully following Jesus Christ we will see:

“A Holy Spirit-Filled, Christ-Centered Community, of 2,000 Transformed Believers, Living Out God’s Word Supernaturally and Changing Woodinville, Seattle and the World”

Senior Pastor Qualifications

Positional Qualities

A. The Senior Pastor must meet qualifications for an Elder given in 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:6- 9 and 1 Peter 5:2-3. These qualifications deal with many areas of personal life, which are critical for fitness to serve as a leader in the church.

B. The Senior Pastor must be in agreement with the constitution and by-laws, doctrinal statement, and the philosophy of ministry of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and Woodinville Alliance Church.

C. The Senior Pastor will have a global vision for the lost and a commitment to living out the Great Commission throughout the body cross-culturally.

D. The Senior Pastor will have a vision for and experience with a church of small groups and will be able to lead our church toward deep spiritual transformation through transparent small groups.

Personal Qualities

A. Good communicator. He must be an effective communicator from the pulpit and in one-on-one relationships. He must be able to demonstrate the relevance of the Scriptures in daily life. He must be able to use discernment in exposing the obvious and subtle errors of society, and have the wisdom to teach the biblical model of life and thought.

B. Balanced understanding of Christian life. He must know the importance of God’s grace in the Christian life, affirming that salvation and sanctification are the result of God’s grace and not human effort; that good works are the outworking of God’s grace in the believer.

C. Team builder. He should be a strong leader who models, trains and inspires others to do the work of ministry—the pastoral staff, the Governing Board, Shepherding Elders and the church body. He should have a clear vision of the ministry of Woodinville Alliance Church and the ability to impart this vision to others. He should value consensus and be effective at conflict resolution.

D. Exemplary lifestyle. His personal life should be an example of integrity, humility, honesty and transparency. His life will be a reflection of Christian maturity—in his marriage and family, his relationships, and his church life. If married, the Senior Pastor must have a supportive wife who also has an excellent sense of God’s calling for ministry. He should be committed to spiritual growth and renewal for himself and the body.

E. Heart of love. He must have a love for God, his family, God’s people, the church, the lost and the ministry. He must be a person with a caring, shepherding spirit.

F. Man of faith. He must realize that without wisdom from God it is not possible to do the work of the ministry or even live a fruitful Christian life. He must model a life of faith and prayer.

G. Personal accountability. He will demonstrate accountability with the Shepherding Elders, as well as others who will work with him to protect and preserve his character, integrity and personal walk with God.

Professional Qualities

A. Biblical preaching. The Senior Pastor will deliver sound Biblical preaching with relevant application. He must have a commitment to the sufficiency, inerrancy and complete relevance of the Scripture. His theology must be consistent with the statement of faith of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and Woodinville Alliance Church.

B. Shepherding heart. The Senior Pastor will empower and provide leadership to the Pastor of Caring Ministries and the Shepherding Elders in order to cultivate an environment of consistent and healthy pastoral care, which empowers the spiritual giftedness of others within the leadership and the body at large, while maintaining loving, Biblical discipline.

C. Training. The Senior Pastor must have a formal seminary education, having achieved a Master of Theology or above, or equivalent.

D. Leadership Development. The Senior Pastor will demonstrate a commitment to identify, develop, and mentor staff and lay leaders to effectively extend the ministries of the church.

Specific Senior Pastor Duties

Preaching/Teaching Responsibilities

A. To preach Biblical messages covering all the counsel of God, so that the church members are fed a balanced spiritual diet. In addition, to develop and execute a comprehensive teaching strategy involving small groups, classes, seminars and workshops aimed to developing deep understanding of scripture and doctrine amongst the body.

1. To challenge believers in relevant and practical ways toward obedience and submission to the Lord.

2. Demonstrate ability to preach, expository and topical biblically-based messages.

3. To present the gospel so that the unsaved will understand, giving regular opportunity for the lost to respond in faith.

4. Work with the Pastor of Worship and Arts in the development and evaluation of all worship services to ensure that God is glorified and people are effectively led into worship.

5. Assist in planning and developing long-range plans for worship so that sermons, preaching themes, seasonal series and music are integrated.

B. To schedule time for regular study including the following:

1. Disciplined prayer and Bible study.

2. Reading of Christian resources beneficial to a mature and balanced ministry.

3. Attendance at seminars, retreats and conferences aimed at personal growth.

4. Fellowship with other pastors and Christian leaders.

C. To assure strong and consistent preaching from the pulpit.

1. Commit to at least 42 weeks per year in the pulpit (exceptions to be reviewed by the Governing Board).

2. Assure that others who fill the pulpit are qualified.

D. Offer regular access to the Essentials (membership) class for prospective members.

Administrative Duties

A. To support and mentor the Executive Pastor in the administrative supervision of the church staff.

1. To oversee the pastoral and church staff in order to meet the church’s needs and implement the church’s stated vision and values and meet commitments.

2. To give direction and support to the ministry team, keeping every ministry focused on the church’s visions and values.

3. Effectively delegate administrative tasks to staff and lay leaders.

B. Encourage and mentor the pastoral staff in the development and exercise of their spiritual gifts and talents in their area of ministry.

C. Work with the Governing Board and Shepherding Elders to assure effective operation of the church.

1. Along with the Executive Pastor, serve as a member of the Governing Board. The Senior Pastor may chair the Governing Board, or may delegate the responsibility to an appropriate Elder on an annual basis.

2. Serve on the Board of Shepherding Elders as an active member.

3. Provide pastoral leadership to the Global Outreach Team.

4. Establish and support an effective local outreach ministry.

5. To serve as an ex officio member of all other church-related committees.

6. Note: The leadership is currently in conversation about possibly changing the church’s by-laws for the purpose of creating an environment in which our Senior Pastor will be supported by and accountable to a smaller group. We are also interested in streamlining and clarifying our decision-making processes. We believe God is calling us to a higher standard in working together with our Senior Pastor.

Pastoral Responsibilities

A. To lead and work cooperatively with the pastoral staff and the Shepherding Elders to insure effective execution of key ministries and ordinances including:

1. Weddings, funerals, and child dedications.

2. Ordinances including the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.

3. Provision of pastoral care for the church, including home and hospital visitation, pastoral counseling and crisis intervention.

B. To promote the ministry of Woodinville Alliance Church in the larger community of the Pacific Northwest.

C. Along with his family, be an active member of the overall ministry of Woodinville Alliance Church.

D. Be an active contributor to the C&MA denomination and the Pacific Northwest District.

Employment Package Information

The Senior Pastor of Woodinville Alliance Church will benefit from a salary package recommended by the Executive Committee of the Governing Board and approved by the entire Board.

View the footnotes and graphics in the original PDF:  Mary Jammerman