Third Church is a growing, dynamic congregation of 1200 members in Richmond, VA. Since its inception in 1834, Third has been committed to forming disciples and extending the good news of the gospel. As our vision states, we believe we are “called together for the renewal of all things through Jesus Christ.”

In this season of growth and change within both the church and the broader culture, the leaders of Third have made the strategic decision to develop a decentralized Parish model of church, which will expand upon and compliment our ongoing centralized programming. For over a year we have been piloting and preparing for this shift, planning for the official launch of the Parish model in January 2018. The congregation of Third Church is being apportioned into 11 “Parishes,” which are geography-based communities of about 100 members plus children, regular attenders and visitors. Overseen by a team of elders and deacons, the Parishes will become the primary vehicle of our church for connection, community, discipleship, and mission.

Within each Parish will be a network of Parish Groups, mid-sized communities of people seeking to follow Jesus together and extend the mission of the gospel in a specific place. 

The Parish model will enable at least two vital developments:

  • First, Parishes will enable greater connection between Third members. Parishes enable a large church to feel smaller even as our capacity for growth expands, and they provide an automatic path for anyone to be included.
  • Second, Parishes enable a distributed form of congregational mission. Every neighborhood in metro Richmond is different, and Parishes enable our members to think locally and contextually about the work of evangelism, mercy, and justice in the different neighborhoods and regions of our city.

Third Church seeks a gifted leader who will oversee this new model of Parish Ministry, and who can help lead our church into this next dynamic season of our church’s life.

The role of the Pastor for Discipleship and Parish Ministry is to lead and oversee Third’s Parish model of ministry, to support and train lay leaders serving within the Parishes, and to provide vision and direction for discipleship and mission at Third especially as it relates to the work of the Parishes. This will require a firm grasp of the beliefs, values, and strategy of Third Church, and the ability to align staff and key lay leaders with its mission. The Pastor for Discipleship and Parish Ministry will offer senior-level pastoral leadership along with the Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor, and will work to ensure that the systems, practices, and policies of the church responsibly and effectively support its ministry activities. 


1. Oversight and Leadership of Parish Structure

Responsible for the casting of vision, pastoral oversight, strategic leadership, and tactical planning for the Parish ministry of Third Church. This will include:

  • Preaching, teaching and communicating effectively and inspirationally about the Biblical, theological and strategic significance of the Parish model of church.

  • Serving as chief Pastor and Shepherd for the Parish life of the congregation, supporting and caring for people through the ups and downs of authentic community building.

  • Serving as chief “Community Architect,” overseeing the smooth functioning of the Parishes, and working with the Director of Adult Ministries to support and create effective organizational systems for the Parish model to best fulfill our strategic goals.

  • Directly overseeing the training, encouraging, and equipping of the Shepherding Elders, and helping support Deacons and other lay leaders who are leading the Parishes, including teaching and training regularly at leader gatherings.

  • Overseeing the vision, strategy and structure of the Parish Groups, ensuring regular training and support of Parish Group leaders with the help of the Director of Connection Ministries.

  • Alongside the Pastor of Mission and the Missions Team, offering guidance and support for the missional orientation and mission strategies of Parishes and Parish Groups as they seek to contextualize the mission of the gospel in the neighborhoods of metro Richmond.

  • Monitoring the health of Parishes and Parish Groups and responding as needed. 


2. Oversight and Leadership of Discipleship at Third Church, especially as it relates to the Parishes

Responsible for defining and protecting the discipleship pathways of Third Church, and bringing alignment toward a common model of discipleship among staff and programming. This will include:

  • Preaching, teaching, and communicating effectively and inspirationally about Jesus’ call to discipleship, and modeling that discipleship in word and deed.

  • Further shaping Third’s model of discipleship, refining and communicating the process for making disciples, and developing the plan for how Third’s leaders will implement the discipleship process.

  • Cultivating the culture of Parishes and Parish Groups to ensure robust discipleship is happening.

  • Empowering staff and key leaders to implement this discipleship strategy across all ministries, and ensure that all activities and programming of the church align with this common model of discipleship.

  • Measuring and monitoring the spiritual health of the church and, when necessary, holding staff and lay leaders accountable for the progress in their ministry areas. 


3. Senior-level Pastoral Ministry

Responsible for senior-level strategic and pastoral leadership of Third Church along with the Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor. This will include:

  • Meeting weekly with the Senior Pastoral Team to pray, plan, and process the overall strategic direction of Third Church.

  • Meeting monthly with the elders of the church along with the Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor.

  • Leading the staff team that oversees the work of the Parishes, including the Director of Adult Ministries, Director of Connection Ministries, and the Pastor of Mission when applicable.

  • Regular preaching and teaching.

  • Leading in worship and administration of the sacraments.

  • Conducting weddings and funerals. 

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The Pastor of Discipleship and Parish Ministry must be an ordained pastor with significant pastoral ministry experience and theology consistent with that of the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO). This person must have a passion for the mission of the gospel and a commitment to equip the North American church for its missionary calling in creative ways. This person must exhibit an entrepreneurial mindset, as well as demonstrating gifts in preaching, teaching, and leadership. This person must love people and be willing to walk with people through the ups and downs of community life. Though this position will have significant administrative support, this person must be an adept manager and communicator, and have facility for systemic and organizational thinking for the achievement of strategic ends. Finally, this person must be spiritually mature, energetic, flexible, and eager to join a fast-paced, collaborative team. 


Submit a cover letter by July 15th that explains what attracts you to this position,
your personal story of faith, your resume, and list of references to