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Long search leads to new pastor

Grace Baptist finds minister after many meetings

Posted: April 24, 2009 8:38 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Pastor David Hegg, left, sits next to his wife, Cherylyn, during the candidating process at Grace Baptist Church. Hegg became senior pastor at the church after more than two years of looking.

 
David Hegg, formerly of Corona, is the new senior pastor at Grace Baptist Church.

Corona to the Santa Clarita Valley isn't a long move, but the process that led to the move was more complex than it might seem. It started with Tom Givens, senior pastor at the Grace Baptist Church for 22 years, who retired.

When he retired, Grace Baptist went on a search to find a new pastor to fill Givens' shoes.

"Any pastor can do it if they feel like it," said Mike Gaston, the outreach pastor at Grace Baptist, speaking about who can apply for the position.

The church itself has 12 pastors who are each responsible for their own aspect of church life.

"We all had our own hats," Gaston said. When Givens retired, "We took on more responsibilities and shared the senior pastor role."
Grace Baptist took a congregational approach to finding a new senior pastor. First, the church organized a search team.

The team consisted of dozens of members from the congregation. They met weekly, made calls and visited churches nationwide in search of a pastor to fit in at Grace Baptist.

Once the search team found a candidate, they brought him in for the next level of inspection: the elder board.

Then the candidates preached to the Grace Baptist congregation. It's members then voted for, or against, the candidate.

Two-and-a-half years and a handful of pastor candidates later, the church announced its new senior pastor - Hegg. He was confirmed for the job in February.

Hegg attended Los Angeles Baptist College, which is now known as The Master's College in Newhall, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music.

"He knows the (Santa Clarita) community," Gaston said. "He isn't a total stranger (to the area)."

Hegg continued his education and earned his Master of Theology degree from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary in Portland, Ore. and his Doctor of Ministry in Preaching at Westminister Theological Seminary in Escondido, Calif.

Hegg answered a call to the ministry and was Lead Pastor at Northpoint Evangelical Free Church in Corona.

Then he was invited to move to Grace Baptist.

As a senior pastor, Hegg will do most of the preaching at Grace Baptist.

"He will also lead the team (of pastors)," Gaston said.

"I am so excited to partner with a seasoned and creative group of career pastors," Hegg said about joining Grace Baptist. "To team with men who have been brought together by God, and whose combined efforts have been so manifestly blessed by God, is a spectacular privilege."

Hegg is equally excited at the opportunity to "bring the benefits of Grace to the colleges in the area," as he has a special passion for that college-aged people.

"I most enjoy studying and bringing God's truth to bear on lives, whether in one-on-one conversations at Starbucks or from the pulpit," Hegg said.

"I trust the Word in the hands of the Spirit and just love to watch as minds are opened, hearts encouraged and lives are transformed."

"He's going to bring a lot to the church," Gaston said.

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