Lead Pastor - Encounter Church

Located in Ventura, California, ENCOUNTER Church is a thriving, gospel-centered, intergenerational, and missional congregation. They have a rich history, established reputation and an ever-evolving influence in the Ventura community. For the past 6 decades, ENCOUNTER has celebrated tremendous Kingdom impact not only in Ventura County, but around the globe as they have obediently reached out their hands to serve both across the street and across the world.

They are seeking their next Lead Pastor who, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, will be committed to aiming ENCOUNTER towards their mission and continued impact in the years to come through a life of prayer, dynamic teaching and shepherd leadership. The Elder Board and Leadership Team have a long history of supporting and working collaboratively with the lead pastor to further the goals of reaching the world for Christ.


ENCOUNTER began in a living room under the name of Bible Fellowship Church in 1953. Today’s east end campus includes an 800 seat auditorium, 250 seat multi-purpose space, 30 classrooms, offices and a preschool. Their goal has always been to communicate and share the grace of God locally and globally. The Bible has always remained their source for ultimate truth and direction as they embrace three essentials to “Encounter God, Encourage Each Other, and Engage the World.”

ENCOUNTER is a church for all people and is committed to leading them towards a life focused on the finished work of Jesus, the hope of the Gospel as declared in God's Word, and the way this truth transforms them into becoming fully devoted disciples of Jesus. The church purposefully works to reach a wide demographic, with a large, active preschool, children’s, and youth programs, as well as many interest and life stage small groups. ENCOUNTER hosted the first Celebrate Recovery effort in the area, which continues to be a major church ministry.

ENCOUNTER continues in faith as God uses His church to make Jesus known to a growing community. The church is passionate about pursuing Christ and reaching outside their walls to love like Jesus did throughout Ventura County. ENCOUNTER is also highly engaged in support of missionary programs and families around the world, has a Director of Global Outreach and a Missions Team that directs the church’s missional focus.

ENCOUNTER is a loving, accepting, “come as you are” church exemplifying God’s grace to all people.

ENCOUNTER is committed to three essentials:


They encounter God in a very personal way through their weekend services. When they come together, everything focuses on getting to know Jesus better through His Word and expressing their love for Him through music, prayer, communion, and the arts.


When they center their attention on their relationship with God, they discover authentic community with each other. They encourage each other through loving actions and using the unique abilities God gives them to serve others. God actually went so far as to define Himself as “love” — not the superficial love glamourized in the media, but the kind that really cares, forgives, makes sacrifices, and reaches out to people. At ENCOUNTER they meet in community groups with the objective of getting to know each other beneath the surface and extend this love to each other.


As Christ followers, their focus turns outward to a world of people who really need what God offers. They intentionally share the love of God with people who have never come into a relationship with Him. They serve those who are hurting or in need. In church…at work…school…or around their neighborhoods they are a part of what God is doing globally to relieve suffering and hopelessness and bring the gospel to those who have never heard.


The Lead Pastor will provide spiritual leadership and direction of the church. This includes preaching, teaching, and preparation of future leaders; working collaboratively with the Elder Board in establishing and carrying out the vision for the church; and directing & working with the Executive Pastor to provide operational oversight of the ministries of the church.


TEACHING – Present scriptural teaching that feeds and inspires both the most mature believer and the unchurched. Will be responsible for the teaching calendar, personally teaching at least 70% of the time, while overseeing and mentoring other teachers to achieve an integrated message from the pulpit.

VISION – Unite the congregation behind a clear strategic vision for ENCOUNTER.

LEADERSHIP – Oversee and encourage the church staff and volunteers and lead by example through collaborative decision making. Will work with the Elder Board and Executive Pastor to hire future staff, mentoring and developing them as leaders to achieve Kingdom goals.

EVANGELISM – Carry out the great commission, both here and abroad. Will support the missions program of the church.

SHEPHERDING – Shepherd the congregation, both personally and through other church leaders, to bring people closer to Jesus. Ensure a broad range of options for connection and growth, especially active small groups, and ministries such as care, children’s, youth, and others. Will be accessible to people to help build community.


  • Agreement with the ENCOUNTER Statement of Faith.

  • Ordained by a recognized and reputable denomination or church organization.

  • Minimum of five years senior leadership experience in a multi-staff, multi-generational church context.

  • MDiv (or equivalent) preferred.


  • Must have a vibrant, intimate personal relationship with Christ demonstrated by a strong prayer life and consistent daily devotional times.

  • Has a passion for those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ, as demonstrated by intentional efforts to build relationships with them.

  • Outstanding communicator of biblical truth, encouraging the congregation to apply these truths to their lives. Able to present and provide biblical teaching necessary for believers of all stages of maturity to develop and deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ.

  • A visionary leader who is able to stretch the congregation and staff beyond the status quo in their respective relationships with Christ.

  • Consistent spiritual, moral character, and lifestyle, complying with the biblical leadership qualifications described in 1 Timothy and Titus.

  • A focus on the welfare of his family to ensure that they are cared for spiritually, emotionally and physically (1 Timothy 3:4,5).

  • Meets regularly with accountability partners.


Ventura, California

Ventura is a simple, relaxed, comfortable, and beach-oriented community. Sitting on the edge of a national treasure, the Channel Islands, you can take day trips to several islands, hike and bike on many local trails, shop in Santa Barbara, or drive over to Ojai to explore.

Officially known as San Buenaventura, which means "city of good fortune" in Spanish, Ventura is located about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles on the California coast. Ventura has a Mediterranean climate, typical of most coastal California cities, with the sea breeze off the Pacific Ocean moderating temperatures. International airports, professional & collegiate sports, world class restaurants & shopping, amusement parks, national parks, skiing, and many other activities are at your fingertips!

Ventura has a population of 106,000 and a median age of 39 years. As the county seat, local government is a major employer, and retailer Patagonia has its corporate headquarters in the city. Other economic drivers in the county include a 17,000-person naval base, biotech leader Amgen and other tech and manufacturing, and thriving agriculture, healthcare, tourism and retail sectors. Ventura Community College is in the city, and four universities are within commuting distance. This is fantastic, family-friendly, community and a terrific place to call home!

to view the full opportunity profile

click here

apply online

AGORA Search Group is a Colorado Springs search firm providing executive search and selection services to churches, and faith-based non-profits throughout the world.

Malcolm Schaad and Rob Lauer are leading this search. For over 20 years, Malcolm has been serving the church in senior leadership roles. Malcolm’s experience in recruiting, marketing, and communications helps fuel his passion to fill high-level leadership roles within the local church and Christian organizations.

Rob founded AGORA in 2000 and provides nearly 30 years of executive search, church consulting, and pastoral ministry experience for our clients. Rob has a passion to serve organizations with an emphasis on building relationships throughout the executive search process versus the typical transactional approach. He is adamant, believing not every great leader or pastor…is a great fit…for a great organization or church. As a result, he and his team invest significant time matching exceptional leaders with outstanding organizations.

For further details regarding this position please contact:

Malcolm Schaad

VP of Recruiting and Operations

AGORA Search Group




apply online

return to searches page