Pastor Transition

Pastoral Nominating Committee

The PNC (Pastoral Nominating Committee) was voted to represent the SPC congregation and begin the process of interviewing and discerning who will be the next Lead Pastor for Sammamish Presbyterian Church.

The PNC includes: Heather Choco, JJ Borichewski, Pramukh Jeyathilak, Steve Kamm, Denise Knopp, Debbie Poulin, Erica Stephens, Clay Trushinsky, and Sara Winnick. You can read their bios HERE.

Sammamish Presbyterian Church's lead pastor must be gospel-centered and mission-minded. They must be an experienced leader, capable of casting a vision and leading into that vision, and have the skill and strength to help SPC chart a new path forward. They will enter a congregation eager to be fed and ready to grow as disciples of Jesus. SPC is a family that looks to know God better, serve him well, and grow in fellowship with one another.

Winter 21-22

  • Jeff ends his call at SPC
  • Announcement of Interim Pastor
  • Pastor Tom Dabasinskas begins at SPC as Interim Lead Pastor

Spring 2022

  • Staff/Session retreat to begin insight gathering
  • Vital Church Survey
  • Personal and group interviews
  • Congregational Meeting

Summer 2022

  • Survey results revealed
  • Mission Study
  • PNC: Pastor Nominating Committee formed

Fall/Winter 2022-2023

  • MIF: Ministry Information Form (church resume) created
  • Receive/review PIFs: Pastor Information Form


  • PNC vets top candidates
  • Finalists visit PNC in person
  • Final candidate is chosen by PNC and preaches at SPC
  • Congregation votes
  • Approved candidate is installed

VitalChurch Reports

After conducting the All Church Survey in March, and then compiling and interpreting the results, VitalChurch Ministry has provided SPC with three written versions of their report and suggestions of how we can move forward to become a stronger, healthier congregation during the interim time between lead pastors.
Links to each report are below.

One Page Overview
Executive Summary
Detailed Report


What is the history that led us to searching for a new pastor?

In 2021, after 13 years of serving as Lead Pastor at SPC, Jeff Lincicome accepted a call to serve as Lead Pastor at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church in Grosse Point Farms, MI. Jeff concluded his time serving at SPC in October, 2021, and the Session began working with Presbytery to determine how best to engage in the interim time.

In January, 2022, Session called Tom Dabasinskas to serve as the Interim Lead Pastor. The session and staff have now begun intentional work to strengthen the ministry of SPC and help us prepare for the upcoming years of ministry together.

In the meantime, we are seeing God work in powerful ways through SPC. We believe the most exciting and effective days of ministry impact and life are still ahead of us.

How will we find our new pastor?

Our church Nominating Committee – the same committee that finds and recommends elders and deacons will prayerfully seek out and nominate church members to serve on the search committee, also called the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). As a congregation we will vote whether to appoint this slate of candidates, who will be authorized to conduct a search and recommend our next pastor. The PNC will have the support and counsel of the Seattle presbytery as it undertakes this important task.

How will the PNC search for a new pastor?
  1. The PNC will receive a report on our church called a Mission Study, prepared by a subcommittee of the Session, formed for this purpose. This report, which will also be made available to the congregation, will contain extensive information about our community, the ministries of SPC, and the priorities, beliefs, hopes, and dreams of the congregation.
  2. The PNC will use the mission study to create a Ministry Information Form (MIF). This will be the church’s “resume,” designed to communicate clearly who we are as a church: how SPC seeks to be a Christ Centered, Mission Minded Family in the upcoming years.
  3. Session and Seattle Presbytery leadership will assist the PNC in finalizing the MIF, which will then be posted online, where pastoral candidates have access to it.
  4. The PNC will begin receiving Pastor Information Forms (PIF) from pastoral candidates seeking a call. How long this process takes depends on how many PIFs the PNC receives.
  5. The PNC reviews and prayerfully considers the PIFs, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance as to who God might be calling to SPC.
  6. Through PIF reviews, online sermons, phone interviews, reference checks and in person visits, the PNC identifies their top candidate(s).
  7. On different weekends, the top candidate(s) meet in person with the PNC, and each candidate preaches at a “neutral” church somewhere in the Seattle Presbytery (i.e. neither SPC nor the church where the candidate currently serves).
  8. The PNC chooses a final candidate and notifies Session and Seattle Presbytery. The Presbytery leadership does its own background check.
  9. The candidate visits and preaches at SPC, and the congregation votes to accept or decline the candidate and her/his terms of call.
  10. Following a vote to accept, the pastor is installed.
That's a lot of steps. How long will this process take?

Assuming the PNC starts its work in September, 2022, we anticipate calling a new pastor in the late spring or early summer of 2023, although this could change.

What is the purpose of the interim pastor during the transition time?

Interim pastor, Tom Dabasinskas, who was nominated by a subcommittee of Session after consideration of a number of candidates and voted on by Session, will be a “bridge” between Pastor Jeff and our new pastor. He will support the ongoing ministries and committees of SPC. This transitional time is important to allow the church to adjust and prepare for the changes ahead. This process shouldn’t be rushed. Tom is specially trained to minister with churches in transition, and can help make this a healthy and productive time for the congregation.

What input will the congregation have in this process?

The congregation’s participation will be essential for the PNC to create a clear and accurate “resume” (MIF) that will attract the attention of the pastor God is calling to SPC. All congregants will be asked to give input in two forums: through the online Vital Church survey and at congregational meetings. Congregants may notify the nominating committee if they wish to serve on the PNC. And members will vote, both for the PNC and whether to accept the PNC’s chosen candidate. Most of all, congregants will participate by continuing to support each other in fellowship through the ministries of SPC, at church, in the community, and in the world. We’re in this together. We will listen to the Holy Spirit and follow Jesus as a body. Through this transition we will become stronger and more mature as a congregation, ready to follow God in the journey of faith before us.

Important terms and abbreviations:
  • PNC: Pastoral Nominating Committee. This group is tasked with nominating our next long-term pastor.
  • MIF: Ministry Information Form. The church’s “resume,” which prospective candidates will review to discern a call. The MIF will be created by the PNC.
  • PIF: Pastor Information Form. Pastor candidates’ resumes, which they will send to the PNC if seeking a call to SPC.
  • Mission Study Subcommittee: Group tasked with gathering and compiling data about the community and the SPC congregation and using it to create the SPC Mission Study Report. The PNC will use the information in this report to create the MIF. The congregation will have access to this report.
  • Vital Church Survey: This online survey is utilized to gather helpful information on congregants, congregants’ practices, areas of growth and priorities. The goal is 100% participation!