How did we get to the recommendation of Tom Conlon? Check out this Search Team timeline:
Team launch 8.6.2022
Review of job description-approved by vote in 12/2021, 2017 survey, and 2021 congregational dialogues data by CG Leaders, Artists and Worshipers
Worship Survey questions revised and sent to congregation in September 2022 (about 50 parishioners responded), search team reviewed and gathered insight
Listening sessions with 3 parish members that have held a role leading Worship and search team discussion after sessions
CGBC website with job description
Churchstaffing, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, BGAV, social media
Candidate interviews (October - December 2022)
Decision 12/22/2022 on Tom Conlon
Reference checks and staff questions
Announcement 12/25/2022 and 1/8/2023
Read what others have to say about Tom Conlon. (hint, it's really good!)
Leader, Uptick Leader Development
I would suggest the following strengths in Tom Conlon as a candidate for this role at Chestnut Grove:
Clear focus of his role as a one who makes disciples for Jesus through worship and music, not as a musician who happens to play in church.
A lifetime of leading in creative worship.
Apostolic experience of generating and sharing Kingdom content.
A “DNA” match with the ethos of Chestnut Grove.
Demonstrable chemistry with staff and lay leaders.
Strong ability musically and with technology around musical equipment.
Heart to involve and disciple fellow musicians.
National credibility as a thought and practice leader in his field.
I could speak of a number of personal experiences where I experienced the presence of God as Tom led – in churches, home concerts, through his albums, as a speaker. For me, however, it was Tom’s work with a cohort of Uptick artists that sealed the deal. He discipled them. He did not interact with them in a “music-only” or technical way; rather, he demonstrated, modeled, and led a group of individuals to collaborate in a manner that caused them to grow (individually and as a group) as disciples. Out of that, they generated an album that continues to inspire and bless me, and others. All of this is a way of saying that Tom’s most memorable accomplishment, to me, is seeing this kind of Kingdom fruit.
I would recommend Tom without reservation. When I first met Tom, I would not have guessed that he would shift from his itinerant ministry. But in a sustained conversation with him, I have come to understand and believe that God has called him to a kind of rootedness in a Kingdom community that this position at Chestnut Grove might offer. I truly pray that, “if it seems good to you and the Holy Spirit,” this match might happen. To me, it would be a symbol that Chestnut Grove intends, even on its 250th anniversary, to be forward-facing and deeply creative in disciple-making, fruit-bearing, and leading in worship in ways that surprise and delight.
Director of Eugene Peterson Center for Christian imagination at Western Theological Seminary
I think Tom has a kind of integrity… he leads out sort of a deep sense of his calling and his way in the world. He is appropriately resistant to some of the worst and most obsessive parts of the Worship culture in the church. He has a deeply artful soul. He is slow. He loves people. People are drawn to him.
Memorable accomplishments in the last 20 years of knowing him. He was artist in residence for a season at All Souls in Charlottesville and pulled together disparate people and nurtured them in a life of Worship and creating that space for others. He is really good at bringing true skill and artfulness into a space and in a way that is relational.
Founder of Eunoia Creative Community Charlottesville
Founding member and Elder at All Souls Charlottesville
Evan noted that Tom has so many strengths, but Evan did note that Tom's ability to connect with people on such a deep level and so genuinely, would perhaps be his greatest strength.
Most impressive accomplishment: Evan told a story of his involvement with Tom on a recording project for an album. Tom had the almost supernatural ability to be flexible, pivot and keep the quality of the work despite multiple musicians on the project pulling out at the last second.