This Sunday, October 2nd, I shared this announcement with our congregation:
The book of Ecclesiastes declares “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven”. For almost 23 years, I have had the great privilege and pleasure to be your Pastor. I, and my family, have been loved and nurtured by you. As much as I would welcome the challenge to be your pastor forever, God has other plans. Seasons change. I have prayed over this decision for the past several months and I am confident that God is leading me to step aside as your Senior Pastor. I love you and know the best thing I can do for you, your families and the FBCW family, is to do what I can to ensure the future of this church is secure. To do this, we are entering a very thoughtful succession plan and search for your next pastor.
Today, October 2nd, we are officially launching this search. Over the next several months, we will be working through a congregational search committee, and a professional nationwide search firm, the Vanderbloemen Search Group, to locate what will initially be known as a Shared Lead Pastor. This title indicates the intention to make this a transitional process from my pastorate to a new Senior Pastor.
We expect this search to take several months. The prayerful expectation is that by May 1st, 2017, a candidate will be determined and brought before the congregation for affirmation. This would allow for that pastor to relocate during the summer months and begin ministry as we enter the busy fall months. As this new pastor becomes acclimated to our community and congregation, my role will change allowing him to take the title of Senior Pastor. It is my intention to stay on in some pastoral capacity until February 2018.
Over the next few days and weeks, we will be creating avenues of communication on the search process, details of the transition, and progress toward a new Senior Pastor. The intention is to provide information at every step of this endeavor. There is much God has planned for the future ministry of this family of faith. I, and our congregational leaders, covet your prayers for this important new stage in the life of our church. I, and your leaders, commit to honoring God in every step of this transition so that this congregation may continue to be a witness to His glory and work in our community.
My desire is to faithfully finish the task God has called me to as your Senior Pastor. Over these next days and weeks, I hope to answer questions you might have, share a few stories of where we have been and are going, and give witness to the great work and
future that lies ahead for this great congregation. We have been especially blessed by God and I am excited about what God will do as we walk through this time of change.
Grace and Peace