As I’ve been having several conversations with people about Pastor Matt’s resignation in terms of the stability of Christ South and the building of a worship center, after people get through the surprise and disappointment, they quickly move onto, “What are the next steps?” For that, I want to give you as many of those steps as I can see right now.
Christ South: We have a transition team in place who will clarify immediate needs such as worship leadership, music, pastoral care, program, staff, etc. We have several people who have graciously stepped up to fill that gap in the short term while we develop a long-term plan for identifying and interviewing new staff members and volunteers. We want Christ South to remain uniquely Christ South. We love the variety of what it means to be Christ Lutheran with all the different campuses. (We are also actively looking for an indoor place to worship.)
Conversations: We had a meeting at South after worship on July 18 that was very positive. I’ll be doing another one on August 1 as people will have had more time to process. In addition, I’ll be meeting with the staff, the band and key leaders to talk through these changes.
Call Committee: The Council will approve a call committee, probably at their August meeting, to join me in interviewing candidates to be the next campus pastor of Christ South. This often takes longer than anyone expects so we will start quickly. Again, if you have someone you would like us to consider, please reach out to me.
Worship Center: While it is the Council’s intention to move forward with the building of a worship center at South, groundbreaking cannot happen without a signed contract, and we can’t have a signed contract without a congregational meeting. In other words, we can only formally continue with congregational approval.
Town Meetings : Before this congregational meeting to approve any contract to build, we will have town meetings for people to understand the contract, talk through this transition and make a faithful decision on moving forward.
Donors: I have spoken to about 25 of our larger givers to speak more in depth about this change and their commitment. The overwhelming majority are still on board with their gifts, while at the same time, understandably, would like to see stability and leadership restored.
The short-term plan is to remain positive, listen to people’s concerns and find people to fill in during this transition. The long-term plan is to continue the vision, find a new pastor and build a worship center for Christ South. We know that losing Pastor Matt is a big loss, but we also know that the vision is greater than any individual. Any church that crumbles with the departure of a pastor was never built on solid ground. I believe the ground at Christ South is solid, built on the preaching of the Gospel, the administration of the sacraments, the cohesiveness of the community and the mission to reach people.
I see God’s providential hand at work. I see Jesus bringing healing and forgiveness. And I see the Holy Spirit at work changing people for good. And for that, I am convinced that we move forward with the vision to do church in a new way.