Ecclesiastes 3:1 says there’s a time for every activity, and a season for everything. That means that change is appropriate, and change is regular.
The Scripture also teaches that we ought to prepare. And it’s in light of preparation for change that I want to speak to you today.
In October of 2018, I will turn 66 years of age. In seeking to prepare for that, I asked the elders to consider this: “May I transition out of the position of Senior Teaching Pastor and moderator of the Session, and assume a position like Pastor of Teaching and Visitation?” They agreed with this, and approved this as a plan of action to be recommended to you.
Now in light of that, that would mean that now the pursuit of a Senior Teaching Pastor and moderator of the Session would need to take place.
After many months of prayer, the executive committee recommended to the Session, and the Session has agreed unanimously, along with the [pastoral] staff, to present to you Brian Salter as the next Senior Teaching Pastor of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church and moderator of the Session.
Now this idea began in a gathering of the pastors for long-range planning with then-vice moderator Miller Welborn. We’re excited now that it reaches you, because this is finally your decision, both on my transition and Brian’s assumption of this position.
Brian is committed to the team approach to ministry. If you’re not aware, the average stay of a pastor in America within a church is three years. But at Lookout, it’s 17 years. This is at least in part due to the team ministry. You see, we share preaching, counseling, strategic planning, pastoral responsibilities on virtually every level. And it’s our desire to continue in this team approach to ministry, and Brian’s assumption of this position will permit that to happen.
Were we to seek to hire the Senior Teaching Pastor from outside of the church, the likelihood is increased that one or some of us would be asked eventually to leave. And the Session would like to continue the team approach to ministry.
My personal friends have told me that transitions like this can be very difficult. You may be aware of that as well. This will likely preserve a great stability and smooth transition so that, for some of you, you may not even recognize any changes as taking place at all.
I want to say a word of thanks. I’m so thankful that the Session has approved this plan of action, for it will permit me not to retire but to carry on in full-time ministry and to do so here. I’m so thankful that they have approved the team approach to ministry and are unanimously recommending Brian Salter to you as the next Senior Teaching Pastor.
Now, why the relaxed pace? Well, 2018 will allow us plenty of time to answer your questions; to be careful to fulfill all that the Book of Church Order of the Presbyterian Church in America requires, including setting up a pulpit committee; and there will be multiple town hall meetings. I’m utterly available for your questions. Please feel free to ask.
Our prayer is that we glorify God in every step that we take here at Lookout Mountain. This is just one more. Please join us in prayer that this will glorify him much. Thank you.
This is a transcription of a video that was played in all services on Sunday, April 23, 2017. Watch the video here: LMPC Pastoral Succession: Recommended Plan