Why should I be encouraged by this transition?
This transition is the healthy culmination of a succession plan initiated by Pastor Bill several years ago. It is the result of considerable prayer and countless hours of conversations with our Board and Pastoral Staff. Pastors Bill and David are seeking to walk in step with the Holy Spirit and are confident in the call God has on their lives. Bill is excited to pass on the leadership baton to David, and David desires to continue the ministry established by Bill. We celebrate this transition because we believe it is what is best for Riverside, Bill, and David!
How was this decision reached?
This decision has been developing for a long time and should come as little surprise. Wanting the best for Riverside when this day would inevitably come, Pastor Bill has been preparing David, the leadership team and himself to step into the next season as effectively as possible. A shared leadership team model has been adopted, David has adeptly stepped into the co-pastor role, and Bill has established a leadership coaching practice. Sensing the time is right, in March of 2019, Bill formally approached the board with the request to begin a pastoral transition. From there, Bill and the Board identified David as the candidate, and in the fall of 2019, David accepted the unanimous decision of the Board to let his name stand for election by the church membership.
How and when will the succession take place?
The vote for the new Lead Pastor will take place at the Annual Business Meeting on Sunday, March 15th at 6 p.m. at the Oakmont Campus. According to the church bylaws, a two-thirds majority of the ballots cast by the Active Voting Members at the meeting shall constitute an election. The Lead Pastor voting portion of the meeting will be chaired by the District Superintendent of the PennDel Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God, Rev. Don Immel. Upon election, Pastor David shall become the Lead Pastor, and Pastor Bill will take on the role of Founding Pastor.
Moving forward through the end of 2020, Bill and David will work together to position the church for a new leadership model to take full effect by the end of the year. In Bill’s role as Founding Pastor, he will continue to be a part of the preaching team and will help mentor David as the Lead Pastor.
Furthermore, a Succession Celebration Service is planned for Sunday, November 8 at 10:00 AM at the Syria Shrine where we will have a combined service with all four services from both locations for one gathering to honor the 32 years of leadership Bill and Teresa have provided to Riverside.
What can we expect in this next season at Riverside?
One of Riverside’s greatest strengths is our shared leadership model. We are led by a faithful and diverse staff as well as the Board. As a result, we are not a church built on the personality of a single strong leader. While Bill and Teresa will leave their unique mark on Riverside’s story, the identity of Riverside will continue to be shaped by the the team of servant-leaders who are surrendered to the Spirit’s leading.
Under David’s leadership, we will faithfully pursue Riverside’s mission of helping people find and follow Jesus. While David will certainly bring new ideas and fresh experiences to our church, there will not be any dramatic changes to our current core values or ministries. The multiplicity of communicators, variety of worship leaders and diversity of hosts will remain a unique distinctive of our culture.
As the coming year unfolds, there will be a new leadership structure that reflects David’s leadership style. The vision the Lord has given him is one that will provide for a Campus Pastor in Oakmont and a Campus Pastor at the Mills. David plans to split his time equally between the two sites providing vision, oversight, teaching and preaching in both locations. This will help to provide stability and maintain the unity of our “one church in two locations.”
This approach will require that two Campus Pastors be identified either from within the current staff or be added to the staff from outside the existing team. Over the past year we have been in conversation with Michael Evans and are pleased to share it is our full and prayerful intention for him to step into the role of the Mills Campus Pastor in the fall of 2020.
A search is currently underway for a Campus Pastor at the Oakmont site, and we will update you in the coming months as the search unfolds. As we prayerfully consider candidates, we will use this filter to help determine who best fits our needs – character, chemistry, culture, competency, calling and capacity. Please join us in praying for this important addition to our preaching and pastoral team!
Has David been prepared for this role?
Yes. David originally came to Riverside 22 years ago as the Associate Pastor. He and Amie have been preparing for this role for over two decades. David has been able to use his gifts and help to foster the culture and purpose of Riverside in conjunction with Bill and the rest of the team. David didn’t come to Riverside with his eyes on the Lead Pastor role, but over the last few years He has felt the whisper of the Holy Spirit to step into this role as Bill enters the next chapter of his life, ministry and leadership.
We believe that David’s love for the family of Riverside and his unique skill set is what is needed in the next part of Riverside’s story. Through Bill’s empowering leadership style, God positioned David in places where he could continue to hone the skills he would need to lead Riverside into the future. As you hear David share his story, it is evident that God has been preparing him for this role for many years.
What is the most exciting part about this transition?
God is continuing the story He is writing through Riverside! As we enter this new phase, we seek to help more people in our region experience the real, clear and creative message of Jesus’ love for them – His life, death and resurrection – and that they might follow Him! But this would not be possible without Bill’s visionary, pioneering leadership. God appoints different leaders for different seasons. We are confident that David is called to lead Riverside as we make disciples of Jesus and make His name great in our communities. This is an incredible time to be part of what God is doing through Riverside!
How can we best support the leadership of Riverside during this transition?
Without a doubt, what we need most is prayer! We’re excited for all that the Lord has in store for us as a church family, and we’re continually seeking wisdom, guidance, direction and provision from the Holy Spirit. We need your trust, patience, encouragement and support. We will complete this succession with love, honor, respect, unity and with a deep sense of gratitude for all that Bill and Teresa have done to serve Jesus and the family of Riverside.
Please pray for favor, blessing, provision and continued fruitfulness for Bill as he shifts his focus to his coaching practice and for Teresa as she retires from teaching in the Penn Hills School District. Ask the Lord to grant them strength and perseverance as they care for their aging parents. Pray that they may have many years ahead to enjoy their children and grandchildren. And thank God for their dedicated, faithful service to helping so many find and follow Jesus.
Please pray also for David and Amie as they step into this new calling of leadership in ministry. Pray for protection and provision over their marriage and family (Joshua & Olivia and Jenna). Ask the Holy Spirit to anoint them and empower them to provide the courage, care and vision Riverside needs in the coming years.
We also ask you to lift up the Board and Staff as they continue to provide leadership and oversight to the ministries, facilities and finances of the Riverside family. They need your backing, care and continued support as they remain faithful to the areas they provide oversight to throughout the church.
Who should we direct our questions about this transition to during this time?
If you would like to speak with the Secretary of the Board, please contact Mark Schubert at firstname.lastname@example.org.