Senior pastor succession

As a church planting movement, GCI is committed to participating with Jesus in his mission to multiply his disciples. Vital to that participation is the leadership provided by our senior pastors. Because many of them are reaching an age when they need to transition out of that ministry role, leadership succession is an increasingly common reality. There is no single approach to the succession process—in the U.S., Church Administration and Development works with each congregation to design a succession pathway that includes identifying, pre-qualifying and then installing a new senior pastor (or pastoral care team, as resources allow).

Several of these succession processes have recently been completed. In Seattle-Bellevue, Washington, Wayne Mitchell has succeeded Bill Miller. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, David Howe has succeeded Roger Abels. In Mesquite, Texas, Gabriel Ojih has succeeded Bob Persky. Below are reports on several others. Congratulations to the new senior pastors and our deep thanks to the senior pastors who, after many years of service, are moving on to new phases in ministry and life. We also thank the congregations involved for their active, supportive participation. And last, but certainly not least, we thank God for his generous provision and guidance.

Big Sandy, Texas, and Texarkana, Arkansas

Regional pastor Ted Johnston led the process in which Jerome Ellard succeeded Sonny Parsons as senior pastor of this two-church circuit.

Big Sandy installaion
Ted Johnston (holding microphone) presents Jerome Ellard (standing next to Ted) to the Big Sandy congregation during the installation ceremony. Pastor Sonny Parsons and his wife Jane are standing on the far right in the picture.

Watham and Holden, Massachusetts

Regional pastor Randy Bloom and district pastor Larry Wooldridge led the succession process in which Dishon Mills replaced Bill Ford as senior pastor in this two-church circuit.

Waltham installation
Left to right (back row): district pastor Larry Wooldridge, Afrika Mills, senior pastor Dishon Mills, regional pastor Randy Bloom. Front row: the Mills children.

The Colony, Texas

Regional pastor Ted Johnston led the process in which Steve Solari succeeded Arnold Clauson (now deceased) as senior pastor in this congregation on the north side of the Dallas metroplex.

Dallas North installation
Steve Solari, with his wife Barbara, is commissioned by Ted Johnston (center rear) and other GCI elders.

Ray Meyer’s experience

For a testimony from retired GCI pastor Ray Meyer concerning his succession process, watch this:

On YouTube at

2 thoughts on “Senior pastor succession”

  1. Looking forward can be one of the hardest processes we encounter in life. It takes some measure of courage, wisdom, insight, understanding of reality, love of God and love for sisters and brothers far beyond our natural human capacity. It involves some measure of inner peace with God knowing of the reliance we must have in God to be able step out of our long term realm of loved involvement in ministry service we have exercised for so long. Faith from our Heavenly Father, exercised by us is an expression of the depth of our relationship with God in and through this handing of of the baton to the next generation. May we all look forward as God supplies us with what we need in this process to continue to be a blessing to those we have and continue to serve in this process; for our beloved sister’s and brother’s, God’s people. My wife and I look forward to our involvement in this process as our turn will come. God Bless us all, David and Linda Husmann

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