Pastor succession

commissioningIt was a day of mixed emotions recently at Christ Fellowship Church (one of GCI’s churches in the Cincinnati, Ohio area). The congregation said good-bye to their senior pastor Rick Shallenberger and his wife Cheryl who have served them for 12 years. They then celebrated the installation of their new senior pastor, Dustin Lampe, who serves with his wife Rachel.

CAD director Greg Williams (pictured above, right) was present and gave specific charges to the congregation before he and Rick commissioned Dustin. Rick then passed the baton of leadership to Dustin (see picture below). After the baton-passing ceremony, Greg commissioned Rick as a U.S. regional pastor. A meal for the congregation followed the service.

pass baton

The oak baton used in the ceremony was made from an ancient tree located on the grounds of a Wesleyan church in Minnesota. The display (pictured below) was crafted by CFC elder Mike Lockard.

baton display

Reflecting on the day, Dustin posted this comment on Facebook:

Twelve years ago I was beginning my journey in church ministry by voluntarily teaching Sunday school class to teens. At about the same time my current church was beginning a journey with a new senior pastor named Rick Shallenberger. I didn’t have the foggiest idea where I was going with it or why I felt so compelled to teach. Now I see that God knew.

This past Sunday, I was commissioned as senior pastor of a most wonderful, down to earth, good-hearted church. Rick graciously and selflessly empowered me to take over what many would consider the dream job that was his. Christ Fellowship Church was of the same mind, patient with me and always willing to find reasons to accept my approach and the changes that have resulted.

Faith is present at times like these and even seems more real than “certainty.” Certainty is its own end, but faith opens up the world into a greater mystery. Because of the faith of Christ, I am filled with wonder and awe and belief in God and his unrelenting pursuit of people. Because of Christ, I am filled with hope and energy to believe in God’s love for all, from the wealthy and satisfied to the broken and downtrodden. I will not discriminate between the two.

Many are now looking at me with a great expectation that I will be a fine senior pastor for them. I realized this with the utmost of awareness on Sunday. I have never been one to enjoy a lot of attention on myself. But a funny thing happened as I was struck with the awareness of the expectations of my new role. I had a series of images flash through my mind of times in my life when I felt at peace. And the still small voice said, “so it is now.”

And so I rest easy in the arms of my Father in heaven. And I wake up working like crazy each day (except one) glad for the opportunity to be united completely in my heart and mind as a testimony to a God who is good!

3 thoughts on “Pastor succession”

  1. Dear Dusty and Rachel,

    May the Lord be with you and be the Light guiding your path now and forevermore. What a tremendous privilege it is to be involved in the ministry of the word. The journey you are embarking will be both rewarding and challenging. Always place your trust in Him, both in the good and the bad times.

    Dear Rick and Cheryl,

    We pray God’s abundant blessings upon you as you walk into your new ministry opportunities. May the Lord grant you both much wisdom and may your hearts continue to lovingly reach out to His people and to the world that so desperately needs to hear the truly “good news”.

    “There are three stages in the work of God: Impossible; Difficult; Done.”
    – Hudson Taylor (1832-1905),

    In Chist,
    Santiago and Elke

  2. To two wonderful ministry teams: It is inspiring to see how God works out all things for His glory and for the good of His children. May God continue to guide you four as you continue to minister in fresh, exciting ways. See you at Converge!

  3. Dear Dusty and Rachel, Rick and Cheryl,
    May our Lord Jesus be with each of you, each step of the way.

    Rick and Cheryl congratulations on the new challenges and assignment! Continue in your wonderful service to our Lord! A special thanks for your labors of love thus far, and prayers for your continued work in a new assignment.

    Dusty and Rachel, Blessings wished to you from our Lord Jesus for your response to His ministry call. Continue on in His path for you! How wonderful it is to see your growth with our God in your statements, and we pray for your future together as a couple, and a team with Jesus in His ministry works! God Bless you all,
    David and Linda Husmann.

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