Given the advanced age of many pastors, several GCI congregations face pastoral transitions. One such (successful) transition is detailed below by John McLean, GCI-Australia National Director.
GCI-Australia National Administration works with pastors as they retire and with their replacements. Later this year, Randall Bourchier will be retiring as pastor of Mooroolbark Christian Fellowship (MCF) and connected churches. Matthew Gudze will be taking his place. Randall and his wife Mary will continue serving the congregation in a variety of ways—the value of their wisdom, experience and insight will not be lost. I thank Randall and Matthew for the warm, proactive and collegial friendship expressed as we have worked through the transition process. Together, our major concern and priority has been the health and wellbeing of the congregations involved, as well as the life situations of the ministers and their families. My thanks to these men and their wives as they have negotiated what is not always an easy transition with grace and care.
Randall was instrumental in the development of the MCF pastoral team. He has done outstanding work connecting the congregation with the local community, in prayerful and Spirit-led involvement in incarnational mission. He is well-known for his creative, artistic gifting. Combining this with excellent theological depth, he has made a great contribution to the role of worship in our national fellowship.
Matthew, Sandra and their two young children moved into the Mooroolbark area some time ago where Matthew has worked with Randall and the othere leaders there for some time. Matthew has a Master’s Degree, and gave up a secure and well-remunerated career to join the ministry. He has a heart for the gospel, for mission and ministry, and is a blessing to the fellowship. His humble and gentle approach, and genuine concern for others, as well as his research and teaching abilities, are wonderful ministry gifts.
My heartfelt thanks to Randall and Mary for their years of wonderful dedicated ministry pastoring the MCF and connected churches—for Randall taking the initiative in this journey, and for the couple’s continued ministry. The congregations have been aware of these developments throughout the year. My thanks to the pastoral team as it has prayerfully and collegially discerned the lead of the Spirit in these developments, working through Randall with National Administration to arrive at this outcome.
I know that the individuals and congregations will appreciate your prayers for God’s blessing on these upcoming changes—that the Holy Spirit’s work might be done in everything.
Note: though GCI-USA does not have a mandatory retirement age for its employees, Church Administration and Development asks all lead pastors (employed or bivocational) to work with their regional pastor to develop a transition plan. The planning should commence when the lead pastor turns 62. Even though the actual transition may be several years away, it takes considerable time to identify and properly prepare a new lead pastor (or pastoral team) and we want the transition to be as smooth as possible for all concerned.