Lead Pastor Transition

Proposal Response Form
Please click here to provide your input regarding the proposal on the transition of our Lead Pastor. The response window will close on Sunday, April 28 at midnight. Then, on Sunday, May 5, the Elders will announce the decision in the morning worship services.


Downloadable Materials:
Five weeks of devotionals for Grace Church, written by Tom Lewellen
A Church Family’s Path Through Founding Pastor Transition, a dissertation paper written by Nick Martineau

Sunday, March 24, 2019
Dear Friends of Grace,

In light of Tom Lewellen’s announced retirement in September 2020, we presented a proposal today in the morning worship services. If you were not present at the meeting, we encourage you to listen to the audio recording of the entire announcement below:

Our proposal is that the covenant members prayerfully consider before God whether Paul Cronenwett should succeed Tom Lewellen as the Lead Pastor of the church after Tom’s retirement.

We could begin to search for a new pastor by looking either inside or outside of the church for candidates. After much prayer, reading, and talking we concluded that we should start the process by considering a candidate from inside our ministry. While a number of reasons for this were outlined in the announcement, there is one primary reason for this conclusion: Our church represents a ‘replication culture.’ That means we are a church whose DNA is invested in discipling people to pursue new ministry opportunities. We have often done this in the past, which has allowed us to start new churches and ministries and to send out missionaries. Church studies indicate that churches like ours should seek to hire from within if possible. 

After concluding that this is a wise direction to consider, we presented this proposal to the church staff team. During January and February, they also considered this before God and gave us their united agreement to present it to the congregation. We believe that a decision as important as this requires the careful and prayerful consideration of the whole church family — only with your affirmation will we feel free to determine whether to move in this direction or take another route.

In order to assist the congregation in engaging in this prayerful decision, we are making the following resources available: 

  • Devotionals: Five weeks of devotionals have been written by Tom Lewellen and are available for the covenant members. Those who are not members may download them by clicking here. There are also a few copies on the Information Table. 

  • Books: Two books about pastoral succession are available at the Information booth as well as a dissertation that we found helpful. There are five copies of each available — feel free to sign-out a copy and return it to the Information booth when you are finished using it. The dissertation can be downloaded by clicking here.

  • Town-Hall Meetings: The Ruling Elders will lead two town-hall style meetings in the Auditorium on Sunday, April 14 at 6:00 pm (child-care provided) and Tuesday, April 16 at 7:00 pm. At these meetings, Paul Cronenwett will present his vision for the future of the church in some detail and we will engage in dialogue about the proposal.

After the first town-hall meeting, we will post a response form online to allow those who attend the church to give their input regarding the proposal. The response window will close on Sunday, April 28 at midnight. Then, on Sunday, May 5, we will announce the decision in the morning worship services. 

We urge you to engage in this process and to give us your free and sincere feedback. 

Love in Christ,

The Ruling Elders
Bob Bell
John Connolly
Mark Moreno
Todd Westerman


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Dear Friends of Grace Church,

Today in the morning services we announced that Tom Lewellen plans to formally retire as Lead Pastor of the church in September of 2020 — the 36th Anniversary of our church. The Ruling Elders of the church will present a proposal for securing a pastor to succeed him and then, if possible, allow a 6–12 month overlap for him to work with that person to transfer responsibilities.

If you were not present at the meeting today, we encourage you to listen to the audio recording of the entire announcement at the top of this page.

This Sunday, March 24, shortened worship services will be followed by a presentation of a specific proposal for securing a lead pastor that we will ask our church, and especially our covenant members, to consider over the next six weeks. Please make every effort to be present.

We look forward to engaging in this process with you and prayerfully seeking God’s direction for our church family.

Love in Christ,

The Ruling Elders
Bob Bell
John Connolly
Mark Moreno
Todd Westerman