Pastor Brian Episcopo is God’s clear choice to be AAC’s next senior pastor.

Since 2014, the Governing Board has been prayerfully engaged in a strategic planning process to guide our future leadership transition. We have completed the “planning phase” and are moving into the “active transition” phase, which involves the entire AAC community...  
 
The planning phase revealed two distinct priorities for this transition: a) continued pursuit of AAC’s vision and b) preservation of our unique DNA/culture. During this phase, the Governing Board explored sourcing candidates internally and externally, from outside both the church and denomination. Advisors assisting with the planning phase counseled us to stay within the CMA for theological/continuity reasons, limiting external candidates to Alliance pastors only. Due-diligence investigations for outside candidates revealed that there were no external candidates that met our criteria and the very limited CMA candidates that potentially met our criteria were not willing or felt like they were not being called to be part of the process. These investigations also affirmed the talents and abilities of Pastor Brian.
 
During the execution of the planning phase—pursuing our two priorities (mentioned above) and exploring any candidate options within The Christian and Missionary Alliance—the Governing Board discerned that Pastor Brian is God’s clear choice to be AAC’s next senior pastor.
 
Because of this conclusion from phase one, we have chosen to go into the Communications Phase and then directly into the Active Transition Phase, which will last two years. The Board has asked Pastor Brian to take the helm in January 2023, which provides two years for a healthy and effective transition process.
 
The next steps involve assembling a Transition Team of individuals representing staff, ministry, and leadership to help steer this two-year process. This team will provide a roadmap for our leadership transition, including the mile-markers for communication with the congregation.  

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How can we support Pastor Brian during this transition?

Healthy leaders pursue ongoing development; it's no surprise that Pastor Brian has a personal growth plan in place that includes mentoring from influences both inside and outside AAC. The Governing Board will ensure he has the proper support and mentoring to become the leader God’s designed him to be. Your support and prayer throughout this time is encouraged.

How can we support Pastor Dennis during this transition (and during the presidential election)?

Only full-time Alliance workers are allowed to vote in the presidential election as an accredited delegate. However, everyone can support Pastor Dennis through prayer. This is 100% in God's hands. 

If you'd like to learn more about Pastor Dennis' nomiation, please visit cmalliance.org

How did the Governing Board's process lead to Pastor Brian?

The planning phase focused on clarifying our needs and pursuing a wise transition process. It involved: 

  1. consulting with outside firms, other large churches, the district superintendent, and other key leaders; 
  2. establishing priorities for the leadership transition; 
  3. sourcing candidates (internally and externally); and 
  4. seeking God's wisdom and leadership throughout. Additionally, this entire process was under the supervision of our CMA District Superintendent Jeff Brown, who has been responsible for filling more than 200 pastoral positions.

Two priorities emerged in planning phase: 1) continued pursuit of AAC's vision, and 2) preservation of our DNA/culture. These priorities led us to looking within the CMA denomination. The process of sourcing candidates quickly identified Pastor Brian as both the strongest candidate and God's clear choice.

 

How does Pastor Dennis' nomination to C&MA President change our transition?

Pastor Dennis is humbled and honored to have been nominated to the presidency of the Christian & Missionary Alliance. A vote will take place at General Council on June 2 in Nashville, Tenn. and if elected, he would begin this role in August. This is 100% in God's hands. While Pastor Dennis of course wants to complete his time here at AAC, he feels a calling to steer the Christian & Missionary Alliance strongly toward its vision.

The Governing Board is working with Pastor Brian and Pastor Dennis to accelerate the 2-year timeline for senior pastor transition. This work has already begun. If elected, the Governing Board, Pastor Brian, and Pastor Dennis feel confident that we will be able to make a smooth transition in August 2021.

We are also aware that if not elected, returning to our planned 2-year transition may no longer be appropriate. We are working on a plan to accelerate the transition timeline regardless and will communicate with the congregation what that will look like.

Where are we in the Transition Planning Process?

During the execution of the "planning phase" of the strategic process started in 2014, the Governing Board discerned that Pastor Brian is God's clear choice to be AAC's next leader. In December 2020, we announced this would be a 2-year transition, with Pastor Brian taking the senior pastor role in January 2023. However, God had different plans. In February 2021, Pastor Dennis was nominated for the presidency of the Christian & Missionary Alliance. (What an honor!) This nomination has accelerated our transition timeline.

PRAYER

None of this could have happened without the dedicated and heart-felt prayers over the past six years. Let’s keep it up! The Governing Board is asking for focused prayer for:

  • Pastor Dennis - This will be a significant change in his life and, while he absolutely feels this is God’s ordained next step, he understandably will require our support as he steps down from being AAC’s senior pastor.
  • Pastor Brian - Both Pastor Brian and Hannah ask for prayers as they make this transition in their professional and personal lives. 
  • Governing Board - The Governing Board went into this process with eyes wide open, and even more so, focused toward Jesus. They know this decision is God’s and God’s alone. Offer praise to God that He so clearly led the Governing Board to this understanding.
  • For AAC’s Senior Leadership Team and staff, as they provide support to Pastor Brian as he steps into the role of senior pastor.
  • For our church, that God would continue to provide his blessing and protection as move into our next season of ministry

A MESSAGE FROM PASTOR DENNIS:

To the church family at AAC,
These past 23+ years have been nothing short of an absolute privilege for me. It has been my greatest honor to serve alongside all of you as your senior pastor. I've watched you trust God with God-sized faith—what an amazing journey we've been on!

I sincerely believe we have just begun to scratch the surface of becoming a national and global influence for Christ. As a father to Pastor Brian, I'm understandably proud. However, this decision was never about Brian, or him being my son. It was always about finding God's sovereign choice to fill the lead chair at AAC. The GB, MK Stevenson (our consultant), and Rev. Jeff Brown, representing the C&MA, have been extremely thorough and prayerful in leading the process. Brian is God's man! I believe our best years are yet ahead! Blessings, Pastor

 

A MESSAGE FROM PASTOR BRIAN:

First: Wow. What a sincere joy and humbling honor it will be to serve the families that helped raise me. Growing up in this church has given me the privilege of experiencing first-hand your care and love. Hear me: I am the product of God using your selfless love, extravagant generosity, persistent prayers, and faithful mentorship. This opportunity to serve as your pastor is validation of God using YOU. Therefore, as a product of each generation's investment, it is my sincere passion to link arms with every generation in advancing this church's vision forward. 
 
Through much prayer, Hannah and I clearly heard God's call to serve here with you. Over the next two years, I could not be more excited to see God use my Dad, and my Senior Pastor, lead us in that vision and to pick up right where he leaves off. The Gospel reminds us, our church's brightest days are ahead of us for sure. Thank you for preparing me and extending a front row seat to see all our Savior will do in and through us. I'll say it again, backwards: Wow!

WATCH VIDEOS

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AAC Leadership Transition | Jeff Brown

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AAC Leadership Transition | MK Stevenson Consulting

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AAC Leadership Transition | Dr. Dennis Episcopo Presidency Video

 

TRANSITION TEAM

This page will be continually updated by the Transition Team throughout the two-year active transition. Check back often for updates!

ANNE ZEAMER

Communications Director

Leads the transition team and process.

KRISTINE OLSON

PR Consultant

Supports the internal team lead.

BRYAN BRANDT

Governing Board Liaison

Keeps GB apprised of Transition Team activities and vice versa.

LEAH SCHEURER

Communications Lead

Represents the comm team to design and execute all transition communications, using existing AAC channels and creating transition-specific vehicles as needed.

REV. DAN DINKLER

Prayer Team Lead

Articulates specific prayer requests for each phase of transition; shares with the communications team and church prayer channels, including from the pulpit as appropriate.

DR. MARK HARRIS

Outgoing Pastoral Care Lead

Provides support to Pastor Dennis and his family as he transitions away from his leadership role. Keeps Transition Team apprised of outgoing pastor’s needs throughout the process.

REV. MARK TEGTMEIER

Incoming Pastoral Care Lead

Supports the incoming pastor and family as he transitions into a leadership role – both personally and professionally. Keeps Transition team apprised of incoming pastor’s needs throughout the process.

BILL DOUGLAS

Staff Stewardship Lead

Liaison to the AAC staff, fields questions and/or comments, and updates on any organizational reporting structure changes and budget changes.

CARISSA VANDALEN

Hospitality/Key Events Lead

Responsible for managing specific functions/events.

BELLE SMOLL

General

Represents a key constituent group within the church. 

BARB MLODZIK

General

Represents a key constituent group within the church. 

ANTHONY MCCORMICK

General

Represents a key constituent group within the church. 

TOM & LINDA KUBISCH

Ministry Volunteers

Members and ministry volunteers.