Passing the Baton

Pastor Brian Episcopo is God’s clear choice to be Alliance’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 Alliance Church community...  
 
The planning phase revealed two distinct priorities for this transition: a) continued pursuit of Alliance’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 Alliance’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.  

 

WATCH VIDEOS

 

PRAYER REQUESTS

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—Pray for Pastor Dennis and Judy as they arrange their new schedules, responsibilities, and life in and outside the church going into 2022 and beyond.
  • Pastor Brian—Pastor Brian and Hannah ask to pray for God to be honored in every detail of the process and every heart that is a part of it. Prayer that God would be front-and-center in the preparation at home and in the church. 
  • Governing Board—Give thanks for the GB’s unwavering commitment to working out God’s plan and following God’s lead through this transition. Pray for continued clarity, wisdom, and unity about transition steps.
  • For Alliance’s Senior Leadership Team and staff—Pray for patience and peace during a time when the transition may feel unsettling. Give thanks for unwavering staff
    commitment to continued church operations amidst both this transition and current COVID challenges.
  • 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 Alliance,
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 Alliance. 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!

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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

What will Pastor Dennis be doing in his next season of leadership?

As Emeritus Pastor for the church, Pastor Dennis will continue his global work, leadership training, community representation, and preaching.

He also plans to continue to grow his workplace/work-life, executive coaching, and consulting, outside of the church, which has been a long-time passion of his. 

When is this transition taking place?

Pastor Dennis' last day as Senior Pastor is Jan. 31. This marks exactly (to the day!) 25 years of ministry here. Pretty cool! Pastor Dennis will preach his last sermon as Senior Pastor on Jan. 30, 2022. However, he will continue to preach in the preaching schedule as part of his emeritus role (beginning July 1, 2022) at a reduced level.

Pastor Brian officially will become our Senior Pastor on Feb. 1, 2022. We will publicly "Pass the Baton" and celebrate together on Sunday, Feb. 6.

Where are we in the transition planning process?

The Governing Board discerned that Pastor Brian is God's clear choice to be AAC's next leader during the planning phase of the strategic process. 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.

Due to an accelerated timeline, Pastor Brian will become the senior pastor in January 2022. At that time, Pastor Dennis will assume the position of emeritus pastor.

Will there be any other staff or leadership changes with this transition?

Likely, yes. However, any good leader will first take time to assess, talk to people, and understand the roles. In order to listen and assess, Pastor Brian plans to adjust the staff structure to give more access to share their visions with him directly. He plans to do a lot of listening and assessing in his first year. Any changes to staff or leadership will be a result of this listening and assessment. As always, we’ll share changes as necessary along the way.

 

 CONTACT US

 

TRANSITION TEAM

Anne Zeamer - Communications Director
Kristine Olson - PR Consultant
Bryan Brandt - Governing Board Liaison
Leah Scheurer - Communications Lead
Rev. Dan Dinkler - Prayer Team Lead
Dr. Mark Harris - Outgoing Pastoral Care Lead
Rev. Mark Tegtmeier - Incoming Pastoral Care Lead
Bill Douglas - Staff Stewardship Lead
Carissa VanDalen - Hospitality/Key Events Lead
Belle Smoll - General
Anthony McCormick - General
Tom & Linda Kubish - Ministry Volunteers