Elder Response to Frequently Asked Questions – Pastoral Transition
June 5, 2022
The Elders are anticipating questions coming from our Members and Regular attenders over the week’s following Chad’s transition announcement. We have documented responses to some common questions you may have. If you have a question that is not documented below, please reach out to Kristy Klasa who will coordinate a response with our Elder team. Our Elders include: Chad Allen, Chip Bell, Doug Back, Ted Chase, Ron Dick, Larry Domzalski, Eric Mendheim, and Sola Oshunniyi. We will also be updating this list of Frequently Asked Questions as those additional questions arise.
1) Why are Chad and Rica leaving?
Answer: As many of you know, Rica and Chad, along with their family, came from California to Cleveland over 11 years ago to be part of this church. They left family, lifelong-friends, and their previous church and ministry behind at God’s leading for Chad to be Lead Pastor of CVC. The Allen family is now needing to embark on a new season, one that leads their family to begin transitioning back west. With multiple unplanned trips back to California in the past 16 months, and with the sudden passing of Rica’s mother, they’ve been reminded of the brevity and unpredictability of life, and the importance of proximity to family.
2) When is Chad’s (the Allen’s) last day here?
Answer: We have not established a deadline for Chad’s last day. Chad and Rica’s desire is to have their children at their new location at the beginning of the next school year when it commences in the fall. At the same time, it is important to all of us that Chad and Rica see God’s calling to where they serve the Lord next so we haven’t put an exact deadline together; instead, we will trust the Lord’s leading in their lives.
3) How will we choose our next Lead Pastor? What is the process? Will the body be involved?
Answer: The Elders are working on the approach/steps for how we will proceed in seeking God’s will for our next Lead Pastor along with the structure for how we will operate. As a first step, we will be speaking to each of our Leadership Team members to seek input from each of them. This important input will help as we seek the Lord’s direction in stepping forward. Additionally, and as we have done in the past, we will form a Search Team. The team will be comprised of individuals from across our body to best represent the various ministry segments of our church.
4) How long do you think it will take to find Chad’s replacement?
Answer: Our last search took somewhere between 12 to 18 months with some 500+ people who applied for the job. God will work this search out in HIS timing. We need to follow Jesus’s lead. In the meantime, we have a strong leadership team and a committed group of Elders who will carry forward until our next Lead Pastor is named.
5) Are we going to look outside the church/inside the church or both for candidates?
Answer: While the plan has not been defined, we intend to look both inside and outside of our current team. For external candidates, we will likely engage a search firm. In addition, we will also utilize our denominational and ministry networks to get the word out for potential candidates.
6) What does this mean for CVC? Will we be changing or adjusting our focus/priorities/plans?
Answer: In 2021, our leadership team invested time to come together and align on a long-term vision for the church – one that we saw God leading us toward. This included our 10-year vision, our focus areas for the next three to five years along with our 1-year emphasis.
CVC will passionately pursue the equipping of our communities to become faithful, fruitful disciples who are abiding in Christ, serving the Lord according to their gifts, and committed to sharing the love and message of Jesus. By doing this, we are strategically cultivating communities of disciple-makers who are like groves of life-giving trees locally and throughout the world. We believe that by the year 2030, this yielded pursuit will result in 1,000 stories of new life as evidenced by the baptisms of new disciples to equip and send.
Three-to-five-year Focus Areas
1. Increasing Evangelical Impact
2. Establishing our Disciple Making Strategy
3. Strengthening linked Generations
4. Cultivating our Sending/Serving Culture
One-year Emphasis for 2022
Become a unified family of believers who are motivated by the Great Commandment and devoted to the Great Commission.
Each of our Ministry Team’s 2022 annual priorities are aligned to this. We see no change in that direction.
7) Were there other issues that caused this to come out?
Answer: Chad lives his life with the utmost integrity. To be clear, there were absolutely no issues with any way Chad lived. We celebrate the fact that God has provided us with two lead pastors over the last 35 years with high moral integrity.
8) What happens if Chad gets hired somewhere else and CVC does not have his replacement in place?
Answer: This is certainly a possible scenario, especially with the strong results we have seen at Cuyahoga Valley Church under Chad’s Leadership – we expect he will be in high demand. In the coming weeks, the Elders and Leadership team will align on an interim organization/governance structure for how we will move forward should Chad transition to a new calling at another church before we have a new lead pastor/structure in place. We are targeting to complete this by June 15. Upon completion, we will share this with the congregation. Regardless of timing, we do not need to race to a long-term solution. We have a strong leadership team and group of Elders who are committed to shepherd this church forward.
9) Will our founding Pastor Rick Duncan be playing a bigger role in the interim or long-term?
Answer: Rick continues to have a passion for the health and growth of CVC. He will continue to be present and available to serve. Rick’s desire is that his influence remains more spiritual and relational rather than organizational and structural. Rick is committed to helping the Elders and Leadership Team with thoughts and insights through this transition. Rick will continue to serve in helping to develop discipleship and leadership development materials and strategies. Rick also has demands as a Send Network Regional Equipper with NAMB which impacts his margin to take on broader roles.
10) Who do I reach out to if I have some thoughts to share in the process?
Answer: Please email Chip Bell, one of our Elders, at email@example.com who will share your input with the rest of the Elder Team.
11) How can we pray?
Answer: As Chad pointed out in his recent transition announcement, please be praying for CVC as we initiate the process of finding the next Lead Pastor God has for us. Please pray for the unity of our family of believers – there will be some people who will be tempted to use this news to cause division, discouragement, and distraction. Please pray that as a church we would focus on the mission, stick to our ministry strategy, and keep surging forward to take new ground for Christ. Let us be mutually committed to honor God, and honor one another through this transition as we seek out what God has for us both in this season and next. Most importantly, please be praying that we walk in God’s will through this search/transition.
In addition to praying, let us:
1) Stay focused on what we have set out to do as a church
2) Protect the flock (Regular Attenders and Members), and
3) Honor CVC and the Allen’s during this transition.
How To Pray In This Season of Transition to a New Lead Pastor
May 14, 2022
1) Prayers of appreciation and thanksgiving for Chad’s leadership over 11.5 years.
o Establishing a prayer culture (Luke 19:46)
o Getting CVC out of debt (Romans 13:8)
o Desire to take more ground during Covid for the Kingdom’s sake (Matthew 6:33)
o Becoming a more racially diverse congregation (Revelation 7:9)
o Vision for Brunswick campus (Proverbs 29:18)
o Becoming a unified family of believers with a focus on the great commandment and the great commission (John 17:21; Matthew 22:37-39; Matthew 28:19).
2) Prayers for Chad and family (Rica, Cruz, Izzy, and Faith) as they seek God’s face for Chad’s next calling and ministry.
o Listening for His voice (John 10:27)
o Waiting on God’s perfect timing (Psalm 130:5)
o Not a job but a calling (Ephesians 4:1)
o Seeking godly counsel (Proverbs 15:22)
o For God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31)
o A deeper level of trust (Proverbs 3:5,6)
3) Prayers for CVC’s transition team
o Elders and leadership team (1 Peter 5:1-2)
o What should CVC’s organizational structure look like (Colossians 1:9-10)
o Seeking God in fasting and prayer (Acts 13:2-3)
o Be godly examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3)
o Recognize that God is sovereign over His bride, the church (Ephesians 5:25-27)
o Pray against rumors, disunity, and discouragement (1 Corinthians 1:10-11)
o Pray CVC’s momentum keeps moving forward (Heb 10:24-25)
4) Prayers for CVC’s body
o Praying for the transition team (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
o Praying for Chad and family (Numbers 6:24-26)
o Praying God’s will be done (Luke 22:42)
o Praying body remains strong in serving and generosity (1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 9:11)
o Praying that our people would be hopeful and prayerful as we move forward into the next season (Romans 15:13)
Transition Announcement and Video from Lead Pastor Chad Allen
May 8, 2022
Dear CVC Family,
I have always marveled at how God designed seasons into His magnificent creation. Four seasons, each with their own distinctive and necessary nature. Have you noticed that when the seasons change, you need to sacrifice something you like about one season in order to embrace what you appreciate about the next? I absolutely love the vibrant colors, distinct fragrances, and comfortable temperatures of the fall here in Ohio, but it requires saying good-bye to the warmth, outdoor activities, and fireflies of the summer that I also enjoy in order to experience the fall. Seasons change and we must adjust to the changes ourselves.
The changing season principle is now a reality for Cuyahoga Valley Church and the Allen family. As many of you know, Rica and I, along with our family, came from California to Cleveland over 11 years ago to be part of this church. We left family, lifelong-friends, and our previous church and ministry behind at God’s leading for me to be Lead Pastor of CVC. During this season, we have experienced the knitting of our hearts to yours and shared in the joys and challenges of trying to build Christ’s kingdom side by side here in Northeast Ohio. We look back over the past 11 years and celebrate the smooth transition from Founding Pastor Rick Duncan, increasing our church’s prayer culture, launching a new campus in Brunswick, hosting a Chinese partner church in our Broadview Heights location, planting churches such as Refuge Church in Old Brooklyn, seeing our ethnic diversity grow, the launch of our CVCGO ministry, eliminating our debt through the Unleash campaign, helping translate a Bible for our adopted unreached people group in Southeast Asia, growing our budget and generosity, kicking off Church on the Lawn, increased reengagement and attendance post-pandemic, the numerous people that have placed their faith in Christ and have been baptized, and more new people taking their next steps to grow in their faith. These are just some of the celebrations and examples of momentum that we can all joyfully celebrate and thank God for!
The Allen family is now needing to embark on a new season, one that leads our family to begin transitioning back to the west. With multiple unplanned trips back to California in the past 16 months, and with the sudden passing of Rica’s mother, we’ve been reminded of the brevity and unpredictability of life, and the importance of proximity to family. Therefore, Rica and I believe God is leading us at this time to explore opportunities for our next ministry season in a location within striking distance to our family. We are not sure exactly where that will take us or when that will be, but we want to operate with openness and integrity so that you can be praying with us as we explore, and that CVC can freely begin the needed planning to find the next Lead Pastor. We do not want to go, but we feel that we need to go. It makes our decision easier knowing that CVC is in a healthy place, growing, and gaining momentum. Praise God!
By communicating now, it helps us both take our next steps of faith and trust in the Lord together and do our best to coordinate a leadership transition that will glorify God and help the church maintain momentum. Our prayerful desire is that the Lord will line up our next ministry post by fall of 2022 so that our children can begin their next school year/jobs at a natural starting point. Until that time, I will continue to be your Lead Pastor. I have already started working with our Elders to begin the early stages of a transition plan for the next Lead Pastor. We will be updating you as our plans come online and when we have more information. This will probably not be a short search process, but we have an outstanding Leadership Team who continues to advance God’s kingdom in greater Cleveland and around the world as evidenced by some of the wins mentioned earlier, as well as what was published in our recent 2021 annual report.
I’m aware that this news may produce shock and sadness for many of you and that you will need time to process this information and your feelings. I assure you that CVC is in great hands. The church belongs to the Lord, we have passionate and capable leaders driving our ministry vision and strategy, and we have incredible men and women of God such as yourselves who are praying, serving, and giving so that we can stay on mission for Christ.
In Isaiah 43, God says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18–19).
God doesn’t want us looking backward. He wants us to lean into what He has for us in the future. I believe He’s preparing to do a new and beautiful work in both the next season of CVC and the next season of the Allen family.
For now, I ask you to be praying for our family as we explore opportunities. Please be praying for CVC as we initiate the process of finding the next Lead Pastor God has for CVC. God has been doing a great work at CVC for 35 years, and He’s far from done! Please continue to grow as a united family of believers motivated by the Great Commandment and devoted to the Great Commission who is focused on our mission of inviting people to new life in Christ. Protect the unity of our church. There will be some people who will be tempted to use this news to cause division, discouragement, and distraction. We can’t allow that to happen. We have to focus on the mission, stick to our ministry strategy, and keep surging forward to take new ground for Christ. Let’s be mutually committed to honor God, and honor one another through this transition as we mutually seek out what God has for us both in this next season.
There are not enough words to accurately describe how meaningful these years have been to me as your Pastor. It has been a joyful honor. I have, and will always have, an immense love and appreciation for this church community. We are forever family. Please know that wherever God leads the Allen family, our hearts will be near to the people and ministry efforts of CVC. We look forward to return visits to CVC so that we can see you and personally experience the great work God will continue to do through you in CVC’s next season of fruitful ministry for Christ’s Kingdom. I love you, I’m grateful for you, I’m grateful for the past 11½ years, and I’m grateful in advance for what’s to come for both of us. To God be all the glory!
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chad D. Allen