Updates from the Elders
As elders, we want to keep you informed on the transition we’re in. In addition to nearly weekly updates on Sunday mornings, we will plan to do Q&A times here and there, share updates in the Gazette, as well as Elder updates on this page.
In an effort to care for the body in this time, we welcome your questions and perspective. In addition to talking to any of our elders, pastors, and staff as you have opportunity, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Most recent updates appear first)
June 26, 2022
(Elder Update) STAFFING TRANSITION UPDATE | As we continue to evaluate the ongoing needs of the church body, as well as the church staff, we have some exciting developments regarding our staffing. These first 5 months of 2022 have seen several leadership changes and we’re so thankful for all of the support and encouragement we’ve received from all of you throughout the process.
By the grace of God, this has been a smooth and Spirit-filled process. Not only that, but all of our staff has matured and stepped up to serve in a variety of ways. Some are handling more responsibilities than they once were, or are filling roles outside of their current job descriptions and functions. We have a wonderful culture of hard work and service toward Christ and His Church.
For the continued health and well-being of our staff (and their families) and the church body, we’ve made a couple of positional shifts:
- Brent Thomas will now be the Pastor of Worship + Gatherings. As Student Discipleship Pastor, Brent has also largely been serving as a shepherd to our worship and creative department. Brent will move into a more directive role, overseeing our gatherings and church-wide creative efforts. This will look different than Micah’s former role —think plurality when it comes to worship leading. Brent will be a vocal leader and face to our body and staff, as well as an occasional worship leader and part of our teaching team.
We recognize that this raises immediate questions about our Student ministry. Brent will continue to oversee and provide direction for our Student Discipleship. We’re currently seeking to add leadership positions within that ministry. We thank you in advance for your patience as we seek the Lord in this area.
- Michael Neises will now be the Chief of Staff. With Pastor Wes Ward recently in more of a part-time advisory role, and Micah Klutinoty as the newly appointed Lead Pastor, there was a need for direct leadership of the church staff. As Chief-of-Staff, Mike will report directly to the Lead Pastor and aid in helping him keep a pulse on directional decision-making, staff culture and accountability, and protection from mission-drift. Mike is gifted administratively and has many years of experience in this capacity and is already a highly trusted advisor and joyful co-laborer. Additionally, Mike has been invited to join the elder council (awaiting final affirmation and installation in the coming weeks).
As an elder team, we have been praying a lot—and we’ve been praying for you and the future of Gospel City Church. These are just a few changes of several that we’re considering as we move forward into a new ministry season. But, we have continued to see the Lord’s hand and clear direction. AND—we’ve been so very thankful for your prayers and encouragement. Thank you!
—You are loved!
March 13, 2022
(Elder Update) NEW LEAD PASTOR ANNOUNCEMENT | We have exciting news! The elders—with absolute great joy and unity—are privileged to present to you our choice for the next lead pastor of Gospel City Church: our very own Pastor Micah Klutinoty. If you missed the announcement during our Sunday morning gatherings, watch it HERE.
As you can see from the timeline of communication below, the Lord has been leading our church through a period of transition since late summer 2021. In the early fall of 2021, we as elders commenced a “listening tour,” first with the Holy Spirit in prayer, and then with our pastors and directors, ministry leaders and so many of you in the congregation.
Part of our listening was to discern the type of leader and leadership model that we needed going forward. At the outset, our conventional wisdom told us that we’d likely need a long candidacy process and a pastoral search outside of our church. BUT, early on in the process, we were pleasantly surprised in nearly every conversation that we had with you that we should turn our attention inward.
That thinking was only further cemented as we consulted with ministry advisors and outside church leaders who’ve gone through similar transitions. So, what we thought several months ago might be a “candidacy process” quickly became more of a “confirmation process” as the Lord led us in His ways.
The name that kept coming up in our conversations was that of Pastor Micah. It was clear to all of you—and to us—that the Lord has been doing a great work in him over his many years here. And—he has been a faithful shepherd and teacher to so many. The Lord was gracious to place this new calling in his heart even before it was a possibility, as you’ll hear from his testimony.
In the coming weeks, we will formally install Pastor Micah Klutinoty as the lead pastor. We look forward to that celebration, and having him be a leader in this church for decades to come. In the meantime, would you pray for Micah, his wife Nicole, and their 4 children—that the Lord will grant them peace and wisdom and unity as a family?
Again, if you weren’t able to hear the announcement, as well as what Pastor Micah shared in response, we strongly encourage you to watch it below.
—You are loved!
Please note: In keeping with Matthew 18, if you believe there is any reason that Micah does not exhibit the qualities of an overseer that we see in 1 Timothy, we ask that you would go to him and resolve that with him personally. If you are unable to reach a resolution, you would then be welcome to approach the elders.
December 10, 2021
(Elder Update) LOOKING BACK | As we come to the close of 2021 and the first “semester” of our ministry year, we want to share with you a bit of how we’ve been processing and praying in this time of transition. Looking back over the last few months, here’s where we’ve been:
- In early August, Pastor Trent accepted the call to go work at FamilyLife in Florida, and we made an announcement to the congregation at our earliest opportunity. From there, we’ve shared on a near weekly basis.
- From September to November, the elder team has been on a “listening tour,” paying close attention to the Holy Spirit through prayer, as well as spending time with the church staff and congregation. We enjoyed many encouraging conversations with the Body, especially during times like our Core Classes and a Q&A session.
- From November through now, we’ve been listening to and reporting to each other. We’ve also sought the counsel of some trusted advisors, such as Dave Harvey of the Great Commission Collective, and others.
As we’ve been praying and listening and learning, several things have been abundantly clear to us:
- We continue to have a strong plurality of elders who shepherd and care for this church body.
- We have a gifted “senior leadership team” (SLT) leading the church staff related to day-to-day discipleship and operational direction. (More on that in a moment.)
- We are committed to our doctrinal distinctives, mission, our 4 Pillars, and our Discipleship Pathway (Glorify, Gather, Grow, Go).
- We do not feel we have to hurry to make any major decisions or changes. The one common theme we heard from so many of those we listened to was “don’t be in a rush.” That spoke volumes to the depth of you—our church family. You are not fearful as to what’s next; you are already living it out.
Perhaps you may be thinking, “If Pastor Trent is about to leave in January, how are you not in a hurry?” The short answer is: the direction and spiritual oversight of the Gospel City is not carried out by one man, but has been governed by a plurality of elders since the very first days.
“What does plurality mean?” It means that though we have benefited greatly from Trent’s ministry, Trent has been on that elder team that is charged with the spiritual oversight of this body of believers. It’s been charged with the doctrine, discipline, and direction of this church from the very beginning. We’re grateful for the history that we have looking back on godly men bringing godly direction to this church. By plurality, humbly giving deference to one another, listening to the Lord and the Word and you. We’ve not done it perfectly, but that is the way that the Lord has set apart this body to thrive: plurality bringing direction to our everyday life.
“But how are we led?” We are led by the elders setting the overall direction and pace for our church. And in a practical way on a daily basis, you are blessed with a group of vocational pastors and exceptional staff members. If you know any of them, you know what we mean. They are all so qualified to serve this church Body. Each is seeking to authenticate the message that we preach, and to see this church move forward in our mission of making disciples here, near, and increasingly far. Because you only see a few people up front representing the church, you may think that they are doing everything. That’s not been the case and is not the case. We are thankful for elders, pastors and staff each using their spiritual giftedness to serve this Body.
LOOKING FORWARD | We are excited and confident in the future leadership and direction of Gospel City Church. To illustrate that, and to help further answer why we’re not in a hurry, here are few things to look forward to:
- Pastor Micah Klutinoty has been added to the elder team. Micah has been a faithful pastor here since the very beginning of Gospel City Church. We’re pleased to announce that he has officially joined the elder team.
- Micah will be managing the preaching team in the months ahead. As Pastor Trent completes his transition by December 31, the elders want you to know and rest assured that the unapologetic preaching of God’s Word is of the utmost importance and will continue. Moving forward, we’ve asked Pastor Micah Klutinoty to lead and manage the preaching and teaching team under the authority of the elders. We see how God has gifted him in areas of leadership. We are excited about how the Lord continues to work in ALL of our pastors.
- Pastor Wes Ward will continue leading the staff, with the input of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). Wes has been leading the staff for quite a while now, and helps us with the practical management of the administration of many of their gifts. We are grateful for Pastor Wes and how he leverages his gifts in an effort to help them be more effective. His ministry in many respects is about helping them be all that they are called to be.
Pastor Micah and Pastor Wes also serve alongside two others on what we call our SLT: Pastor Nathan Scroggins and Mike Neises. Our senior leadership team is solid. They are deferential. There’s humility, teachability and accountability with each of them. They report to the eldership and they lead our staff.
- Nathan Scroggins is our Pastor of Care and Counseling. Nathan’s primary focus is on bringing congregational care and overseeing our biblical soul care counseling ministries. He is tasked to be laser-focused on loving this Body with his unique spiritual gifts and skills. He helps us to know how to suffer well, and is often there at bedsides, gravesides, and living rooms helping us love Jesus better together. (You should come be a part of Hope Groups, which is one aspect of Pastor Nathan’s ministry.)
- Mike Neises is our Director of Operations and came to us after 20+ years with Life Action Ministries and Revive Our Hearts where he oversaw Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s conference and publishing ministries. His international and national parachurch experience has been extremely helpful as we navigate many of our current complexities. What we love about Mike is he’s so pastoral and is a mentor and father figure to many of us, and certainly the staff.
The task of the church has never been on one man. The task of the church has always been on disciples making disciples. We need each other to establish new believers in the faith, and equip other disciples to mature in their disciple making. We will take the next few weeks to share with you what we’re doing in different places, or rather, what you’re doing in different places. We will be celebrating Christ and his work amongst us.
We’re inspired and encouraged by all that we’re seeing in this church, and we hope that you are as well.
—You are loved!
October 15, 2021
(Elder Q&A Follow-up) On Sunday evening, October 10, we held a Q&A for anyone in the congregation who had questions regarding the transition. There were about 28 people in attendance, which was encouraging to us, assuming the majority are feeling communicated to or that there are not many lingering questions.
Equally as encouraging were the few questions, comments, and conversations that came from those in attendance. It’s really our desire as elders at Gospel City to shepherd the flock of God that He has brought here, and we believe this small Q&A session opened up more opportunities to do that.
Some of the questions and answers that were communicated on Sunday evening were:
Q1: What will happen on January 1st, once Pastor Trent has moved on?
A1: We do not feel the pressure to fill Pastor Trent’s specific role as of January 1st. As a church, we will continue to preach verse by verse through the book of Acts with the plurality of preachers that God has blessed us with.
Q2: Will there be a search committee for a new Sr. Pastor, and would there be opportunity for those in the congregation to offer their perspective?
A2: Ultimately, the elders will be the “search committee,” however, nothing will be done in isolation. We are so thankful for your perspectives and our staff’s perspectives. As elders, we want to be available to talk and hear things the Lord has laid on your heart as it pertains to our church and the leadership that ultimately God raises up. We would encourage and invite you to communicate with an elder, an elder’s wife, or any staff member as you feel led.
Q3: What are your next steps as the transition process unfolds?
A3: We are waiting on the Lord and fervently seeking Him in prayer, believing firmly that He knows exactly what we need when we need it. Practically, we’ve been diligently listening to staff members to gain their perspectives and discern the specific gifts that we already have. Beyond that, we are assessing the kind of leadership need and structure that Gospel City needs going forward. As the Lord begins to bring clarity to the “what,” we will start focusing on the “who” by creating job descriptions and opening up the hiring process.
Steps going forward include:
- Training/teaching the body on plurality.
- Engaging the network for best practices — Dave Harvey, Great Commission Collective Leaders, etc…
- Determining exact job descriptions and necessary hires.
Q4: Who will handle all of Pastor Trent’s “behind the scenes” responsibilities concerning leading the church?
A4: Thankfully our church has been functioning for a long season in a collaborative nature, maximizing the gifts of many and not just one. Because of the plurality of gifts that the elders have employed over the years, it has allowed Pastor Trent to be laser focused on faithfully preaching the Word. Ministry strategy, direction, and congregational care is ultimately a responsibility of the elders as a whole, the Senior Leadership Team, and our incredibly capable staff of pastors and directors.
Gospel City will continue to be a place marked by bold Bible preaching, unashamed adoration, fervent prayer, and disciples who live sent. We will also continue to be a family, where the Body is equipped to serve one another, and meet one another’s needs in discipleship!
We are excited as we’re in this season of prayerfully working through our by-laws and governance structure. We believe God’s method of governance is best, and are reaping the blessings of it in transition, as well as honing it biblically for the future!
Thank you for praying and waiting on the Lord with us. We will continue to communicate with clarity, which will sometimes feel repetitive, but know that it’s because we truly love you and want you to be informed every step of the way.
—You are loved!
September 24, 2021
(Financial Support Update) The elder team has decided that Gospel City Church will be providing support to the Griffiths at $1,000/mo for 36 months. If you have an interest in personally partnering with the Griffiths, please contact Pastor Trent or Andrea.
August 8, 2021
(Original Announcement) With much prayer and insight from wise counsel, Pastor Trent Griffith will be transitioning away from Gospel City Church over the remainder of 2021. Trent has accepted a call to serve as the Vice President for Content Development at FamilyLife. He and his wife Andrea will be relocating to Orlando, Florida likely in early 2022.
The Griffith family has been such a blessing to us and we know to many of you as well. Join us in praying for them and encouraging them over the coming weeks and months as God prepares them for this next place of ministry.
You can watch the full announcement video here, which includes Trent & Andrea telling their journey, as well as encouragement and guidance from your elders: Leadership Announcement Video
Encouragement From Our Elders
In the coming days, we know there will be many different emotions, questions, and thoughts about what you’ve heard. Our elders want to remind you that that’s good. Here are a few ways you can process:
- Join Us In Praying For The Future.The elders and pastors want you to know that we are committed to being on our knees seeking the Lord’s face and guidance throughout the coming months. We would ask that you join us in praying.
- Remember Who Is In Control. The one constant is God is on His throne. He is sovereign. He is good. He is worthy yesterday and today, and He will be worthy tomorrow.
- Remember That This is Jesus’ Church, Not Ours. The Church is His Bride. He is building His Church. He will continue to build His church until the day He returns.
- Feel Deeply. It’s ok to grieve, hurt, laugh, cry, remember. Change is hard, but change is also good.
- Celebrate God’s Goodness. Don’t miss the rich blessings that God has lavished on us. The mission for both the Griffiths and for Gospel City is unchanged. We are still committed to making disciples for the glory of God.
- Outdo One Another In Showing Honor. As the Spirit leads, show honor to one another, to the Griffiths, to the pastors, leaders, and staff.
- Abide. Stay connected to the the vine—Jesus—and each other. Remain. Dwell. Don’t run away.
Decision Making and Communication
The short answer is: We don’t know exactly what is next, but we do know WHO is in control. It is the Lord. We will take some time to pray, talk and think about the particular needs and opportunities of Gospel City Church. The elders will be sharing frequent updates with where we are. We will not do this transition perfectly, but we will aim to be faithful, biblical, pastoral, and missional. We will aim to communicate with clarity and be open with you. You’ll hear from us regularly through places like Sunday mornings, the Gazette, through your small groups, and more. Pray for us as we pray with you.
Pastor Trent is now our Lead Pastor for Preaching. He will preach 1-2 times a month, as well as steward the pulpit and lead our preaching team. In addition to Trent, our pastors will fill the pulpit and preach as well. Praise the Lord, we have excellent preachers!
This is a great time to be in a small group! Also, if you want to be around your pastors and elders every single week, come be a part of the Core Classes which will be taught by elders and pastors. It will be a time for loving God more together.
Honoring the Griffiths
If you’ve been blessed by the Griffiths, don’t wait until the last minute to share your appreciation with them. Reach out to them as you see them on a Sunday, or send them an email: Email Trent | Email Andrea. If you’d like to learn more about how you can partner with them on their new journey, there will be a partnership gathering on Monday, October 18, or learn more here.
01. We resolve that the Gospel is going to get in, and the Gospel is going to get out.
02. We resolve that, no matter what, God is going to be glorified in this season.
03. We resolve that, no matter what, disciples will be made.
04. We resolve to live the “one another’s” of Scripture.
05. We resolve to keep our humor.