Pastor Dave’s Transition Announcement
November 25, 2020
We Want You to Be in the Know
Change is never easy, but as we pray for God’s clear leading and wisdom, and as we seek His will above our own, we are trusting that we will see His will be done through this time of transition. It’s our hope that as we follow God’s leading, the good work being done in and through the Bridges Community Church family will increase and widen – to God’s glory and others’ good.
Dan Stockum Confirmed as BCC Lead Pastor
Our vote last week for the approval of Pastor Dan Stockum as BCC Lead Pastor was 94.3% among members, and 94.8% among members and attenders. Thank you all for participating and being heard through voting. We are expecting the installation service on Jan. 10 to officially welcome Dan into the role, and a thank you event on Dec. 13 for Pastor Dave and Bernice. Please pray for Dan as he prepares for this new role, for Dave and Bernice as they transition to a new phase of life, and for the BCC family as we look for God to help each of us grow individually and reach the community together.
Lead Pastor Confirmation Vote Begins This Sun., Nov. 15
This past week, our BCC Elders announced the good news that we as a church family will be asked to confirm God’s calling for Dan Stockum to be our next Lead Pastor. The letter that was mailed to our congregation can be found HERE. If you did not get this letter but are a member or regular attender who would like to participate in this confirmation vote, please email email@example.com for more information and to be added to the list of those who will be voting.
Dan Stockum Will Preach on October 18 & 25
On Oct. 18 & 25, Pastor Dan will preach messages that focus on his desires and passion for the future of BCC. If Dan is confirmed as our next Lead Pastor, what beliefs and practices would be at the heart of his ministry? These two upcoming messages are important for us all to hear, so please don’t miss them! And please pray for Pastor Dan as he prepares and preaches what God is laying on his heart.
Succession Confirmation Meetings Begin Sunday
From Sun., Oct. 18, through Wed., Oct. 28, the BCC family has many opportunities to talk to Pastor Dan over Zoom as part of our Lead Pastor transition and confirmation process. At these meetings you will have a chance to ask Pastor Dan questions and hear his heart. Most of the meetings are for specific groups, so we encourage you to find the one(s) you are a part of and attend those. If you are not part of any of the specific groups, there are a number of Open Zoom Meetings that are open to anyone. If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Succession Meetings with Pastor Dan
Please check out the list of meetings that are scheduled as opportunities for you to talk to Dan Stockum, as part of our Lead Pastor transition and confirmation process. At these meetings you will have the chance to ask him questions and to hear his heart. Most of the meetings are for specific groups, so you can find the one(s) that you are a part of and attend those. If you are not a part of any of the specific groups, there are a number of times that are open to anyone — they are listed as Open Zoom Meetings.
Pastor Dan Stockum’s Bio
Dan and Beth have been married since 2007 and have dated each other since 2001!
Originally from Ohio, Dan spent most of his life in the southeastern US. He has served churches in Georgia and Alabama, and earned his Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham in 2008.
Before coming to Bridges, Dan served as a campus minister at Georgia Tech (his other alma mater) for seven years as well as multiple youth ministry roles. Currently, Dan is working on his PhD from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In his four years at Bridges, Dan has led both the young professional and college ministries as well as serving on the Sunday morning teaching team. He launched outreach efforts to both international students and athletes at Foothill College, and has played a key role in developing ManGroups. Recently, he recruited and organized a new group of deacons.
Before they moved to California in 2016, Beth taught 4th grade for 9 years in both public and private school settings. At Bridges, Beth frequently sings with the worship band and volunteers in the nursery on Sundays. She’s an active part of the AIM life group helping plan many of their events as well as providing leadership for YoPros with Dan. In addition, Beth loves being part of BSF where she is in her second year serving as a group leader.
Dan and Beth’s two sons attend Los Altos Christian Schools (2nd grade and Pre-K), and they love their Bridges family!
Bridges Lead Pastor Transition Doc
This web page, focused on our Lead Pastor transition, is here to help facilitate that process as we seek God’s will together. We will do our best to keep it up-to-date with information that we want you to know, so you can be informed and asking questions and praying specifically along with us.
Here’s what we know so far…
Sunday, September 27 – Pastor Dave announces his intention to resign after a Lead Pastor Succession or Transition
A letter from Pastor Dave
Dear Bridges family,
For over a decade now, it’s been my honor and privilege to serve the Lord and you as the Lead Pastor of Bridges Community Church. But now it’s time for me to begin transitioning out of my ministry here. So today I announce my resignation, which includes a time of transition out of my role as Lead Pastor of Bridges Community Church. I know, that sounds unusual. Enough to make you ask, “What did he just say?” So let me explain…
I will be resigning from my Lead Pastor role here at Bridges, once we have confirmed a new Lead Pastor here at Bridges. In the meantime, I will become a Lead Pastor / Transitional Pastor, doing all I can to move the church smoothly through this time of transition.
God has new plans for me as I retool (I would say retire, but I’m not about to do that) and begin a new season of ministry. And it’s also time for Bridges Community Church to begin a new season of ministry. Just the thought of the two sides of this God-led decision excites me. I am truly eager to see the work that God has done at Bridges this past decade, continue and grow to have greater impact in the Silicon Valley and beyond. And I believe that can begin to happen through the plans you will hear about over the next month.
For Bernice and I, after 40 years as a Lead Pastor, God has filled our hearts with learnings and excitement for helping pastors and churches that could benefit from our past and current ministry experiences. In fact, doors are already opening for us to pass on what we’ve learned here, and in our two previous pastorates, to other churches. So that will be our focus as we move on from here. And yes, we will eventually be moving into the barn over in Merced near our kids and grandkids. And Bernice will be a flower farmer!
But, Lord willing, before we “retool” and move into our next season of life and ministry, we are committed to helping Bridges make the healthiest Lead Pastor transition possible. So before we go, the Elders and I have put together a plan in which I will continue ministering and helping our Bridges family until we install your next Lead Pastor. That may mean I will continue in my role at least through the end of 2020, or perhaps much longer. What happens will depend upon how God leads during this time of transition.
Bernice and I will never forget the years we’ve spent ministering with you here at Bridges. We can’t thank you enough for your love and support. We have been blessed. And we will never forget you – a people filled with hope for the future and eagerness to learn and translate what you are learning into your life.
These ten years have been exciting and also challenging years together. But together, as the Body of Christ, we’ve met each challenge head on, and we did whatever was necessary to move forward or to meet the needs around us. Remember the flood in the worship center? The beach baptisms, the Comedy Nights, the gym and worship center and patio remodels, Family Fun Nights, the amazing staff members who have come on board, the incredible worship services led by our orchestra and choir and band, the Easter Picnic and Egg Hunt that went viral? All great times. Ones that we give thanks for and realize would not have happened without God’s work among us and through us all.
Much good has been done, the church and staff are at a great place and, Lord willing, all that has been done has paved the way for even greater days ahead for Bridges Community Church.
The bottom line is this (I know many of you like to get to the bottom line):
- It’s been a joy to serve you, and to serve with you, as your Lead Pastor.
- My time in that role will soon come to an end.
- God is moving Bridges into its next season of ministry, and your future is bright.
- But before I go, I will be working with the Elders toward a seamless transition, and Lord willing, will be here through the installation of your next Lead Pastor.
With sincere thanks, overflowing hope, and much love,
A letter from the Bridges Community Church Elders
Dear Bridges Community Church Members,
You recently heard or read Pastor Dave’s announcement about moving into a time of transition/ resignation after serving as the Lead Pastor of Bridges for the past 10+ years. We are going to miss Dave’s hard work and dedication to leading this church. Dave’s vision and inspired leadership have resulted in many improvements and accomplishments. While it is impractical to list all that has been accomplished, here are a few highlights:
- Building and leading a talented staff that gives us wonderful worship experiences each week and a team-teaching model that has helped all of us grow.
- Along with Pastors Dan and Steve, writing and leading us through 40-Day Focus curriculums that have helped the entire congregation grow in Faith, Prayer, and Unity.
- Leading the church positively through the challenge of repairing, rebuilding, and remodeling the worship center after the flood.
- Overseeing major facility improvements with the new patio and security system.
- Initiating ManDay and then Man Groups to help us reach the community around us by building relationships through shared interests.
- Developing the Leadership Community program to train leaders within the church.
- Creating Missional Communities to help members build relationships with their neighbors.
These accomplishments and many more make us grateful for the time Pastor Dave has spent with us.
Pastor Dave’s desire has always been to make sure that he leaves the church in the best possible position. As a result, Dave began preparing the Board for this transition over a year ago. Deliberate planning and prayer became more specific over this past summer. So now, in conjunction with Pastor Dave’s announcement, the Elder Board has decided to present Pastor Dan Stockum to the church for confirmation as our next Lead Pastor.
The most important question the Board considered during the final months was whether it was God’s will for Dan to become our next Lead Pastor. During this evaluation time the Board considered many things, including the church’s need for future growth and outreach to the community. We believe that Dan’s gift and style of preaching that connects with our local culture, and his vision to build community among everyone attending Bridges, make him an ideal fit for the Lead Pastor role at the church. The Board’s unanimous agreement was another indication that our decision aligned with God’s will. Plus, another confirmation comes from the fact that Pastor Dave has worked with Dan closely since Dan started at Bridges and he also believes that Dan is a great fit for the Lead Pastor role here at Bridges.
Confirmation of the new Lead Pastor is ultimately decided by a vote of the church members. To give everyone time to process their decision, we will not have the vote until November. In the meantime, there will be numerous meetings and opportunities for you to talk with Dan, ask him questions, and pray for guidance and wisdom. To help you make your decision, we encourage everyone to read the basic Question and Answer document that has been made available*. It is intended to give you basic information, which may bring to mind other questions. A schedule of meetings is available that includes meetings with specific groups, as well as open Zoom meetings that anyone can attend*.
We are thankful that Pastor Dave is committed to remaining our Lead Pastor until a successor is officially chosen. This will ensure the smoothest transition possible and will help Bridges move seamlessly into an exciting new phase of ministry.
The Elder Board
Bridges Pastoral Succession Questions
- Does Dan have enough experience?
Pastor Dave has been mentoring Dan (per Dan’s request) over the past several years to help Dan prepare to one day be a Lead Pastor if God were to lead him in that direction. Throughout that time Dan has been intentionally watching and learning from Dave to better understand the responsibilities and ministry of a Lead Pastor. In addition, according to a survey of successions at 90 large churches, the average age of an incoming lead pastor was 43. The publishers of the survey noted that churches generally want a new lead pastor who is a “thirty-something”. In this context Dan is ideal. Prior to Dan’s four years at Bridges he worked in ministry in Georgia.
- Why not do a national search?
The Board believes Dan is God’s choice (see the next question for more detail on this statement). We would do a search if we did not believe Dan is the right person. Also, it is not unusual in all types of organizations to promote from within. Corporations, non-profits, and universities all routinely promote from within without an outside search. Promoting from within has distinct advantages, particularly within a church: the candidate knows the people and the church, and everyone knows him, so the transition tends to be smoother. When promoting from within it is also far less likely for “surprises” to show up after the person has been hired and on the job for a while. When looking at unknown pastoral candidates from a national search, it is often hard to know all of the truth, since references and previous churches tend to want to omit the things that were “issues” with the candidate. With Dan, we already know him and his character.
- Why does the Elder Board believe that Dan is God’s choice for lead pastor?
As a result of prayer and discussion, the Elder Board unanimously agreed – from the outset – that Dan’s personality, skills and experience are an ideal fit for Bridges. We believe this broad-based agreement is one indication of God’s will. Secondly, Pastor Dave knows the church better than anyone, based on his 10+ years as lead pastor. He knows the challenges and opportunities and is in the best position to judge someone’s future success and Dave believes Dan is the right choice.
- How does Dan fit with our future needs?
Some of our future needs include: growing younger, maintaining programmatic and staff continuity, having captivating Gospel centered preaching, and reaching our community at its point of need. We believe Dan fits with all of these needs. Having a lead pastor who is approaching 40 is the ideal age to connect with both first and second service attenders. We’re excited to see Dan further his gift of preaching and help others to do the same while he continues to work with our current staff. Finally, we love Dan’s PhD research which focuses on how to develop a sense of community within a group. We believe Silicon Valley could greatly benefit from what he has and will learn in his program.
- Will we hire another pastor after Dave leaves?
First, Dave will continue in a part-time coaching role for Dan and other staff as needed for a period of time. Second, instead of a full-time staff position, Dan’s preference is to invest into a team of interns who are either currently in or just out of seminary.
- Will we continue the team-teaching model for sermons?
Yes, we think this style has worked well and look forward to continuing this model.
- What is Dan’s vision for the church?
Biblically faithful. Gospel centered. Others oriented. We will never stray from teaching biblical orthodoxy and morality. Simultaneously, the focus of our teaching will be Christ’s sacrificial work in our place to reconcile us to God apart from our performance. Finally, as God forsook comfort by loving the “other,” we will serve and sacrifice for our community, the marginalized, and the world.
- Are there any major changes planned if Dan is installed as the new lead pastor?
Some areas of emphasis will rise in prominence. Our mission and community work will be highlighted and expanded. We will have more mission trips and service opportunities. The teaching team will remain but incorporate new faces. We will continue with two services, and our hope is to grow the orchestra so that we can enjoy them more often.