Pastoral Transition

Special Announcement from First Christian Church

January 2021

In June 2022, Wayne Kent will retire from the position of Lead Pastor. Brian Talty will assume the role of Lead Pastor at First Christian Church in July 2022. We are excited about this change, but we know you may have some questions which we have tried to answer for you. We appreciate the prayers and support of our church family and local community as we move through this transition together.

FAQ on the Pastoral Transition at First Christian Church

  1. Why a transition?
    This pastoral transition is a process, not a singular event. In 2019, the Elder Team determined Brian Talty would be the next Lead Pastor of First Christian Church when the time came to name one. In early 2020, Pastor Wayne suggested June/July 2022 for his retirement as Lead Pastor of First Christian Church.Pastor Wayne has served our congregation since 1994. The church’s leadership teams prayerfully concluded it was in the congregation’s best interest to pass leadership to the next generation of leaders. The change of pastoral leadership will allow the congregation to pray and plan for a new vision for the future.
  2. Finances
    God continues to bless our congregation financially. All is well. All commitments are met, and there is an appropriate level of reserve funds. Financial concerns did not prompt this change in pastoral leadership.
  3. Will Wayne and Leslie Kent remain part of First Christian Church?
    Yes! Wayne and Leslie have invested many years of service to First Christian Church and the community. Wayne will assist Brian in acclimating to the rigor of his new role as Lead Pastor. Having Wayne released from the responsibilities of Lead Pastor opens up many possibilities for ministry within First Christian Church and Decatur at large. Wayne and Brian enjoy a close working relationship that will ease the transition.
  4. Will DirectLine continue?
    Wayne will continue to be the pastoral voice of Decatur through the radio program DirectLine on WSOY 1340AM. Church leaders as well as the radio station’s management group acknowledge the impact of DirectLine through Wayne’s pastoral voice and are committed to having him on the air as long as he wishes.
  5. Will the mission of First Christian Church change?
    Our mission to become devoted followers of Jesus Christ by growing and serving together will remain until the congregation’s leaders determine God is moving us to change. For now, we will continue pursuing this mission under Pastor Brian’s leadership. Our commitment to our local, national (Disciple Heritage Fellowship), and global mission partners remain in place.
  6. Who selects pastors of First Christian Church?
    According to First Christian Church’s by-laws, the Elder Team calls pastors. Our congregation puts faith and trust into carefully selected lay leaders who prayerfully make essential decisions on behalf of the congregation, including calling men and women into pastoral positions of the church. The Elder Team is responsible for determining who serves as Lead Pastor.
  7. How will this transition occur?
    The transition from Wayne to Brian will occur gradually. Brian will take on more of the Lead Pastor responsibilities with Wayne’s guidance and assistance. Brian will gradually present more and more weekend messages. We will celebrate Wayne and Leslie Kent’s ministry as we commission Brian and Jessica Talty’s new role.
  8. How can the congregation help?

First, pray for the Kents, Taltys, church leadership and staff, and our congregation.

Plan for change. Pastoral transition can be viewed as a big shift, and yet, it is a natural step in the congregation’s ongoing ministry. A core value of First Christian Church is we embrace change. We have successfully embraced change for many years. Now is the time for this shift in pastoral leadership. Pastor Wayne and the Elder Team prayerfully chose the summer of 2022 when the church leadership should move to the next generation. So, we will embrace change.

Next, actively support Pastor Brian with your words to him and about him. Now is the time to practice encouragement.

Finally, express appreciation to the Kents for their ministry among us for more than 27 years. Let them know of your thankfulness for their leadership of the congregation.

Letter from Pastor Wayne Kent

For questions regarding the pastoral transition, please contact info@firstdecatur.org or call the church at 217.875.3350.