Paseo del Rey Church's Transition Plan FAQ's

on October 27th, 2017

September 10, 2017


Pastor Gary is transitioning July 31, 2018 from his role as lead pastor of Paseo del Rey Church (PdR) for the past 38 years to a new role as missionary for PdR.

Pastor Gary and our elders believe this is God’s gracious leading for him and our church body. Gary and April love the people of Paseo del Rey Church. While they feel a deep sadness in this season of transition, they also have great joy and excitement for God’s new season in their lives, our next lead pastor, and even more fruit for His glory here at Paseo del Rey Church. 

This journey may be longer than we hope or expect, it may be shorter. There may be some bumps along the road, or it may be smooth as silk. But, we all are committed to hearing God together and being transformed more and more into fully devoted followers of Jesus and bearing even more fruit of discipleship. We believe God is building upon the foundation we have laid under Pastor Gary’s shepherding these many years. We are assured of this: our faithful God has been with us, is with us, and will never leave us alone.

How did this process begin?

In 2013, Pastor Gary initiated conversations with our elders about PdR, his future inevitable retirement and our desire for a fruitful succession plan. Over the past couple years, Gary has shared publicly with our congregation that these conversations were occurring and asked for prayers to our great God. Thank you for your input, conversations and prayers!

Our elders and pastors have spent many hours praying, reading, talking, and getting good counsel from folks who have been down roads like this before, asking God to guide them for His purposes and glory and our good. 

Is Pastor Gary retiring July 31, 2018? 

No. He is transitioning on July 31, 2018 from his role as PdR’s lead pastor to the role of PdR’s missionary, to which he feels God’s calling. He will be working with Pathways Ministry, training third world pastors who will train other pastors, along with other mission’s work for PdR and the Evangelical Free Church of America. As you know, Gary is uniquely shaped for, excited about, and has been fruitful in serving with Pathways the past four years in Rwanda for PdR. Gary will be training pastors overseas about 3-4 times per year, about 3 weeks each time, as well as training trainers in the U.S.

Pastor Gary plans to retire May 31, 2020, and desires to continue ministry at home and overseas long past his retirement.

Why is this transition happening now?

Simply put, we all feel it is God’s leading. Since Gary initiated transition and succession conversations in 2013, there has been much prayer, listening, a few bumps along the road, and the seeking of wise counsel. While it took some time, God has brought a great sense of joy and unanimity for our plan and God’s calling to Pastor Gary and the elders.

How will Pastor Gary be supported as our missionary from his transition (July 31, 2018) to his retirement (May 31, 2020)?

PdR will pay Pastor Gary a partial salary through May 2020, supporting his ongoing missionary work. This partial salary will provide a bridge for Gary and April to Gary’s retirement in 2020 and recognizes, in a gracious and tangible way, Gary and April’s faithful and loving ministry to PdR through 38+ years. We greatly appreciate their loving service to God and to each of us that call Paseo del Rey our church.  

Pastor Gary will also raise support for his mission’s work from family and friends inside and outside of PdR, over and above their current giving to their local church. If you’re interested in being part of his monthly support team beginning August 1, 2018, please let him know. He will be sharing more about how you can be part of this ministry in days to come. Paseo del Rey may continue to support Pastor Gary as our missionary after he retires.

How will this partial salary impact the Church’s budget, in that we will also be hiring and paying a new lead pastor?

The elders and the business team carefully and thoroughly evaluated the budgetary implications of Gary’s partial salary through May 2020 and are convinced that with your continued generosity through your regular giving, combined with salary savings resulting from Pastor Derek’s departure, this cost will be manageable in our church’s overall budget and it will support the addition of a new lead pastor.

What is Gary’s role at Paseo del Rey between now and July 31, 2018?

Gary will continue as our lead pastor. As he has for the past 38 years, he will continue to shepherd and guide us, teaching us God’s Word, praying for us, encouraging us, loving us, and pointing us to our always graceful and sufficient Jesus. Gary wants to please God by finishing well his call to be the lead pastor of Paseo del Rey Church, faithfully serving Him and you. This will not change. 

He will be handing off more and more ministry, training others. He will be spending a good amount of time sharing the vision of his ongoing Pathways Ministry and his new role, continuing to train pastors in the US and overseas, and raising support both inside and outside of PdR. By his own choice, he may be absent occasionally as conversations and introductions of our potential new lead pastor take place.

He will be the biggest cheerleader for PdR’s transition, for our pastors, staff and elders as they listen to God and lead, and for God’s next lead pastor. 

And he will want to take time to have coffee with many of you, saying thank you for allowing him to be your pastor and friend.

Why 10 months between Gary’s announcement and his transition?

Some may think this is too short a time to bring closure to a 38 year ministry; some may feel it’s too long a time to wait. As we prayed, thought, and talked with others with expertise in these areas, we heard anywhere from 3 months to a year was good timing. We felt 10 months was a healthy, wise amount of time for us.

Will Pastor Gary and April continue to attend Paseo del Rey Church after July 31, 2018?

Pastor Gary and April, our elders and most people with wisdom and experience in these matters, feel it is important for our next lead pastor to have freedom and space to begin his new ministry among us without Pastor Gary being on the scene at PdR. 

Even though this will be sad and difficult for some—including Gary and April—they strongly desire our body to love, connect with, support and fully follow our new lead pastor’s shepherding as you have with them. Gary and April and our elders together feel it is healthiest and most fruitful if they become involved in another church and are not present for at least the first year of our new lead pastor’s ministry, and perhaps longer, until such time our new lead pastor and the elders agree it would be best for Gary and April to possibly return to PdR. 

What’s next?

The elders of PdR are hopeful as they seek God for His future plans for PdR to build upon the solid foundation of our church’s past 42+ years of ministry, and be even more fruitful for Jesus in the years ahead. Our elders are praying a lot! They are consulting with our own Evangelical Free Church West District leadership, as well as other wise consultants who will help carefully guide us as we seek God’s next lead pastor for PdR. 

Some of the potential next steps will include a church-wide assessment, comparing the results of this assessment with our vision and goals, creating a profile of the next lead pastor we sense God would have for us, and forming a Lead Pastor Search Team to help identify God’s man for us. The congregation will play an important role in helping us discover and affirm God’s next lead pastor for PdR. We will keep you informed as we move to next steps, seeking your input and your prayers to our faithful God.

You are invited to God’s Future for Paseo del Rey: Conversation with the Elders, this Wednesday night, September 13, 6.30pm, child care provided for infant – 6th grade. (RSVP to by this Tuesday, September 12 if you need child care.) This will be a chance for you to hear more and converse with our elders. Additional opportunities will be provided as well. Please feel free to speak to any elder individually—you can find our elders and how to contact them at

What can we do now?

Pray, pray, pray with us. We believe God has great new adventures for us as He is transforming us into fully devoted followers of Jesus. Ask God to give us wisdom, clarity and courage to see His future for Paseo del Rey Church.  Please share these FAQ’s with others who you know will also join us in praying.