Dear Pathways Friends and Family,

For a while, Anne and I have sensed that God is leading us into a new season of ministry. There has been no burning bush encounter, but a slow and steady sense that it's time for us to begin stepping back from the role of Lead Pastor, and begin looking for a successor.

We’ve had a front row seat watching God do amazing things over the past 31 years.  But, as we look to the future, we believe that it’s time for a fresh vision and a new voice to lead us forward. We want to share what we have planned, and what's next for Pathways.

Please watch the video below, then scroll down for answers to questions you may have in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Over the past few years, Phil and Anne have sensed God leading them into a new season of ministry. There has been no burning bush encounter, but a steady sense that it was time for Phil to begin stepping back from the role of Lead Pastor and to begin looking for a successor. Moses had Aaron, Elijah had Elisha, David had Solomon, and Jesus had twelve that he poured into for 3 years.  Phil sees this transition as an intentional move to keep Pathways healthy and strong. 

Succession is an effective strategy for healthy organizational transition in leadership. Because every pastor is temporary, it makes sense that leadership transition should be approached from a proactive stance rather than a reactive one.  It allows for a season of overlap between the outgoing leader and the new one. It gives a successor time to learn from the current leader in a mutually agreed upon environment of respect and honor.  It also gives the congregation a period of adjustment that is smoother than a pastor arriving as the “new guy” with limited understanding of church systems, history and relationships. 

For some time now, the Pathways Executive Team and Elder team have been mapping out an intentional succession plan at Pathways. Other methods of transition can be done well, but as our leadership teams have prayed, it seems like this route is the direction God is leading. Pastor Phil and the Elder Team have sought to hire a potential successor who can build rapport with the congregation over time before officially being presented. Why go this route? 

When a pastor leaves without a transition plan, churches form search committees and begin the process of finding a leader who is a good fit for their congregation. It can be very challenging when the pastor departs. The average time required to find a replacement averages about 1 month per year that the pastor served.  For example, a pastor who served 12 years, takes about 12 months to replace. Phil has served for 31 years at Pathways. Going months on end without a shepherd to guide the flock can be filled with drama, disruption and disillusionment. Sometimes this cannot be avoided, but a healthy succession plan offers a different path that provides the possibility of more continuity in leadership.

Pastor Phil is strongly recommending David to be the next Lead Pastor. The Elders have interviewed him and are also recommending him. David is a mature, godly, gifted leader who has a track record of fruitful ministry. He has been influenced and trained in the same spiritual environments and by the same mentors as pastor Phil, which is helpful for a smooth transition. 

While similar to Phil’s leadership style, David has already brought a creative, fresh set of young eyes to help lead in our church. Since joining our staff in January, Pathways has grown by almost 100 people and has baptized 7. He is connected with the Southern Baptist Convention like Pathways, is seminary trained (Masters of Theological Studies), has 6 years of lead pastor experience, and a total of 18 years in vocational ministry. 

His wife Jessica is fully on board with this transition and is supportive of their move to Pathways. She has a degree in Christian ministry from Point Loma Nazarene University and is a gifted evangelist, disciplemaker and leader. David is a personal evangelist and disciple-maker, along with his parents and 3 brothers who also serve in ministries around the world. He faithfully teaches God’s Word in a clear, compelling, creative and authentic way. In his spare time he enjoys playing catch and spiderman with his three young boys, watching sports and surfing! David not only has a heart to grow our church, but to impact the world for Christ through planting churches, speaking, writing, and equipping others to make disciples. 

The Elder and Executive teams will decide when the lead pastor decision will be presented and voted on by active church members in a church business meeting. This will likely happen in the early Fall months of this year. A 2/3 majority vote is required to hire a new Lead Pastor. If passed, David would become lead pastor at that time. He has expressed a desire that Phil remain on staff as a mentor and teaching pastor until a date to be determined by him and the Elder Team.

If David is approved as Lead Pastor, the plan is for Phil to remain as a teaching pastor and a support to David until a time to be determined. Successors will also be found for Anne’s leadership roles. The Herringtons plan on taking a brief sabbatical in the Fall months. They would like Pathways to be their home church, while ministering to other churches, pastors and leaders. 

Please pray together as we seek God’s will in this big transition. We will continue with our purpose…inviting people to find and follow Jesus! We desire to celebrate and honor the past and are fired up about the future God has for Pathways! Stay tuned for more details as they become available. 

If you have other questions, feel free to email, or