When a new pastor is called to a church, he or she is usually aware of the possible pitfalls if the preceding pastor was at the church for a long time. These include possible grief over the ending of longtime relationships or even perhaps relief that the preceding pastor’s tenure is finally over. Regardless, it takes careful maneuvering to come in and be the new “guy” or “gal” on the block and allow congregants time to adjust to the monumental change of having a new leader after so many years.
CBF pastor Charles Updike may have broken all the records in negotiating this kind of situation when he left FBC of Gaithersburg, MD, to become pastor of FBC, Glendale, CA. He followed a pastor who had led the church for 76 years! (He had died at the ripe old age of 101.) When Updike came in as pastor, attendance had dwindled to about 33 folks in worship. Now, some four years later, the church is running around 100 in worship. The church ministers to a community which is very multicultural with a population of Anglos, Armenians, Asians and Latinos. The church, which is American Baptist also relates to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
They are now seeking a new associate pastor to reach out to the growing community all around them. It is apparent that Updike did something right coming into the congregation of FBC of Glendale. And apparently the folks of the church did also. Together, they are doing marvelous things as pastor and people. May their tribe increase!