NEW LEAD PASTOR
The Elders at LifeBridge have unanimously selected Matt to be our next lead pastor. According to our bylaws, that selection was affirmed by the congregation in a vote that took place January 10/13. The ballots were totaled after each service and Matt was overwhelmingly approved by the congregation. Thank you all for your prayers and support of the decision to make Matt our new Lead Pastor.
We are still working with Matt and Kelly to establish a timeframe to bring their family to Colorado and begin their service with us. We will keep you updated as that date is finalized. We are looking forward to Matt’s leadership as he, Kelly and their family become part of the LifeBridge family in Longmont.
WATCH RICK’S ANNOUNCEMENT
A LETTER FROM RICK
It was 28 years ago when Diane and I moved our young family to Longmont, Colorado. While we came with the intent to serve a long time in the same place, we certainly couldn’t foresee that we would spend the bulk of our lives at LifeBridge.
Throughout the past few years, not only has the church looked ahead, but Diane and I have looked toward our own future. We knew there would be a time when we would pass the leadership privilege to someone new. Now, as I look to the future of our church’s opportunities and needs, it has become clear to me that God has prepared both the church and us to begin the transition toward retirement. Our plan is for me to step aside as LifeBridge’s Lead Pastor by September 2019.
Our Elders have put together a transition team and are diligently praying and working through all the implications. They are committed to communicating with the congregation throughout this process as we search for the next Lead Pastor at LifeBridge. I trust that God will bring the next leader to LifeBridge and that our Elders will lead that process successfully.
Because I’ve never been big on hobbies and there are only so many hammock days I can tolerate, I know Diane and I will stay busy. While I am retiring from LifeBridge, we won’t stop being involved in kingdom things, one of which is close to my heart. Our church is connected to a group of about 8,000 churches with 35,000 ministry leaders who share the same heritage and heartbeat as independent churches. The challenge and detrimental issues facing our young leaders is monumental, so a network named Spire launched with the mission to encourage and equip leaders who inspire a movement of healthy growing churches. Spire will provide innovative resources for mentoring, support pastor health, and provide practical ministry help. I have been asked to help give leadership to this new venture and help church leaders navigate new challenges they face.
Our Elders have always encouraged the church and our staff to be engaged beyond our walls. LifeBridge has led the way for many church communities worldwide on things such as neighboring and being externally focused. I am blessed by our church community, pastors, Elders, and staff who honor Christ with their time and resources. It is a privilege to work alongside so many of you who serve, give, and pray for LifeBridge and our community. Mostly, I loved being a part of helping our church be a place where Christ is honored and grace is evident.
For now, your work and mine remain the same: to find ways to help people in our community connect with the grace of God. I am looking forward to watching how God will lead in this next year for both LifeBridge and our family. Diane and I have such great love for you and the church, and are grateful to have spent the better part of our lives leading with you in this place. Let’s lean into this next year together!
A LETTER FROM THE ELDERS
Dear LifeBridge Family,
For more than 28 years, the Board of Elders has partnered with Rick Rusaw in leading LifeBridge Christian Church. It was with the upmost respect and appreciation that we accepted his decision in September to retire from ministry at LifeBridge in the coming year.
At that time, the Board of Elders at LifeBridge began prayerfully preparing for this God-led transition. While we fully embrace and support Rick and Diane as they listen to God’s calling on their lives, we know that there is much work to be done for God’s Kingdom through the ministry of LifeBridge. We are united in our view that, although we are sad to see Rick retire from the Lead Pastor role at LifeBridge, we are extremely excited to see what God has in store for both Rick and LifeBridge in the months and years ahead.
In this spirit, the Elder Board engaged a search consultant to assist in identifying qualified lead pastor candidates for consideration, and, in collaboration with senior staff, formed a Candidate Review Team. This team is comprised of diverse and representative congregational members and leaders intentionally selected to join the search for LifeBridge’s next Lead Pastor. The role of the Candidate Review Team is to review candidate profiles and make candidate recommendations to the Board of Elders, who then interview and evaluate those candidates to finalize the selection process.
The process is ongoing, and the Candidate Review Team has interviewed prospective candidates. In accordance with our by-laws, the Elders are engaged in the search process and will prayerfully continue until a candidate has been identified to be brought before the congregation for an affirming vote.
We promise to provide regular updates as this process moves along. We hope you will join us in daily prayer as God directs us to the individual that He is calling to become our new Lead Pastor.
We realize that many of you may have questions, and we have tried to address some of them in the FAQs below. If you have further questions or comments, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
The LifeBridge Christian Church Elders
Why is Rick transitioning?
After prayerful consideration, Rick has decided that this is the right time for him to retire from his role as Lead Pastor at LifeBridge. Rick’s retirement comes after more than 27 years of faithful service to LifeBridge and the church in a variety of capacities. Rick’s retirement will open the door for new leadership to lead LifeBridge into the next decades of ministry to our community.
Will Rick continue to teach during the transition?
Yes, Rick will continue to teach during this transition. Rick will continue to lead the staff and maintain his role as Lead Pastor until the Elders call the next leader for LifeBridge in the coming months.
What is the transition timeline?
Rick has announced that his retirement will take place on or before September 2019. As the Elders search for LifeBridge’s next leader, Rick will maintain his role and assist in the leadership transition, providing every opportunity for the next leader of LifeBridge to find success in continuing the ministry heartbeat of LifeBridge in our community.
Where is Rick going?
Rick and Diane, and most of their family, live in Longmont. Rick calls Longmont home and does not have plans to change his address. He is retiring from his role at LifeBridge and plans to continue in his passion of leaning into other ministry roles outside of LifeBridge to help push forward the movement of Independent Christian Churches across the country.
How will the next Lead Pastor be identified?
The Elder Board has formed a Candidate Review Team (CRT) and has partnered with Slingshot (a ministry placement consultancy) to assist in the search for the next Lead Pastor at LifeBridge. As a candidate is identified a full interview process will be conducted. We hope you will join us in prayer as God directs us to the individual that He is calling to become our next Lead Pastor of LifeBridge.
Who is on the Candidate Review Team and how were they selected?
This Candidate Review Team is comprised of diverse and representative congregational members and leaders intentionally selected to join the search for LifeBridge’s next Lead Pastor. Team members were collaboratively identified by Elders and staff and intentionally selected male and female, non-staff, varying ages, and demographics to comprise a representative cross section of LifeBridge’s congregation. The role of the Candidate Review Team is to review candidate profiles and make candidate recommendations to the Board of Elders, who then interview and evaluate those candidates to finalize the selection process.
What part does the congregation play in helping select the new lead pastor?
According to the by-laws of LifeBridge Christian Church, the Elders are responsible for selecting and putting forward one candidate for the consideration of the congregation. The Elders are fully engaged in the search process and will prayerfully continue the process of identifying and interviewing candidates until a candidate has been identified to be brought before the congregation. The candidate will be formally introduced to the congregation with an opportunity to preach and become familiar with LifeBridge before being presented for an affirming vote. Upon receiving an affirming vote from the congregation, the Elders will extend the call of ministry to the candidate to fill the role of Lead Pastor.
What does this mean for the future of LifeBridge?
LifeBridge has always been a place that shows and grows in God’s grace. We are excited about continuing to extend God’s grace to our community and growing in God’s grace as a church. This is a season where we are all prayerfully seeking God’s wisdom in identifying the next candidate who will provide leadership into the coming decades of growing and showing God’s grace in Longmont, across our state and country, and throughout the world.
Who is overseeing the current leadership of the church?
Our church is staff led and Elder protected. Our staff manages the day-to-day operations of the church, while our Elders care for the staff, affirm the forward vision, and manage the legal entity and progress of the church. During this time of transition, our staff and senior leadership team will continue to lead the day-to-day operations, while Elders will oversee the Lead Pastor search process and work alongside staff for strategic decisions that arise.
How can I stay up-to-date on the transition process?
This web page is a great place to find current and up-to-date information about the search process and any news regarding the leadership transition. The Elders will also provide updated information as this process progresses in monthly emails and as needed during services. We also suggest you sign up for the LifeBridge eNewsletter to receive updates and information. For additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEADERSHIP UPDATES FROM THE ELDERS
January 13, 2018
It was great having Matt Hessel and his wife, Kelly here this weekend sharing a powerful message on risk. I enjoyed this quote from his message- What you do with what you have will be an indication of who the Master is in your life. And I think that quote is true for me, for you, and for LifeBridge. We all have an opportunity to follow Jesus’ lead with whatever we’re facing.
I love how our church has continued to pursue God during this season of looking forward to the future of LifeBridge. Thank you for being a church that seeks God’s will and has been prayerful and encouraging throughout this process of finding our next lead pastor.
The Elders at LifeBridge have unanimously selected Matt to be our next lead pastor. According to our bylaws, that selection was affirmed by the congregation in a vote that took place this past weekend. The ballots were totaled after each service and Matt was overwhelmingly approved by the congregation.
Thank you all for your prayers and support of the decision to make Matt our new Lead Pastor.
We are still working with Matt and Kelly to establish a timeframe to bring their family to Colorado and begin their service with us. We will keep you updated as that date is finalized. We are looking forward to Matt’s leadership as he and Kelly and their family become part of the LifeBridge family in Longmont. God is so good!
Thank you and blessings,
Gayle Zonnefeld, Chairman of the Elders
December 24, 2018
Dear LifeBridge Family,
It is with a grateful heart and thanks to God that I write to you on behalf of the Elders to share some tremendous news. By now, most of you will have heard that after 28 years in ministry at LifeBridge, Rick Rusaw announced in September his plans to retire in 2019. After more than five months and countless hours of prayer, research and interviewing, and review and discussion with key staff and leaders – the Elders have unanimously selected a candidate to fill the Lead Pastor role at LifeBridge Christian Church into the next generation. It is my pleasure to introduce to you, Matt Hessel. Matt and his wife Kelly have three children (9, 6 and 4) and come to us from Indianapolis, Indiana where Matt has served at Trader’s Point Christian Church for the last eight years.
After spending time with Matt on multiple occasions, I am impressed with his passion for ministry and desire for furthering God’s kingdom through the local church. He is firmly based in the faith, sincere, very relational, a team player and straight forward in his communications. The messages I reviewed and listened to show a good ability to delve into the Word and deliver powerful, meaningful messages to both individuals mature in their faith and those new to faith in Christ.
The next two weekends we will introduce Matt via video in our services and provide an online profile with details and links for you to get to know Matt and his family. Matt and Kelly will be with us in our January 10th and 13th 2019 services. Matt will share a message in each of our services and He and Kelly will be available to greet you in the lobby following each service. Please make plans to be in attendance at one of our services that weekend to meet Matt and Kelly and share your affirming support of this call to ministry.
Again, please join me in thanks and praise to God for answering our prayers in leading Matt to us. Also, many thanks to our Candidate Review Team, the staff and Rick and Diane Rusaw who have all been integral in this search and call process. Thank you as well for your prayers, support and encouragement and please continue in prayer as we anticipate Matt and Kelly’s time with us in January. We rejoice in how far God has brought us and can hardly wait to see what He has in store for LifeBridge in the days and years to come.
All Glory to God,
Gayle Zonnefeld, Chairman of the Elders
December 9, 2018
Good morning LifeBridge family, on behalf of the Elders I want to thank you for your encouragement, support and prayers over the last several months. Just a brief update on our search for the next Lead Pastor here at LifeBridge . As you will recall in September Rick Rusaw announced his intention to retire within the year, the Elders, according to our by-laws, began the search for the next lead pastor.
More than 40 applicants from around the country responded through our placement consultant regarding our search and a select number of those applicants were matched with our congregational profile. A diverse group of men and women from our congregation were selected to serve on a candidate review team. They spent countless hours researching, interviewing, and evaluating these candidates and several weeks ago made a recommendation to the elders regarding the top candidates. The Elders then prayerfully reviewed those candidates and agreed to focus our efforts on pursuing the best candidate for LifeBridge.
I am pleased to share with you that the Elders and senior staff met this week in person with a top candidate who is also praying for God’s leading in his ministry. In the coming weeks, he and his wife will be visiting with us at LifeBridge. We will provide more details in the coming days about their visit and next steps.
Please join us in praying for God’s continued direction in this process and be sure to find the latest information at www.lbcc.com/look forward or email us with questions at look email@example.com
Again, on behalf of the elders, thank you for your prayers and support.
Gayle Zonnefeld, Chairman of the Elders
Oct. 21, 2018
It has been six weeks since Rick and Diane announced their decision to retire. As you will recall, immediately after that announcement we engaged a search firm specializing in helping churches locate senior staff. Through their efforts more than 40 individuals have made inquiries for the ministry opportunity here at LifeBridge. They received interest from numerous quality candidates and provided us with profiles of those candidates who mostly closely matched our requirements and have an interest in becoming the next Lead Pastor of LifeBridge.
As we shared, the Elders formed a Candidate Review Team, made up of members of our congregation. They have already met and have begun reviewing the profiles of these candidates, listening to messages, and checking references. The Candidate Review Team, along with Elders and Staff, will continue to vet and interview these candidates before presenting a candidate to the congregation. We will communicate with you throughout the coming weeks as this process unfolds.
This is an exciting and challenging time for LifeBridge and we ask for your prayers as we move forward. This has always been God’s church and it always will be. Please join us in prayer as our church follows God’s lead in this process.
Gayle Zonnefeld, Chairman of the Elders
If you have questions about the transition, click below to email us.
We appreciate your prayers during this transition and are excited for what God has in store for Rick and LifeBridge.