A friend of mine pointed me to some conversations that were taking place on chat forums concerning the pastoral transition that is happening at New Life Church. I am somewhat humbled that anyone outside of Austin would care about our church. I am also somewhat concerned about the false assumptions that some have made. I am amazed that people have so much time and motivation to evaluate what God is doing somewhere else. But for the record, here are the details from our church website :
Posted by: Rodney Shaw | November 4, 2009
An Update on New Life Church
Last Sunday night [October 25], we elected Rodney Shaw as pastor of our church by a vote of 99 percent. From now to the end of this year, he and I will work together much as we have been working. Both of us will be available for pastoral counseling and decision-making. All reports to the pastor should go to both of us.
Beginning January 1, 2010, he will assume most of the daily authority and responsibility as pastor, as I will assume full-time responsibilities as general superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International. He and I will serve together as co-pastors through June 30, 2011, to allow time to finish our building program and capital campaign.
Beginning July 1, 2011, he will be the sole senior pastor, and I will become bishop, defined as advisory pastor. I will be available to preach, teach, and counsel as requested. I will have an office at church, sit on the church board, and receive a small income from the church.
It is unfair for those outside of our church to understand fully what this means. They only have their own experience to draw from, so let me provide some clarifying points:
1. We are defining “bishop” as “advisory pastor.” This means that Bro. Bernard, as the founding pastor, will be available to me for advice, counsel, preaching, or whatever I deem is needed. He will serve at my pleasure.
2. This is not an attempt by Bro. Bernard to retain control over the church. The decision to keep him in this advisory role was my decision. He was prepared to have no ongoing input and no ongoing compensation from the church, including any retirement or expense reimbursement, even though he is the founding pastor. He offered to give up his office and work from home. I do not “have to” seek his approval for future decisions. However, I insisted that we keep him connected to our church. It would be foolish of me not to have his input and advice.
3. This is not an attempt for Bro. Bernard to have a “nest egg.” Any compensation Bro. Bernard will receive will be minimal, about the equivalent of a part-time employee at a coffee shop. He will only be paid for services rendered to the church, and he will not receive retirement apart from this compensation. No work, no pay. This was his decision. He is not a greedy man. He is more interested in the solvency of the church, including our ability to hire more staff, than he is in his own financial security. This will not be the first time I have received more income from the church than he has.
I realize that it is easy to assume how others make decisions based on one’s own history, experience, and desires. However, any further assumptions about the arrangement at New Life is mere speculation. The misinformation that is on the Internet is devoid of facts and is based in a mischaracterization of Bro. Bernard and a misunderstanding of our relationship as it has been forged over 17 years of ministry together. I expect this will not be the last time some will be surprised by Bro. Bernard.
We all would do well to follow the New Testament admonitions concerning speech, which includes what we say about others in all forms of communication. If anyone has questions, they are welcome to contact me directly.
Posted in Preachers and Preaching