On Sunday, December 11 Pastor Scotty Smith announced that he will be leaving his position at Christ Community Church effective June 1, 2012. Please listen to the audio from the service to hear Scotty share in his own words regarding this decision, by clicking here.
Below are Scotty’s responses to some questions you may have. If you still have unanswered questions, we encourage you to contact any of our Servant Leadership.
· We worry that Scotty is being nudged toward the door or at least feels that way. Whose idea was this really?
In no way, shape or form have I felt pressure, inducements or even “nudging” towards retiring in the summer of 2012. I made this decision through much prayer, with input from significant people and in consideration of the significant research done by the Transition Team.
· We thought you said 2014 and this seems very abrupt. Why so fast?
When I first targeted 2014 for the completion of my transition, I assumed that would also be the time when my successor would take the “gospel baton.” Since last March, when my transition began, I’ve learned a whole lot about the ingredients for a successful transition in larger churches, especially one involving a Founding Pastor. The collective wisdom of this research, interaction with friends and input from consultants led me to conclude that 2012 would be the best time for me to retire from the staff of CCC. There will need to be an appropriate time between my leaving and my successor coming in.
· Given so much change and transition over the past year, this seems like bad timing to announce more change. How can this be good for Christ Community Church?
It’s true; we have been through a whole lot together recently, and no one more prays for and longs for healing to come to CCC more than me, no one. But more time, alone, won’t heal anything. Now that my departure date has been settled, I feel great freedom, as your Founding Pastor, to lead us into a season of healing and preparation for the future. If I left too soon, you would feel abandonment (which some of you are feeling and would feel even if I stayed two more years). If I waited too long to leave, the result would also be very counterproductive. All I can do is ask you to trust me that this timing will prove to be best for everyone. I am asking Jesus to make my last six months at CCC the most important and fruitful ministry of my life.
· Who will preach when Scotty leaves?
Our Transition Team is doing an incredible job of developing a well thought through plan for the next several months and our long-term future. Their research has confirmed that, before calling my successor, it will be very important to utilize an interim senior pastor. By God’s grace, we have set the preaching bar pretty high and we are committed to maintain the same gospel-centeredness and excellence in the interim senior pastor. We will also take advantage of local sons of CCC, like Kevin Twit.
· So are you and Darlene going to be starting another church here in Nashville?
The rumor mill, predictably, is running wild! I will not plant another church in middle Tennessee. Darlene and I are praying about the best way to use the gifts and experiences God has given us. We want CCC to send us out as gospel missionaries into strategic kingdom work. We do anticipate a good season of rest and restoration, to begin with.
· I heard you tell us that we were in transition and that you would be leaving but I never thought it would be so soon. My heart is just breaking with the thought that my pastor, the one God has used to wake me up to the Gospel is leaving. Can this possibly be a good thing for those of us left at CCC?
My heart is breaking too and I will probably cry like a baby several times with you. But a tenure of 25 years for a pastor is exceedingly rare, and for good reasons. Churches like ours can become too dependent on a central “hero figure”. Even though I have a hard time seeing myself in that role, nevertheless, to a certain extent, it is true. I am convinced that we need new leadership to take CCC to important places she has never been. While holding onto our historic gospel DNA, we need to prepare ourselves for the upcoming generations. I am thrilled to anticipate what Jesus is going to do, in and through CCC in the coming years.
The Questions below were posed to our Servant Leaders for response:
· When is our next congregational meeting?
There will be a congregational meeting January 15, 2012, 4:00 p.m.
· Are we going to be doing something where we celebrate and say goodbye to Scotty and Darlene?
Absolutely. We will be putting a committee together to start planning a great celebration for Scotty & Darlene. I’m sure we’re going to need plenty of help and will be faithful to let you know what we’re planning when we start getting the details worked out.
· Is everybody on the leadership team really supportive of this decision or are you guys just putting on a good face?
Like you, all of the people on the leadership team at CCC will miss our Pastor. We love him dearly and are so thankful for the consistent presentation of the Gospel. It will take us all a while to get over not seeing him in the pulpit and in the halls of our church. But we know this is a new season in the life of our church and we are confident that God will do exceedingly more than we can hope or imagine if we all work together and love each other well. So no, we’re not just putting on a good face. Actually I think our emotions are all over the board but we do realize that God is in control and Jesus is our ultimate High Priest. He will deliver our church if we all lead from our knees.