Phil Moore, the lead pastor of Everyday Church, has written this blog in order to share some important news with you about a change to the leadership of Everyday Church. This news was shared with our London Venues on the 22nd of August. Phil shared personally in our Wimbledon Venue and a video message was made available for use in our other London Venues. This video was also available as a link on our website until 6th September.
Dear friends at Everyday Church,
I want to share some news with you about a significant leadership change that we are making at Everyday Church. Ruth and I have initiated this change as a result of what we believe God has been saying to us in our prayers, but it came as a bit of a surprise to us so we know that it may also come as a surprise to you. After eleven years of leading Everyday Church, we have come to the conclusion that it is time for us to stand down to make room for somebody else to lead.
This is not a decision that we have been considering throughout the whole of coronavirus lockdown. We first started considering it in January, but we have been so busy leading the people of Everyday Church through the final months of lockdown that it was only quite recently, at the start of July, that we began to feel that we should do more than merely consider it. While I was preparing a sermon on Acts 8:25-27, I felt a sudden sense that the Lord was calling me, like Philip in that passage, to “go south to the desert road” and to hand the work of leading Everyday Church to another of our leaders.
The question that I asked myself as I meditated on Acts 8:25-27 was: Do I feel as called to lead Everyday Church into the next eleven years as I did to lead it into its first eleven years? To my surprise, I realised that the answer was: No.
The follow-up question was: Do I believe that Everyday Church would be more fruitful and more joyful under my own leadership than it would be under the leadership of somebody new? Again, to my surprise, I began to feel that the answer was: No.
This was mid-July, and wholly initiated by Ruth and me. We hadn’t yet included the rest of our church leadership team, so Ruth and I immediately began to share this growing sense of God’s leadership of our lives with some of the Everyday Church elders and trustees, as well as with Dave Holden and Jonathan LeTocq, who oversee our church as part of New Ground. They were positive about this growing sense within us and encouraged us to believe that it might well be the leading of the Lord.
Like every other church in this season, Everyday Church needs to move forward purposefully and powerfully as we move out of lockdown. For that reason, although it might seem quite fast for people who have not been part of the conversation, we have agreed as leaders that we should make this leadership transition straightaway. It would seem foolish for us to regather the church under my leadership, to gain some momentum and then for us to interrupt it all by moving into a period of leadership transition later on in the autumn term. Instead, I will hand over leadership to Simon Elliott from 1st September, meaning that we can build some real momentum as a post-lockdown church right from the start for the of our regathering new term. At first, Simon would be interim leader, since there is a process for us to follow as a church, but he would be my own strong recommendation as the new lead pastor. Simon has been a key part of our leadership team since 2018, so I feel confident that he will lead Everyday Church forward brilliantly into all of the promises that God has given us.
Ruth and I don’t yet know the details of what the next chapter of our lives will look like. Since this decision started through the Lord’s encouragement, in Acts 8:25-27, for us to “go south to the desert road”, we actually feel that this “faith-while-not-quite-knowing-what” is a key aspect of what the Lord wants to do in our lives through this leadership transition. We know that we love Jesus and that we have many gifts that he has given us to extend his Kingdom, so we feel real peace about the future for our own lives and ministry. In the autumn term, I will be leading the New Ground Academy and I will take the opportunity to work as a full-time author in order to finish my Straight to the Heart series of Bible commentaries. We are confident that during the autumn term the Lord will bring real clarity to our plans for January onwards. In the meantime, the key thing is that we release new leadership for Everyday Church from the get-go as we regather back together after lockdown.
So, this is big news, and we know that it will come as a surprise to many of you. It did to us too! We haven’t been sitting on this decision throughout lockdown, but we have made it very recently in July. It has been a joy and a privilege to lead you, and we definitely share with you in any sadness you may feel. But since it seems right to us, to the other elders and to our apostolic oversight as a church, we want to be quick to obey the Lord so that Everyday Church can hit the ground running again as we regather back together after almost eighteen months of being scattered by the coronavirus.
This change is happening quite quickly due to the timings of lockdown easing and church life restarting, but we do hope that we will have an opportunity to say goodbye to many of you personally. Because 1st September is not far away, however, we wanted to let you know this news as soon as possible. We have always said that Jesus is the true Senior Pastor of Everyday Church so, while we want to recognise that this is big news, it isn’t quite as big as it may seem. It Jesus he who has led Everyday Church from where we were to where we are together, and it is Jesus who will lead Everyday Church on from here!
With many thanks, appreciation and very much love,
Phil and Ruth Moore