October 25, 2015 Update
October 25, 2015 Update
We are so excited to announce the culmination and completion of the senior pastor search process at Shades Mountain Community Church. On October 25, 2015, the congregation overwhelmingly voted to affirm the Elders’ recommendation and we look forward to welcoming our new Senior Pastor, Dr. Rick Goertzen, and his wife, Kris, to Birmingham and to our church in early January 2016.
Rick earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Southeastern Bible College, in Birmingham, Alabama in 1985. He went on to attend The Master’s Seminary where he earned his Master’s Degree in Divinity in 1991 and his Doctorate in Ministry (D.Min.) in 2007.
Originally from Hutchinson, Kansas, Rick has been the Senior Pastor of Grace Bible Church (GBC) in Hutchinson for twenty years, a church he planted and has pastored since its founding. Since 1983 Rick has joyfully served on the staff of five churches in the states of Alabama, Louisiana, California and Kansas. In 1995, Rick became senior pastor at GBC and has served through 2015. During this time, Rick has been blessed to be involved with two church plants directly out of GBC.
Pastor Rick has a heart for missions and has been closely involved with mission opportunities in Brazil and Russia. He teaches at Bible Colleges and leads pastoral and missionary training seminars, as well as, ministers to and encourages pastors in these remote locations. He serves on the Board of Directors for Slavic Gospel Association. In addition to teaching and preaching, Rick has enjoyed writing. His publications include articles submitted to newspapers and a book he has authored on the subject of expository teaching and pastoral ministry for Kress publication, which is available in Spanish.
We praise God for His faithfulness to our church during the interim period and throughout the search process. We have seen the evidence of God’s amazing grace in the unity and unwavering faith of our congregation, the prayerful wisdom of our Elders, and the overwhelming affirmation of Rick as our next Senior Pastor. May God continue to get great glory among us as we prepare to enter a new phase of gospel ministry, and may we be prepared to follow our Lord wherever he leads.
We believe Rick brings a wealth of wisdom, vision, and pastoral experience to SMCC, and we look forward to seeing where the Lord leads us in the months and years to come, as Rick assumes the role of Senior Pastor. Rick believes there is no greater privilege than to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For Rick, that means his primary purpose is to use his gift to preach God’s precious Word.
Rick and Kris, who has a servant’s heart to minister to women, have enjoyed over 30 years of marriage. They have three children – two daughters, Bethany and Sarah, and son, Joshua.
Letter from Rick Goertzen to the SMCC Congregation:
Dear SMCC Family,
Romans 1:11, 12
For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.
Kris and I are amazed by the overwhelming call and confirmation by you all. We are praying that our Lord will prepare us both for the joyous work of the ministry for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I have been trying to find a word which adequately communicates our eager, joyous excitement to join you all. I believe the word is “stoked”, for God has poked and prodded our hearts with a fire to come to SMCC. We long to see how God will slowly, graciously, and purposely build us into the body of Christ, striving to love each other and use our gifts dynamically to reach the lost.
Whereas we have a ministry from which to transition, our first prayer is to leave those we love so deeply, well. Pray for us to be faithful to the end. Also, pray for the necessary worldly things to go smoothly and quickly. We desire to not have any divided and distant business to distract us.
Our love for you all grows with each prayer. May the Lord bless us as we prepare our hearts for ministry together.
The King is on the throne,