Pastoral Transition

On Sunday, January 16th, Pastor John Stoeckle announced his resignation as Lead Pastor, effective April 24, 2022.  
Here is where you can keep up to date on the Pastoral Transition.


late May 2022
During this transitional season for our congregation, a tool that the District Office would like us to go through is the PEAK Profile (Prepare to Expect the Advance of the Kingdom).  Here will be an avenue through which we can speak in to the conversation of reflecting where we are at as a congregation can give voice to how we are each individually and corporately experiencing FAC.  Peruse the brochure so you can be thinking how you would give input into these 9 essential elements of church life. The PEAK Profile will likely be available for participation late June. Stay tuned.

May 8, 2022
Transitional Pastor Joel Smith is leading the congregation through this season of change.  We are not just in search of a new Lead Pastor; we are to be in search of a new season of renewed faith in Jesus Christ. 

May 1, 2022


April 24, 2022
Special thanks to the team who brought together the wonderful Farewell Dinner for Pastor John & Lila. The event was catered by Macri’s of Middletown (yum!).  The evening included a time of sharing memories, well wishes and sending the Stoeckle’s off with prayer as they embark on their next chapter of life in Dayton, Ohio.   

Pastor Joel Smith was present at the morning service and introduced to the congregation.  He will officially begin May 1 as Transitional Pastor.  You can hear his bio starting at the 8:35 minute mark from the service HERE.

April 17, 2022
Pastor Joel Smith will be meeting the staff on Tuesday, April 19 and most likely visiting the church Sunday morning on April 24th.  He will begin May 1.
Please be in prayer for Pastor John as he transitions and for Joel as he steps in and for the congregation as we navigate seeking our next Lead Pastor. 

March 23, 2022
Pastor Joel Smith has accepted the role of transitional pastor as proposed by FAC’s Transitional Team.  He will begin May 1. 

March 20, 2022
The Transitional Team interviewed Joel Smith last week on Thursday. Joel was a former pastor of Day Break C&MA Church (Mechanicsburg, PA) and has since moved into other ministries, including having done 3 or so other transitional roles with other churches. The interview went well.  The transitional team unanimously decided to invite him to become our Transitional Pastor.  Joel is praying about it and will give the team an answer by the evening of Monday, March 21.  Pray for God’s will to be done. The Transitional team feels good about it but Joel needs to as well.  Keep in mind, should Joel (or whomever fills the role) would not be our permanent pastor. His role is temporary and purposeful… for about a year. 
Scroll to minute mark 5:45 VIDEO

March 13, 2022
A transitional pastor is intended to help us navigate through our transition. After 6-9 months we anticipate installing our next permanent pastor. Pray for the Lord’s protection over our church.  
Scroll to minute mark 6:44 Youtube

March 6, 2022
The team who is selecting a Transitional Pastor have a candidate whom they are planning to interview on or around March 17th. His name is Joel Smith, a former pastor of Daybreak Church C&MA (Mechanicsburg, PA). He has a lot of experience with doing transitional interims, working with about 3 other churches. Please pray for the interview and that God’s will would be done through this process.  
Watch/listen to the update HERE, starting at minute marker 8:27

February 20, 2022
An update was shared with the congregation in the process of selecting a Transitional Pastor.  There is a Transitional Team who have two candidates who are reviewing resumes, looking at sermons, etc.  The Transitional Team consists of the Governance Authority (Scott Smith, Dave Melville, Greg Snyder, Thong Vo) plus two additions. Those two additions to the team are Regina Kalbfleisch and Roselyn Koakanou.  They will meet again Tuesday, February 22 to review where they are with the two current candidates.  Any questions please let them know.
Watch/listen to the update HERE, starting at minute marker 14:12

JANUARY 30, 2022
On Sunday, January 30th, Scott Smith (Elder) shared the next step that has been determined by the Governance Authority in our Pastoral Transition.  (Emailed on Tuesday, February 1st).  Listen to the update by clicking the picture below and scroll to minute 14:55. 

“Church Family,

Here are some comments from the Governance Authority’s meeting held Tuesday, January 25, 2022 regarding the next step in our Pastoral Transition. Let’s all be in prayer through this time.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

 The Governance Authority (GA) unanimously agreed, and Pastor John concurred, that a Transitional Pastor is the best option for FAC while we search for a permanent replacement pastor. This provides several benefits over Elder lead sermons, or weekly guest pastors:

  • Essentially full time pastoral care, 3-4 days per week.  Will provide weekly services, consistency.
  • Will manage FAC Staff, other church business, and sit on Ministry Board and Governance Authority.
  • Will conduct a self-evaluation of FAC to help define who we are as a church, our spiritual path/goals moving forward and our pastoral needs, which will provide a template for our Pastor Search Profile.  This is a core element of their training.
  • Transitional Pastors are trained to help churches in many ways.  Three specific areas of their training that apply to FAC are:
    • Church is losing a long time pastor (almost 15 years).
    • Multi-ethnic churches
    • Churches that have experienced declining attendance

What to expect:

  • Candidates should be well vetted by the District office to match our needs.
  • The GA will ask a couple people from the congregation to assist in reviewing candidates for the Transitional Pastor.  Review recorded sermons, writings, resumes, etc.
  • The Transitional Pastor is expected to serve for 6-12 months as we search for a new pastor.  Probably more like 9-12 months.
  • The Transitional Pastor cannot be the replacement pastor; he is here to help us find our new pastor as well as help us grieve the loss of Pastor John.
  • The GA will communicate often with the congregation as the process unfolds.
  • Frequent prayer requests
    • That we will trust in God, that He will help us to not be anxious
    • That we will be unified throughout the process, that He will not let the enemy divide us
    • That God will deliver a new pastor to FAC according to His will

 -The GA
Scott Smith, Dave Melville, Greg Snyder, Thong Vo”

JANUARY 18, 2022
A follow up message from the Governance Authority was emailed on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
“Dear Congregation,
I would like to address you on behalf of the Governance Authority (GA).  Last Sunday, January 9th, we met with Pastor John and he informed us of his decision to resign effective April 24th.  We are sad to learn of the news, but completely understand the need for Pastor John and Lila to take the next step in their lives.  They will be greatly missed.

 The GA met with Nate Howard, the District Superintendent, on Wednesday January 12th, to discuss finding a replacement pastor.  We were glad to hear that FAC has the full support of the District office during this transition period.  Nate reviewed the process in place for selecting a new pastor.  The GA will work closely with the District office through the transition period.

 The GA would like to reassure the congregation that we have the full support of the District office and that a time tested process for selecting a replacement pastor is in place.  Nate has been involved with selecting 29 replacement pastors, so he is very familiar with the process.

 We will be communicating details with the congregation as they develop.  It is our intention to keep everyone up to date as we move through this process.  As some point in time, we will establish a Pastoral  Search Committee to help develop a Pastoral Profile to help identify the best candidate for FAC.  The committee will have a couple GA members and a handful of members from the congregation.  The committee will be responsible for reviewing and discussing potential candidates.  Many hours of service will be required from committee members during the search effort.

 In closing, we are thankful for the service, dedication, leadership and friendship of Pastor John and Lila.  We will miss them terribly and we wish them all the best as they open the next chapter of their lives.   The GA will do its best to keep everyone up to date as we work through this.  We take comfort that God is in control.  Please pray with us for wisdom, discernment and unity as we begin the search for a new pastor.

Dave Melville (Elder)”

On Sunday, January 16th, Pastor John Stoeckle announced his resignation as Lead Pastor, effective April 24, 2022.  
You can watch his announcement by clicking the screen shot below (you will have to manually scroll ahead to time mark 1:18:07).

Here is what Pastor John shared:

“Last Sunday, in a meeting with the Governance Authority I resigned as Lead Pastor of First Alliance Church effective the end of April.
We will be moving to Dayton Ohio, Lila will be able to work remotely, and I am still seeking God’s will for my next step.  Lila and I believe we have heard from the Lord about this move and we are following His call.
The Governance Authority has already met with Rev. Nate Howard our District Superintendent, who will, along with the Governance Authority, shepherd FAC through the calling of a new lead pastor.
I appreciate very much the ministry I have had here at FAC beginning August 20, 2007 for fourteen + years.  When my resignation is effective it will be four months shy of 15 years.  
God has used us in some special ways together and I am thankful for my time here.  I believe a good foundation has been laid for the next lead pastor of FAC.
As we all move forward into the uncertain future, we know one thing for certain; that we can count on God’s love and care for us each day.  He has a good future for Lila, me, and for First Alliance Church too.

Pastor John”




Categories: Uncategorized