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Leadership Succession Plan

Central is in the process of transitioning its leadership through a succession plan. Watch this video to learn more.

Timeline

The timeline of our pastoral succession plan reveals God’s sovereign hand. He knows what we need even before we ask.

 

Pastor Mark Westerfield, Central’s Founding and Senior Pastor, began ministry in Round Rock almost 40 years ago. He planted Central Baptist Church 30 years ago. Pastor Mark is a pillar in the Round Rock community. Once a quarter, he gathers the pastors of the city for a unifying lunch. It is not unusual for 50 pastors to show up. When there is a need in the city, the mayor or the police chief will call Pastor Mark. He truly is a pastor of pastors and the pastor of the city.

 

He is also the pastor of our church. With the wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit, about 10 years ago, Pastor Mark began the process to establish elders who would share in the leadership of Central. One of the reasons why he did this was because he knew that one day he would need to retire, and he needed elders to help him find a successor.

 

About 8 years ago, Central Baptist Church’s membership affirmed a decision to change its governing structure to an Elder led congregation. As the Elders began building their processes for decision-making, Pastor Mark recognized the need for the Elders to pray that God would introduce a successor that he could help prepare and develop over several years.

 

In November of 2020, the Elders approached Brett McDonald, Central’s Worship Pastor, to prayerfully consider becoming Mark’s successor as Senior Pastor. The Elders had observed Brett’s growth as a communicator and leader and thought that maybe he was God’s man to succeed Pastor Mark at Central. Brett agreed to join the elders in prayer. Over the next several months, after much prayer and discussion, both the Elders and Brett agreed that this may be the will of God.

 

In January of 2022, Brett began to attend Elder meetings in a non-voting capacity. In the summer of 2022, the Elders made him an official member of the Elders. He has continued to take on more responsibility as well. He leads Central’s staff and has begun to increase in his preaching role on Sunday mornings.

 

It has been Mark’s dream to retire from his role as Senior Pastor at Central Baptist Church in 2025, which would mark a major milestone of 40 years of ministry in the city of Round Rock.

 

The Elders, Pastors, and Staff at Central unite behind what we believe to be God’s plan for our church. We trust God and know that the whole process including timing remains in God’s hands.

How should you pray? 

  • Pray for God to get the glory in this journey.

  • Pray for Mark as he hands off responsibility.

  • Pray for Pam, Mark’s wife, as she cares for him.

  • Pray for the loss of personal dreams for Mark and Pam.

  • Pray for Brett as he takes on more responsibility and learns to lead in new capacities.

  • Pray for Brett’s family as they enter this new chapter.

  • Pray for Central’s elders and pastors taking on extra responsibilities through this transition.

  • Pray that Central continues to be a congregation that loves Jesus passionately.

Pastor Mark's Health

Here is the latest information from Pastor Mark on his health and Parkinson's diagnosis.

FAQ

We care deeply about walking well with our church into the coming season, which includes clear and transparent communication. We’ve prepared some expected questions and responses below, but if you have any further questions or concerns, we invite you to reach out to our Elder Team.

Q: How is Mark’s health?

A: In April 2022, Mark was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, and the effects differ for each person. For Pastor Mark, the physical effects worsen with stress and fatigue. Additionally, mental difficulties, such as depression and anxiety, accompany the physical effects. Mark is currently in treatment for his health. While there are times when the line between humility and humiliation is blurred, and there are times of frustration, Pastor Mark models joy and faith through his difficult circumstances.

 

 

Q: What’s next for Pastor Mark? 

A: Mark has not finished ministering in the community. It is Brett’s great desire that Mark stay on staff in a role where he can best use his gifting and influence as a leader at Central and in the community.

 

 

Q: How does Mark’s health factor into the succession plan? 

A: Pastor Mark and the elders began to pray and named Brett as successor before Mark’s diagnosis. While his diagnosis did not factor in to Pastor Mark’s plan to retire, it may play a role in the timeline. After a lifetime of trusting God with whatever circumstances arise, this situation is no different. 

 

 

Q: Who will carry the preaching responsibilities at Central?

A: Preaching on Sunday morning will mainly be shared by Mark and Brett. As a part of the transition plan Brett will preach more and more in the next two years. Additionally, Central is blessed with several incredible communicators who will share the preaching load.

 

Q: Will there be a congregational vote for Brett to become the senior pastor?

A: Yes. At Central, we are elder-led at the approval of the congregation. That means that Central’s church members have affirmed the Elder body, acknowledging their authority and leadership in matters of church government. According to the Church Constitution and Bylaws, some decisions at Central require a church vote. Choosing a new Senior Pastor is one of those situations. Depending on your church background, you may have experience with the search for a Senior Pastor. In this scenario at Central, the Elder body has served as the “search committee” and has selected one candidate as God’s man to succeed Pastor Mark. When the time is right, the congregation will have the opportunity to affirm what the Elders have discerned as God’s will for Central.

 

 

Q: How does this affect the rest of Central’s Staff? 

A: The staff has taken ownership of the transition of leadership. Some staff have taken on more responsibilities. Others have taken on new roles. There will be some shifting around within the organization. We do not anticipate any staff changes.

 

 

Q: Who will be the worship pastor? 

A: As a part of the transition process, Central will need to hire a new worship pastor. The search process has begun. The Elders will update the congregation at the appropriate time. Once a candidate is selected, the church will have the opportunity to affirm the Elder’s selection.

 

 

Q: I still have questions. Who should I ask? 

A: Central’s Elders love you and pray for you regularly. They want to help shepherd you through this time of transition. Do not hesitate to direct your question to elders@centralrr.com

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