Click here for our most recent updates on the Lead Pastor Transition.

Lead Pastor Transition 2023

Letter from Lead Pastor
John Shepherd 

Dear ROCC Family and Friends,

On January 8, I announced that we were going to formally begin the search process for the next
Lead Pastor of ROCC. I will continue serving as Lead Pastor until God has brought my successor
to us. At that point, I will begin serving as a “shepherd to shepherds” with Standing Stone
Ministry (
First, it is important to understand that this decision is my decision and mine alone. Not one
person in church leadership or the congregation has suggested or put any pressure on me
whatsoever to make this decision. Joy and I both love this church deeply and are making this
decision because we believe this is God’s will for ROCC and for us.
Second, I am excited about the opportunity and privilege to be able to invest more time into
the health and wellbeing of pastors and ministry leaders across the country. I truly believe that
God has been preparing me for more than 3 decades of vocational ministry to be able to serve
as a trusted guide and mentor to ministry leaders in a variety of settings.
Finally, please pray for the elders, search team, our ministry staff, and me as we are all
navigating this transition. At this point, we have no idea who the next lead pastor is or how long
the process will take. But God does, and we believe that as we continue to pursue Him and His
will, then He will lead us to His choice to lead our church into the future.
I am excited to see where God leads our church, our team, and me into the future! I truly
believe the best is yet to come!

Update: March 29, 2023

The Lead Pastor Search Team has received interest from 153 candidates. That pool was then narrowed down to 25 candidates, and then to 5. We are now conducting first and second interviews.

Please continue to pray for our Search Team as we move forward. We are confident that our process is going to lead us to our next Pastor and will share more in the coming weeks.

The Search Process

After serving as Lead Pastor for 12 years, John believes God is leading him out of this
role. This decision was made solely by John and in consultation with the elders and
ministry team leaders.

According to the church constitution, the elders select a search team to recommend the
next Lead Pastor. This team is made up of committed members who represent a wide
cross-section of our ROCC family.

The search team will recommend one candidate to the elders, who will review the
recommendation and decide whether to approve and recommend the candidate to the
church membership for their consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions


Who is our Lead Pastor now?

John Shepherd is our Lead Pastor until his successor is in place.

Was this a sudden decision?

No. This decision came after many months of prayer and listening to God regarding John’s
ministry future. He has been working closely with the elders through this process.

Where is John Shepherd going?

John is excited about serving pastors and ministry leaders with Standing Stone Ministry
( Standing Stone provides free pastoral care to pastors and ministry
leaders. If you want more info about partnering with John in his new ministry, please contact
him at .

Who is serving on the Lead Pastor Search Team?

The elders have selected these church members to serve on the team, representing a diversity
of leadership roles and perspectives:
Brian George (chair)
Angi Morgan
Rich Allen
Rebecca Lowry
Jeremy Duke

How does the search process work?

According to the ROCC Constitution: “When the Lead Pastor’s position is vacated, the Elders will
appoint a Pastor Search Committee. The Pastor Search Committee will make recommendations
to the Elders. The Elders in turn will make recommendations to the congregation. A three-
fourths affirmative vote by the membership in a special called meeting of the church is required
to elect a new Lead Pastor.”

How do I know what to pray for? Pray for:

1. The elders and the search team to be filled with wisdom and discernment.

2. Pastor John: Thank God for the 12 years of faithful leadership that he has given our
church body. Pray for God’s favor to continue to rest on John as he enters a new calling
to “shepherd” pastors and ministry leaders.
3. Our next Lead Pastor: Pray for God to protect him and his family and for him to clearly
sense God’s call to be the next leader of our flock. Pray for their transition to us and
their future ministry with us.
4. Our church family: Pray that we will be open to this new chapter in our church’s history.
Pray that people will pray for, engage with, and embrace God’s will for our future.

How do I stay updated on the progress of the search or contact the search team?

Text SEARCH to 615-789-8755 to be notified when this page is updated with new information.
You can contact the search team directly by emailing

What is the timeline for the search? How can I vote?

There is no definite timeline for the search. With John committed to remain as Lead Pastor until
the search concludes, there is no pressure to make a rushed decision. We believe it is more
important to make a right decision than a fast one. That said, we feel confident that the search
will be completed in 2023.

When the elders are ready to present the recommended candidate to the church, we will notify
church members at least one week prior to the upcoming vote. Remember that only church
members can vote per our constitution. If you are not a member, register for our Step 1 class to
learn more about church membership.