Some questions answered about Pastor Doug's new season of ministry

Senior Pastor Succession

For the past four years, Pastor Doug has been meeting with a small group of leaders to pray and talk about his next season of ministry.  During that time they also researched other churches and met with consultants in the area of succession to determine our best approach.  The weekend of March 3-4, Pastor Doug and Carolyn announced that the succession process to identify a new Senior Pastor of Woodside Bible Church had begun.  You can watch the video below:

A search team has been approved by the elders and we will be partnering with Vanderbloemen Search Group to identify the best internal and external candidates.  We are hopeful that by the fall of 2018 we may be able to introduce to you a potential candidate.  We have received counsel from many that it is best to have a transition period with the newly identified pastor, and the goal would be that the process would be complete May 2019.  Of course these timelines may adjust depending on the search process.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know some of you may have some questions that weren’t able to be answered in the announcement, so we have put together a few frequently asked questions below:

1.  Why is Pastor Doug leaving?  Pastor Doug and Carolyn have expressed their belief that the Lord is leading them to the next phase of their ministry, where they will mentor and encourage pastors and churches facing various challenges personally and in their ministries. In addition, they would like to spend more time with their children and grandchildren. This means Woodside must begin the process of finding Pastor Doug’s successor.

2. When was this decision made?  About four years ago, Pastor Doug asked a small group of men to meet with him periodically to pray and serve as counsel regarding his next season of ministry and the senior pastor succession planning process at Woodside. At the end of last year, it was determined that now is the time to formally begin the process.

3.  What is our search process?  Woodside has engaged a search firm, Vanderbloemen Search Group, that specializes in assisting churches, Christian universities and other ministries with senior leadership succession. VSG will manage the initial steps of the selection process: finding qualified candidates, conducting preliminary screenings and background checks, and making recommendations for final, qualified candidates. A search committee will then take that list of candidates and narrow it to a finalist for presentation and approval by the Elder board and the Woodside membership at large.

4.  How will the search committee be structured?  Under the leadership of Don Clapham and Larry Harrison, both of whom have served extensively as chairmen of the Woodside Elder Board, a search team of about 12 men and women will be selected.  A variety of ages, campuses and ministry roles will be represented. They will “bridge the gap” between the preliminary work that VSG will do and the final decisions that will be made by the Elders and the Woodside membership.

5.  Will there be internal and external candidates?  Vanderbloemen will work with the search team to identify potential internal and external candidates concurrently.

6.  Will we be made aware of candidates?  The church family will only be introduced to a candidate if the person is deemed a possible successor.

7.  What type of man are we looking for?  Obviously, there are certain basic characteristics that we are looking for – experience in leading large global ministries, a solid post graduate seminary education and an ability to communicate Biblical truths both inter-personally and through preaching. But the candidate must possess other, more unique, qualifications – alignment with Woodside’s theological, philosophical and methodological positions; the ability to provide vision and leadership to a multi-faceted, Kingdom-focused church; an unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ and a deep love and compassion for people of all walks of life.

8.  How will we make sure the new pastor will fit with Woodside?  As already mentioned, the selection of our next senior pastor will undergo a robust, thorough process to determine who should lead Woodside moving forward. However, as with anything related to the work of Jesus Christ, we must embrace certain spiritual fundamentals – an unwavering commitment to Biblical direction, a process bathed in prayer and reflection on the Word and a sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Everyone involved in the selection process asks for you to pray fervently as we seek God’s will concerning our next senior pastor.

9.  How long will the search process take?  It is anticipated that the process of actually selecting and affirming a new senior pastor will take about six months. Once on board, that individual will undergo a period of transition with Pastor Doug. We expect that entire transition period to conclude sometime in mid-2019.

10.  What will Pastor Doug be doing during the search period?  Pastor Doug will continue “full steam ahead” in leading our church family and serving to bring the vision of Woodside to life. While the decision of a successor ultimately rests on the Elder board and the membership, Pastor Doug will also provide insight, advice and support in the selection of his successor.

11.  What is the anticipated date for the new pastor to start in his role?  Again, we expect the selection and affirmation process to take about six months, so that would be sometime in the fall of this year.

12.  Will there be a transition period with the new candidate and Pastor Doug?  Yes.  The length of time will be determined based on the transition needs of the new pastor to his role, but we expect the entire process to be completed by mid-year in 2019.

13.   Will Doug and Carolyn continue to worship at Troy?  Yes.  They will always call Woodside their home.  They look forward to worshipping at our campuses, as well as visiting other local churches to encourage pastors in their ministries.

14.   How often will we receive updates?  We are planning to provide communications to our church family on at least a quarterly basis. However, this is a dynamic, exciting process, and we fully intend to communicate appropriate, relevant information – consistently, clearly, and in a timely manner – throughout the entire succession and transition process.

15.   Where can I send Pastor Doug a note?  Please send your notes to

How Can We Pray?

  • Unity and protection of our church family
  • God would give the search team a unified and clear focus, wisdom and discernment
  • Strength and encouragement for Pastor Doug and his family
  • God to prepare the heart of the man He will be calling to serve at Woodside