FAQs about Pastor Mark's Departure
Why is Pastor Mark stepping away from Origin?
Before his sabbatical began, Mark was approached by Living Stones Church Sparks to be the Lead Pastor, as well as joining the executive elder team over the 6 Living Stones Churches and focusing on planting 30 new churches. Pastor Mark included the elders in the process in every step. We, the elders, together with the Souths, believe God has led Pastor Mark into a new season of ministry with a role that is tailor-made for his passions and giftings.
What were the confirmations to the Elders that would have them support his going to Living Stones?
The elders are confirmed that sending the Souths to Sparks is God’s calling for them, for Origin, and the kingdom.
The position Mark is moving into is a perfect fit for his gifting. While Mark is a gifted pastor in many ways, his greatest passion and his greatest fruitfulness are in leading leaders. In his position with Living Stones, Mark will be giving oversight to the whole LS family of churches, as well as developing future church planters to plant 30 churches in Nevada. We believe this role will maximize Mark’s giftings.
Not only is this transition good for Mark, but we believe it is also God’s calling for Origin. Our calling as a church is to plant more churches. We are sending Mark to the end that more and more churches would be planted. This is part of our calling as a church. Sending Mark does not leave us without a lead pastor. The Lord provides for what he has called us to be. And he has provided Origin with an interim pastor in Pastor Patrick. The timing of Mark's offer with the Thompsons’ ministry ending through the closing of the Grace City Center is an incredible example of God’s providence and further confirmation that this is the right step for Origin.
Ultimately, this transition is not about the Souths, Living Stones, or Origin. It is about the kingdom. May the Lord use us in whatever way is pleasing to him to make the most of Jesus.
What will Pastor Mark’s continued investment in Origin be?
As you have heard and experienced from Pastor Mark, he loves Origin and desires our church to flourish. Although he will not be with us, he is committed to serve Origin behind the scenes through coaching Pastor Patrick as well as the Elder team. Pastor Mark and the Elders desire to keep a continued relationship together through visits and even ministry partnership like our commitment to church planting in Ireland.
Why was it essential to wait for Pastor Mark’s sabbatical to end before telling the church?
The elders spent a lot of time wrestling through how to serve the church and best lead the transition. We were focused on serving all involved well. First, Pastor Mark’s sabbatical has been planned for six years. Their rest was not connected to their future ministry but as a rest from their previous six years serving Origin. Their sabbatical was not a vacation but an intentional time of family, space, soul care, time away, and more. This meant that there wasn’t a way for Pastor Mark to cancel all those plans to come back to Sacramento derailing the plans we (and them) had for their sabbatical and wasting money that Origin and the Souths invested.
Second, there was no way for the Origin Elders to announce his departure without the Souths ending their sabbatical. It was our decision as elders to make sure Pastor Mark finished his sabbatical before working and worrying about the transition. Pastor Mark was not the only pastor traveling this summer, either. Pastor Patrick had a ministry role in Compton through July. This made announcing Pastor Mark’s departure earlier a decision that wouldn’t serve Origin, the elders, or the Souths well.
Third, the Elders felt confirmed that they wanted to serve Living Stones well by giving them a rested and ready Lead Pastor. It would have been easier to think how this decision affects Origin only, but because we believe in sending Mark, it meant we wanted to give Living Stones our best, not the leftovers.
Why are two weeks before Pastor Mark leaving a sufficient amount of time for the transition?
It feels like longer would be better. However, experience shows a more extended transition makes things harder for the church and stales the church from moving forward. Pastor Mark and the Elders do not want this to define our fall season or bog us down in our purpose and mission. We want to keep Origin continuing to make disciples and having an impact in the city and neighborhoods. Pastor Mark will be the first to encourage Origin not to fixate on them leaving but rather keep our eyes on Jesus and the mission of Origin Church. The two week timeline is also because the South family needs to focus on moving to Sparks and getting settled before his start date of September 30th. However, Mark and Kristy are making every effort to spend time with anyone in Origin before the 8th.
Was there any information that needed to be kept from the congregation that added to Pastor Mark’s departure?
Not at all. There are no secrets, sins, or situations being kept from the Origin family.
How much of Pastor Mark’s departure was Chris aware before he was hired?
Chris was offered the position of Pastor of Liturgy and Arts after Pastor Mark and the Elders were confirmed of the transition. Pastor Mark called Chris during his sabbatical in June and personally offered the job in full disclosure. Chris and Emily accepted the offer fully knowing of Mark’s departure when he returned from sabbatical.
What day is his last Sunday?
Pastor Mark will preach his last sermon on Sunday, September 8th and the South family will be moving to Sparks that week.
What does Pastor Patrick stepping into the role of Interim Lead Pastor mean?
We are sure sending Pastor Mark is what God desires. We are also sure about Pastor Patrick serving as interim Lead Pastor. We have asked him to walk a 6-8 month process before confirming him to full-time Lead Pastor of Origin Church. This role will be part-time as Patrick works for Origin and continues in his work with Navigators. His role in the interim will include the following:
- Sunday morning preaching
- Leading the Elders
- Leading the Staff
- Pastoral Care and Counseling
- Working on specific goals set by the Elders
- Meeting with Pastor Mark
Are there any plans to have the Origin family show their love and appreciation for Pastor Mark and his family before they leave?
We plan on doing a few special things during Pastor Mark’s last Sunday at Origin on September 8th. Unfortunately, there won’t be any open mic sharing time for the congregation. We are intentionally limiting the time spent on sharing/appreciation during our gathering in order to give time for Pastor Mark to do what he’s loved doing at Origin for the last 11 years, and that is preach God’s Word.
The Origin family is free to write emails/letters/cards to give to Mark and Kristy. You can either email Mark or give them to Katy and she will make sure they get to the South family.
Can I meet with Pastor Mark before he leaves?
Pastor Mark and Kristy want to give time to anyone in Origin before their last day on September 8th. You can contact Pastor Mark at email@example.com.
What can I do?
- Write a note to the Souths
- Pray for the Elders
- Pray for Pastor Patrick and the Thompson family as he takes on this new role
- Stay, invest, trust and grow in Jesus
- Encourage one another with the goodness of God
- Find areas of needs and serve
If I have concerns or questions, who do I contact?
If you have questions or concerns, we want to hear from you. We would ask you let the Elders answer the questions you have instead of Pastor Mark because he has so much on his plate with meeting up with Origin people, transitioning the staff team, and preparing Pastor Patrick in such a short amount of time. Please contact us at Elders@originchurch.org