Dear CVC Family,
I have always marveled at how God designed seasons into His magnificent creation. Four seasons, each with their own distinctive and necessary nature. Have you noticed that when the seasons change, you need to sacrifice something you like about one season in order to embrace what you appreciate about the next? I absolutely love the vibrant colors, distinct fragrances, and comfortable temperatures of the fall here in Ohio, but it requires saying good-bye to the warmth, outdoor activities, and fireflies of the summer that I also enjoy in order to experience the fall. Seasons change and we must adjust to the changes ourselves.
The changing season principle is now a reality for Cuyahoga Valley Church and the Allen family. As many of you know, Rica and I, along with our family, came from California to Cleveland over 11 years ago to be part of this church. We left family, lifelong-friends, and our previous church and ministry behind at God’s leading for me to be Lead Pastor of CVC. During this season, we have experienced the knitting of our hearts to yours and shared in the joys and challenges of trying to build Christ’s kingdom side by side here in Northeast Ohio. We look back over the past 11 years and celebrate the smooth transition from Founding Pastor Rick Duncan, increasing our church’s prayer culture, launching a new campus in Brunswick, hosting a Chinese partner church in our Broadview Heights location, planting churches such as Refuge Church in Old Brooklyn, seeing our ethnic diversity grow, the launch of our CVCGO ministry, eliminating our debt through the Unleash campaign, helping translate a Bible for our adopted unreached people group in Southeast Asia, growing our budget and generosity, kicking off Church on the Lawn, increased reengagement and attendance post-pandemic, the numerous people that have placed their faith in Christ and have been baptized, and more new people taking their next steps to grow in their faith. These are just some of the celebrations and examples of momentum that we can all joyfully celebrate and thank God for!
The Allen family is now needing to embark on a new season, one that leads our family to begin transitioning back to the west. With multiple unplanned trips back to California in the past 16 months, and with the sudden passing of Rica’s mother, we’ve been reminded of the brevity and unpredictability of life, and the importance of proximity to family. Therefore, Rica and I believe God is leading us at this time to explore opportunities for our next ministry season in a location within striking distance to our family. We are not sure exactly where that will take us or when that will be, but we want to operate with openness and integrity so that you can be praying with us as we explore, and that CVC can freely begin the needed planning to find the next Lead Pastor. We do not want to go, but we feel that we need to go. It makes our decision easier knowing that CVC is in a healthy place, growing, and gaining momentum. Praise God!
By communicating now, it helps us both take our next steps of faith and trust in the Lord together and do our best to coordinate a leadership transition that will glorify God and help the church maintain momentum. Our prayerful desire is that the Lord will line up our next ministry post by fall of 2022 so that our children can begin their next school year/jobs at a natural starting point. Until that time, I will continue to be your Lead Pastor. I have already started working with our Elders to begin the early stages of a transition plan for the next Lead Pastor. We will be updating you as our plans come online and when we have more information. This will probably not be a short search process, but we have an outstanding Leadership Team who continues to advance God’s kingdom in greater Cleveland and around the world as evidenced by some of the wins mentioned earlier, as well as what was published in our recent 2021 annual report.
I’m aware that this news may produce shock and sadness for many of you and that you will need time to process this information and your feelings. I assure you that CVC is in great hands. The church belongs to the Lord, we have passionate and capable leaders driving our ministry vision and strategy, and we have incredible men and women of God such as yourselves who are praying, serving, and giving so that we can stay on mission for Christ.
In Isaiah 43, God says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18–19).
God doesn’t want us looking backward. He wants us to lean into what He has for us in the future. I believe He’s preparing to do a new and beautiful work in both the next season of CVC and the next season of the Allen family.
For now, I ask you to be praying for our family as we explore opportunities. Please be praying for CVC as we initiate the process of finding the next Lead Pastor God has for CVC. God has been doing a great work at CVC for 35 years, and He’s far from done! Please continue to grow as a united family of believers motivated by the Great Commandment and devoted to the Great Commission who is focused on our mission of inviting people to new life in Christ. Protect the unity of our church. There will be some people who will be tempted to use this news to cause division, discouragement, and distraction. We can’t allow that to happen. We have to focus on the mission, stick to our ministry strategy, and keep surging forward to take new ground for Christ. Let’s be mutually committed to honor God, and honor one another through this transition as we mutually seek out what God has for us both in this next season.
There are not enough words to accurately describe how meaningful these years have been to me as your Pastor. It has been a joyful honor. I have, and will always have, an immense love and appreciation for this church community. We are forever family. Please know that wherever God leads the Allen family, our hearts will be near to the people and ministry efforts of CVC. We look forward to return visits to CVC so that we can see you and personally experience the great work God will continue to do through you in CVC’s next season of fruitful ministry for Christ’s Kingdom. I love you, I’m grateful for you, I’m grateful for the past 11½ years, and I’m grateful in advance for what’s to come for both of us. To God be all the glory!
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chad D. Allen