Pastor Mark Hopper

Pastor Mark Hopper

By Pastor Mark Hopper

On Sun., Aug. 30, I passed the baton to a younger pastor at our church.

I have had the privilege of serving as the senior pastor at the Evangelical Free Church of Diamond Bar for over 27 years.

As of Sept. 1, the church has a new senior pastor.  His name is Tim Park.  He has served as an associate pastor at our church for several years, and is well liked and very qualified to take on the leadership of our church.

Our church leaders have been working on this transition plan for many months.  We presented this proposal to our church family in March, and it was unanimously approved at our church business meeting in April.

Actually, there was one “no” vote.  Since the vote was by secret ballot, we don’t know who cast it.  Some suspect it might have been my wife!  Just kidding!   But it was encouraging to see the strong support for this plan.

Different denominations have different traditions and procedures when they transition from one senior pastor to another.  Some reassign their pastors to new churches every few years.  In other churches, the local Bishop or Presbytery appoints new leaders to each church.

In our church, the lead pastor and Elders make recommendations to the congregation on major issues like budgets, building programs and the selection of the senior pastor.  I’m thankful that this proposal was so well received and supported by our church members.

There are many examples in the Bible where an older leader “passed the baton” to a younger person.  Moses passed the baton to Joshua; Elijah passed to Elisha; and the Apostle Paul to his young disciple, Timothy.

It is not uncommon for businesses to follow a similar practice where an older leader passes the baton to a younger member of their staff.  This can provide a smooth transition for the company or organization and help maintain their values and priorities.

I hope you will visit our church in the coming months and meet our new senior pastor.

We sure like him, and I think you will, too!

Pastor Mark Hopper is from the Evangelical Free Church of Diamond Bar, 3255 South Diamond Bar Ave. Sunday services are 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. For more information, call (909) 594-7604 or visit