- Pray for the man God has chosen for Lakewood Ranch Baptist Church. Pray for his current situation, pray for His family and their needs.
- Times of transition in church can also be times of the greatest spiritual growth. Please be dedicated to personal growth through this process.
- Remain an active member and attender of Lakewood Ranch Baptist. Or even better, get more involved. LWRBC needs you now more than ever. There are so many ways and a number of ministries to jump in and serve in here at LWRBC, so please join us in serving right now!
- Support the church staff as they fill the gaps during the interim period. Check on them, encourage them, pray for them. They will shoulder more responsibilities during this time and a quick note or handshake can go a long way.
- Pray for church unity and patience as the search committee seeks after God's direction in their search. Prayer is on this list twice because it is that important, so we invited you and encourage you to join us in prayer during this process.
On September 18th our search committee was presented and voted on at a church conference following morning service. Please keep this team in your prayer as they start praying for direction and start the search process, and continue to visit this page for ongoing updates.
Chairman: Chris Behling
Vice Chairman: Greg Winch
Secretary: Sally Bennett
*March 14th Update: The Pastor Search Team continues to meet weekly and continues to covet your prayers for the Lord to open our eyes and hearts to see His man for the Senior Pastor position. We just had our 24th meeting and our progress is very encouraging. We now have 3 pastors in a top and separate stage from the other 200+ resumes. At this point of the search we are meeting with the pastor and his wife to get to know them better and whether they could be God's choice for LWRBC. Needless to say, we are busy with details and ask you to continue to seek God on our behalf and ask the Spirit to make His choice clear to the future pastor and his family as well as our Team. Thank you in advance. It is a privilege to serve in this way.
*February 5th Update: The Pastor Search team have met Jan. 25th and Feb. 1st, and will continue to meet every Wednesday evening. We have stopped receiving resumes. We have looked over 200+ resumes, and have now stopped. We have met our goal of 10 top candidates, and that number has been reduced to our 6 top candidates. We are excited about these 6 men! We will continue to review and inquiries will be made to each candidate. Please, continue to pray for the team as we seek the Lord's wisdom and discernment for our next pastor for Lakewood Ranch Baptist Church. We also ask that you pray for these 6 men and their families.
**January 15th Update: The Pastor Search Team have met January 1st, 11th, and 18th and continue to review resumes from pastor applicants. We have now looked over 200+ resumes, and have 9 "promising" applicants that have met our initial criteria. Further review and inquiries are being made to candidates who receive initial approval by all team members. We are encouraged by the number of potentially qualified applicants. Please continue to pray for the team as we seek the Lord's wisdom and discernment on the next pastor for Lakewood Ranch Baptist Church."
**December 26th Update: "The Pastor Search Team met on December 21st and continues to review resumes from pastor applicants. Further review and inquiries are being made to candidates who receive initial approval by all team members. We are encouraged by the number of potentially qualified applicants. Please continue to pray for the team as we seek the Lord’s wisdom and discernment on the next pastor for Lakewood Ranch Baptist Church."
**December 19th Update: "The Pastor Search Team met on December 14th and continues to discuss and discern the many resumes we are receiving from the posting of the position of Senior Pastor for Lakewood Ranch Baptist Church. Please pray for time management for the Team members to go over these and also pray for our unity when we discuss them. Also, please pray for all pastors represented by these resumes to get confirmation from the Lord concerning His calling on their lives."
**December 12th Update: "The PST continues to meet weekly and have reviewed their first batch of resumes. The result is very encouraging as several are being pursued further. The Pastor Search Team continues to covet your prayers for these candidates and for our wisdom from God to make clear who the Lord desires to be our Senior Pastor."
**December 5th Update: The Pastor Search Team has now compiled their list to begin discerning which resumes will be considered for our Senior Pastor. This is an important step that is the result of much prayer, discernment and surveying of Staff, Deacons, Congregation and the PSTeam. Please continue to pray for the Team to have a right heart before God so that He will give His Wisdom. “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalms 90:17.
**November 11th update: "The Pastor Search Team continues to meet weekly. Thank you to all who participated in the Survey for Pastor Qualifications. We had a good response and appreciate the help. We have also interviewed the Staff and the Deacons to get their input. The PS Team appreciates your continued prayers as we move forward in unity and godly discernment to find God's choice for His church in His perfect time."
Chris began attending the church as Sarasota Baptist Church around 2005. He is married to Terri Behling and they have two girls. Allie is 14 years old and Marissa is 11 years old. Chris has served in the preschool for 5 years, as a Deacon for 3 years, currently serves as the College Ministry leader, he has also been a member of the worship team for about 8 years.
Sue came to LRBC about about 2 yrs ago. She has served as a Pastors wife in the ministry with her husband, Dave for 30 years, and has also ministered in 3 county jails for over 15 years. She is currently taking care of her 98 year old mother, and has 3 grown children.
Bill and his wife Kathy have been attending LRBC since 2008, and became members shortly after. They have been married 24 years and have 2 grown children; Emily (21) who is attending FGCU in Fort Myers and Jack (18) attending PBA in West Palm Beach. They have served in the Children's Ministry and in other areas as well. Bill is currently serving as a Deacon and they are enjoying this new season of their lives as "empty nesters".
Greg and Karen have been married 35 years. They met at the Open Door Baptist Church near Chicago, and 30 years ago they moved to Sarasota. They have 3 adult sons and 2 grandchildren. They are very glad that w joined LWRBC a little over a year ago. Prior to LWRBC, Greg has served as a deacon, treasurer, Sunday School teacher, Children’s Ministry Director, AWANA Game Director, AWANA JV Director, Bus Director, Bus Captain, and Jr. Church leader. Attended Bible College at Hyles-Anderson College, and has credits at Liberty University, and Faith Baptist Institute. For the past 20+ years Greg has been working as a Senior Sales Consultant at Stewart Signs (“LifeWay Sign Sales”) making signs primarily for Churches. Prior to that he worked for seven years as an Account Executive for WWSB-TV (ABC7 / 40) in Sarasota.
Sally and her husband, Richard have been married for 46 years, and have lived in Parrish for 35 years. They have two grown children and ten grandchildren who all live in Florida. She has been at Lakewood Ranch Baptist since it began as a small home group. "I represent the older members of our church and hope in being on the Pastor Search Team to represent those who vibrantly have a passion for Christ's Church and Truth and the Holy Bible."
Michelle and her family have been members of this church for over 8 years. Her husband, Greg, and she have been married for 23 years and have 3 daughters, Skyler (15), Katie (13) and Marina (11). She has served in the children's department in some capacity for all of those 8 years and has also served on the benevolence committee and as a wife of a deacon.
Dave Benedict is former Vice President for Academics at Trinity College. He taught and administrated at Houghton College for 20 years. He holds two Fulbright Awards to teach and research in the Caucasus and China as well as a Rotary International Award to do the same in Russia. For ten years, he served as an American diplomat in Mexico, Taiwan and China and as a Russian analyst in the Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research. His PhD is in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as a Southern Baptist Deacon in both Virginia and Taiwan as well as worship leader, lay minister and soloist.