Leadership Transition

Last fall, our lead pastor Antley Fowler announced his decision to step down from his role as leader of River City Church, which will be effective March 31, 2019. You can read and listen to his announcement here.

February 12, 2019 Update

Momentum is being generated as some key pieces are being put into place for River City Church to move into this significant season of transition:

  • A SEARCH TEAM has been selected and has begun the process of finding a new lead pastor.

  • An INTERIM LEADERSHIP PLAN has been developed and activity is underway for that to be operational when Antley steps down March 31.

Here are some of the details...

Lead Pastor Search

In this transition season, the elders and the Search Team are working closely with the staff to make sure our communication to you, the River City Church family, is transparent, timely, and clear. In that spirit, we will be updating this page regularly with important information as we go through this process.

Where are we in the search process?

The elders have selected a Search Team that has begun the initial stages of assigning responsibilities among the team, developing Lead Pastor and RCC profiles to be used for the search, determining where and how we will search for this position, and developing the procedures and methods for interacting with candidates, both those who apply and those we pursue. This group is praying and meeting regularly as they move through this process.

Who is on the Search Team?

We have selected people we feel have spiritual depth, who live out RCC’s mission and vision, match the culture of the church and the staff, are supportive but think independently, and have a broad view of the church and where we want to go. The nine members are:

Mark Custer • Dana Germaine • Bethany Kaisharis • Thad McNulty • Kelly Murphy • Ed New • Kathi Smith • Steve Surratt • Ann Riley

What kind of person are we looking for?

A detailed profile is being developed and will be available on this webpage soon.

How will we get the word out?

We will publicize the position in a variety of ways but primarily by networking and pursuing recommended candidates. We will contact people who know RCC to solicit names of anyone they know who may fit our profile — whether that person is looking for a new ministry opportunity or not.   

Can I suggest a name?

Yes! Once the profile for RCC Lead Pastor is posted, read through it to acquaint yourself with the qualities and characteristics we are looking for in our next leader. If you know of someone who has the experience, character, and qualities described, please submit their name and other pertinent information to the Search Team.

Who gets a voice in the selection?

The Search Team has been asked to select a candidate with input from the staff, Ministry Leadership Team, and elders. The team is also pursuing ways to allow additional inclusiveness in their search and review process. The congregation will be asked to participate in a weekend of activities as the candidate arrives, preaches, and visits the community and River City Church.  

What can we do now?

1. Pray.

  • Please pray for the Search Team for continued wisdom, clarity, and unity during this critical process.

  • Please pray for Antley and Laura and family as they transition into this new season of life, that God will bless them as they seek to finish well and wrap up fifteen years of faithful service at RCC.  

  • Pray for our staff and elders as they lead the church through the transition.

  • Pray for the leader God will call for the Leader Pastor position and for that family as God prepares their hearts and minds to come here.

  • Please pray for our church family and community during this time of transition. We are praising God for the incredible ways we continue to witness His grace and blessing, and look forward with faith and anticipation of how God will continue to work in the days to come!

2. Carry on.

  • Fill in knowledge gaps with faith instead of fear.

  • Live and minister in the present.

  • Be a voice and vision of hope.

3. Jump in, ask questions, share ideas, communicate.

The team would love to dialogue with you about this process. Please do not hesitate to speak with any of the Search Team members when you see them. If, at any point, you have questions, concerns, words of encouragement, visions, or just thoughts that you want to share, you can also email the team at searchteam@rivercitychurch.com.

Transition Leadership Plan

The River City Church leadership recognizes that pastoral transition can be a critical juncture in the life of a church, especially when it is the founding pastor who is stepping aside. It has crippled or ended the mission and ministry of a lot of churches. And yet, as we try to gauge the mood at River City Church, there seems to be a strong sense of trust and confidence in what God is going to do at RCC. Granted, there is a lot of interest, curiosity and anticipation, but not a lot of panic or fear. God is faithful. There have been any number of confirming signs—in ministry, discipleship, giving, etc.—that He is not done with the work He has called this church to do.

So, as we have worked to create a structure to sustain and move the church through this season, it has been with a confident and certain trust in God to help, because he has promised (Psalm 130:5). We are clear that RCC has always been God's church (not Antley's church, or the staff's, or the elders') and that He is in control. Jesus is the head of the church; River City Church belongs to Him. He “works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Eph. 1:11).  

Our desire has been to develop a plan that maintains our values and DNA, sustains momentum and minimizes disruption, secures RCC for the short term and the long term, and celebrates Antley’s ministry and allows him to finish well. The elders worked on several strategies for moving the church through the interim period and frankly, had to come back to the drawing board more than once.

Finally, the peace and clarity we’d been looking for in our transition fell on us; we experienced external confirmation of our internal leading as well. We believe this plan provides the right kind of structure with a faithful, competent, and collective leadership team that will carry River City Church through this season.

Essentially, there will be no one interim leader assuming Antley’s role of church leader. Instead, we will have a collaborative structure involving the elders with Brian Robinson and Allan Love each serving as “number two’s” handling specific areas of responsibility. Allan will continue in his current role of supporting the work of the staff, overseeing operations and carrying out his current ministry functions. Brian will continue to provide leadership in the areas of ministry with families, outreach, local and global missions, and evangelism.

Additionally, thanks to the recent hire of Tim Downey to focus on student ministry, Brian has been freed up to assume the responsibility of overseeing the culture and direction of Sunday mornings. Specifically, he will teach 2-3 times per month, oversee the teaching focus and calendar, and lead the Speakers & Service Leaders team. During this interim season, he will also assist in supporting small group leadership.

This is a work in progress; there are still things to work through with regard to some areas of responsibility, decision-making authority and day-to-day logistics. However, we feel this is a viable, workable plan to sustain and support the life of the church as we look for the next lead pastor.

Our confidence in the feasibility of this structure is founded on:

  • The shared values and vision of Allan and Brian, and the trust, commitment, mutual respect and humility they each bring to the process. While they have diverse gifts and talents, they are steadfast in their common desire to see RCC thrive during this transition.

  • The current stability and capability of our staff. The staff is as healthy and strong as they have ever been, and they stand ready to take on the challenges of this season.

  • Our trust in God’s leading through His Holy Spirit. We remember, it is not by our might nor by our power, but by Your Spirit, O Lord. (Zechariah 4:6)


“God, I/we pray today for River City Church. Guide the efforts of all involved in this transition; give them the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of You. May they remember it is not by our might nor by our power, but by Your Spirit, O Lord.

Let us view this season as an opportunity for renewal and an invitation to build upon the foundation which has been given to us. May we continue to seek to be a transformative community--filled with faith, rooted in love, grounded in the Word, energized by the power of Your Holy Spirit, and united by the Kingdom mission You have entrusted to us.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Watch the FebRUARY 10 Town Hall Gathering: