On November 8, Pastor Duane Detweiler announced that he planned to begin taking steps to transition out of the Lead Pastor role. The leadership team presented Keith Byler as the candidate to take on the role. This page serves as a resource to help answer questions about the transition. Below you will find a letter from Pastor Duane, a FAQ sheet, along with a transition timeline.
Dear Fairlawn Family,
For the past 25 years, God has allowed Verda and I to be part of Fairlawn as the lead pastor. Our journey began on January 11, 1987, when I first felt called to pastoral ministry. From that day in January, God met us in many ways as we discerned His will for our lives. Eventually, it led us to Rosedale Bible College and then in June of 1995 to the role of pastor here at Fairlawn. Our time at Fairlawn has been an incredible journey. We have felt loved by our church family and hopefully loved you well. Over the years, Verda and I talked about the importance of handing the church off to a new generation of leaders while we were still in a healthy place and running the race well. Three years ago, we sensed that it was time to begin thinking about transitioning out of the lead pastor role and discern what the next season of our lives would look like. We have been praying for the person who would lead our church into the future and the timing of the transition. In the spring of 2019, Verda and I went on a 2-day prayer retreat. One of the things that we sensed while we were there was a need for us to begin planning for a transition. In December, the leadership team, Verda, and I began a serious discussion about this transition. Developing a transition plan became one of our goals for 2020. The leadership team has been very supportive of our decision, and we have felt their love and support during this journey. It is truly a blessing to serve alongside this team. We plan to stay here at Fairlawn and walk alongside the leadership team during the transition. When the transition is complete, I will take on a different role on the pastoral staff. We also look forward to continuing to invest in our church family here at Fairlawn. As we felt this time approaching, we have sensed a real peace from God about our decision. Since the day we felt called, He has been faithful every step of the way. God is faithful and invites us to trust Him in the race He has marked out for us. He invites us to take one step at a time. As Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” We desire to take those steps of faith and allow God to direct our path. Verda and I would like to thank you for your incredible support over the years and ask that you pray for us as we begin this season of discerning next steps for our church. We are excited that Keith & Emily have consented to being considered for this position. We believe they are very qualified to fill this role into the future.
Duane and Verda Detweiler
Q: Will Duane and Verda continue attending Fairlawn?
A: After the transition is complete, Duane and Verda will spend 3 to 4 months away from Fairlawn. Their plan is to continue attending Fairlawn after that.
Q: What will Duane and Verda do next?
A: Duane and Verda are on a faith journey to discern what is next. The leadership team does foresee giving Duane the opportunity to remain on staff at Fairlawn in a different role.
Q: How was Keith selected as a candidate for the Lead Pastor position?
A: Through the process of planning for transition, the leadership team asked Keith and Emily if they would consider making themselves available for the role of Lead Pastor. After some discernment, Keith and Emily consented to be presented to and processed by the church for the position.
Q: What is the church’s role in processing Keith as the Lead Pastor candidate?
A: If you are a regular attender, we are asking you to pray with us as we consider Keith for this role. On February 21 all members of Fairlawn will vote “yes” or “no” to affirm Keith for the position. A Lead Pastor requires an 85% “yes” vote.
Q: What happens if Keith is not confirmed?
A: Keith will continue in his current role, and we will begin searching for and processing other candidates for the role.
Q: If Keith becomes the Lead Pastor who will take on his responsibilities?
A: Keith will retain some of his current responsibilities. We would begin the process of searching for another worship pastor.
Q: What is the timeline for transition?
A: There will be a vote on February 21. If affirmed by 85% we would begin a transition of responsibilities from Duane to Keith that will conclude in September of 2021