Moody Church senior pastor Erwin Lutzer to retire

Moody Church senior pastor Erwin Lutzer to retire

This isn't exactly breaking news since Dr. Erwin Lutzer made the announcement during The Moody Church's Sunday, January 4, 2015 service, which is now nearly two weeks after (as of this writing). However, given that a Google search shows no other news item about it, I guess it's still breaking news of sorts: after faithfully serving The Moody Church for 35 years, Pastor Lutzer has decided to retire.

Based on my previous conversations with him, he had actually considered retirement several times before. However, Pastor Lutzer, 73, wanted to remain in order to see the new building addition to the church completed and to be able to dedicate the new facility (titled the Christian Life Center, a.k.a. the CLC).

A few years after the CLC opened in 2007, I asked Pastor Lutzer again if he was considering retirement and he admitted he was thinking about it. However, he mentioned that the church's 150th anniversary was coming up (in 2014) and he wanted to be part of that significant milestone in the church's storied history.

When the 150th anniversary celebration ended with the end of 2014, I briefly thought to myself that Pastor Lutzer could make his retirement announcement any day now. But as 2014 drew to a close and he was already promoting his next series of messages for 2015 entitled "Changed By The Word," I thought maybe the announcement would happen later in the year. So I was oddly both surprised and yet not surprised when Pastor Lutzer indeed make the announcement on the first Sunday of 2015.

Personally, I'm sad to see Pastor Lutzer go. It is rare in many churches to have stable leadership for more than five years, much less a staggering 35 years. He provided gentle leadership, was an astute Bible expositor, and communicated effectively. In an era of scandalous news about evangelical pastors and leaders (e.g., Harvest Bible Chapel's James MacDonald, former Mars Hill Church senior pastor Mark Driscoll, and World Vision's Richard Stearns), Lutzer's steady and unscandalized tenure is a breath of fresh air.

Pastor Lutzer has dedicated six of our seven children (we're hoping he'll still be around to dedicate our seventh soon). He has been a homeschool supporter (though not a promoter) and has an amazingly deep knowledge of Christian history. He is humble and does not lord his position over others. I will be sad to see him go, though I understand.

Who will replace him? Pastor Lutzer said a wide net will be cast, and the search will be headed by a committee comprised of Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses, and to be approved by the full Elder board.

I don't know who might be Lutzer's successor because I don't know many potential candidates to begin with. I do like Armitage Baptist Church Senior Pastor Charles Lyons (who himself has been senior pastor at Armitage for 40 years!). He is an excellent expositor/preacher, a charismatic leader and seems genuinely friendly in my few interactions with him. However, I think Lyons' age is not very far removed from Lutzer's age so Lyons' age would seem to be a very significant negative against him as a candidate.

In any event, here's praying that the Lord will lead the Selection Committee to find a worthy successor. Until then, may we all enjoy the remaining weeks we have with Pastor Lutzer.

To Pastor Lutzer, thanks for all you have done (and will continue to do in your future role as Pastor Emeritus of The Moody Church). The Lord will surely say to you, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

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  • fb_avatar

    Rob,
    I think we've met at any of the ChicagoNow events. Both my children are Moody Bible graduates...both in the Jewish Studies programs.
    My youngest daughter still works in the library there. I'll send them copies of this.

  • In reply to Howard Moore:

    Thanks, Howard.

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