From the Restoration Church Management Team
April 7, 2019
Dear Restoration Church,
In the second half of 2016, Restoration’s cofounders Landon Myers and Jon Wolfinger recruited us to participate on the Management Team of the church. The stated purpose of this team has been “to oversee the health and development of Restoration Church until the time in which qualified and effective local elders can be placed.” A church plant Management Team can provide wisdom, counsel, and accountability in the early days of a church until those things can be provided longterm by local leaders. It has been a joy to see how God has worked so powerfully in Restoration in such a short period of time.
From the beginning of Restoration, we were well aware of both the difficulty and beauty of having two Lead Pastors. It’s difficult because it’s more challenging to combine two visions into one, but it’s also beautiful because the different gifts, skills, and temperaments can wonderfully complement each other.
Over the last few years, we’ve helped Jon and Landon more clearly define their roles and work through the natural challenges that come with coleadership. Over the last year, these challenges began to increase in frequency and intensity. Then, in midFebruary, Landon and Jon concluded that it would be best for them and the church if their coleadership came to an end. They did not envision a restructure that would be effective, and both wanted to serve as Lead Pastor for the future. Thus, they turned to the Management Team and asked us to determine the best course of action. Jon and Landon were in full agreement that the Management Team should decide which of them should continue as Lead Pastor.
After much praying, discussing, and getting input from staff and others in Restoration, we have unanimously determined that Landon Myers will be the Lead Pastor of Restoration going forward. We believe his gifts and vision are best positioned to continue and extend the significant gospel impact of Restoration in Prescott.
With heavy hearts and tremendous gratitude for his service, we are releasing Jon Wolfinger from his pastoral leadership and employment at Restoration. Out of love and appreciation for Jon and Karen, we are providing what we believe is a generous severance package that will provide them time and space to seek God’s next assignment for them. We believe Jon is godly, qualified, and skilled as a pastor and his future is bright.
While this situation may come as a surprise to you now, the situation isn’t a shocking one when one considers the challenges of coleadership and even early church history (see Acts 15:3941, where Paul and Barnabas separate after “a sharp disagreement”). God often uses these challenges to extend his mission, and we pray that he will do that here. At the same time, we know that the Enemy would like to use a situation like this to sow division and discord. He would be thrilled to see the people of Restoration take sides, carry gossip, and assume the worst about each other. Please resist these temptations.
The management team believes that it’s in the best interest of everyone involved for the transition to happen quickly. Therefore, since Jon and Karen both want God's best for Restoration Church, they have 1 determined that the best way to enable that is for this Sunday, April 7th to be their final Sunday. We hope that when you see or contact them you will communicate your appreciation and affection for their ministry.
We pray that God will continue to use Restoration in Prescott to help broken stories be made beautiful. With love in Christ,
Restoration Church Management Team
Chuck Bomar, Colossae Church (Portland, OR)
Chris Gonzalez, Missio Dei Communities (Tempe, AZ)
Ron Merrell, Heights Church (Prescott, AZ)
Luke Simmons, Redemption Church Gateway (Queen Creek, AZ)
Justin Unger, Likewise Worship Collective (Huntington Beach, CA)
Q & A
What were the specific challenges that Jon and Landon were having with each other?
We do not believe it’s essential for everyone to know the specifics. There were a combination of significant reasons that Jon and Landon did not feel they could continue to coleadpastor together. The specifics should appropriately remain between them, their families, and the Management Team.
Are we sure that this is necessary?
Yes, we are. This is not the path we hoped for when it began, and efforts have been made to see if there was another way forward. However, we are confident that this is best.
Did the management team talk with anyone from Restoration in making this decision?
Yes. Jon and Landon supplied us with names of some people who they felt could give us some insight. These meetings were helpful and important.
This situation seems to indicate a need for local elders. Is there a plan to establish an elder board soon?
We have always viewed the Management Team as a temporary step toward establishing local elders. We are hopeful that the transition to local eldership is coming soon, and will be working with Landon to establish the right leaders in the right time.
Does this change also mean there will be a change in vision?
No. The vision has been consistent and remains the same: Becoming human the way we were made to be. We believe that Landon is gifted and called to continue this vision at Restoration. 2
A Letter from Jon Wolfinger
It’s with great grief and gratitude that I say my goodbyes to pastoral ministry at this church today.
In 2011, my wife and I stepped out in faith to plant the gospel in Prescott. We saw church as “a people who, and not a place where” and desired to live our lives together in community as Jesus makes our brokenness beautiful. Church, you are the answer to our prayers. God has been so faithful to us.
While certainly difficult at times, these 3 years of pastoring in the midst of Restoration Church have been the most joyous journey in the 15 years I’ve been in vocational ministry. The stories of healing, wholeness and finding life and hope in Jesus—The people of God following Him together in everyday life—The beauty of relationship as we’ve walked through various trials and celebrations—The opportunity to see my oldest son come to faith and baptize him with you all as witnesses—This has been worth it all. It has been a joy, honor and privilege to be one of your pastors.
My hope, prayer, and dream was to pastor this church for the rest of my life, but as Proverbs says “A man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.” In the midst of all the tension, both Landon and I entrusted ourselves and you to the process with the management team, and I am choosing to trust God with the outcome they havedecided. I am grateful for the generosity of both the management team, and you, to be able to take time to rest, reflect and seek God’s heart for what’s best next.
This week, I’ve been reminded of a quote from Derek Kidner’s commentary on Ecclessiastes: “The unpredictability of life clips the wings of our self sufficiency.” This is certainly the case as we cling to Jesus with the uncertainty of life in this season. In the midst of it all, for both my family and for you, I believe that God is faithful, God is good, God is with us, and God is for us. The gospel is still really good news for us all.
I have been reflecting on what Paul says to the church in Philippi as it portrays exactly how we believe and feel going into this next season:
Philippians 1:3-11 - “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
Thank you all. May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Many thanks & much love, Jon, Karen + Lincoln, Elliot and Theo