Letter from Pastor Doug
November 7, 2021
Dear CCSE Family,
It was March 1992, nearly 30 years ago, that a group of over 20 people began gathering for Bible study in the living room of Kevin and Melinda Voss in Gladstone, while we were also praying and seeking the wisdom and will of God for planting a new church. Just a few months later, we launched our first Sunday service at the Clackamas Business center as “Calvary Chapel North Clackamas.” Several years later, due to a location change, we officially renamed the church to “Calvary Chapel Southeast,” better known to most of us today as CCSE.
At the time of our start, I was just 35 years old, finishing up my last year at Multnomah, and Janet and I had 3 small children; our fourth would be born a few years later. Who would have thought that these many years later we would still be here? These years have been filled with many ventures of faith, joys and sorrows, ups and downs, mountain tops and low valleys. Many have come and gone, and we have shared much laughter and shed many tears, experienced trials and tribulations, as well as joy filled victories. We have shared in times of humiliations, failures, heart aches and discouragements, with both ourselves and others. These years have been salted and peppered with a multitude of baby dedications, baptisms, weddings, funerals, and memorials, and for some, all the above. We have shared in the joy of church planting and sending out and supporting missionaries all over the world.
Overall, we have a treasure box filled with wonderful memories of sharing our lives with many wonderful people and find ourselves forever grateful for the love and grace we have received. Few pastors I know can share the joys of both loving and being loved by such wonderful people in the way we have known.
Janet and I can boldly testify of God’s faithful love and amazing grace, and we both marvel at the patience that God has lavished on us throughout our journey. Even though these years have been extremely difficult at times, it has also been abundantly rich at others. We would not exchange them for anything. We give praise, honor, and glory to God for allowing us the wonderful privilege of serving Him and His Church.
Over the past few years, as I have aged, the Lord has been provoking me to prepare myself and our body for that inevitable time when we would need to make our transition away from service at CCSE in order to pass on the baton to another generation that would also need to be led and fed with the living and powerful Holy Word of God that we have always treasured.
I have also been convicted that it was my duty as a pastor to prepare and equip men that I would be able to pass the baton to when I felt my time had come. I see this as the model set by the apostle Paul with Timothy.
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)
I first began discussing the issue with our board several years ago, and together we began seeking the Lord’s wisdom and direction for when such a time may come. Last year, Janet and I openly shared with our pastoral staff what we felt the Lord was stirring in our hearts, but we also knew that we first had to walk with our body through the many challenges of COVID before making any definite decisions. Believe it or not, this past year, despite the stresses and pressures that we struggled with, has, spiritually speaking, turned out to be perhaps the richest year of all our years of service. We feel very blessed! Our church is in a good place.
God has been very gracious and kind to us and has wonderfully supplied for every need, both personally and as a church. Our fellowship has also been blessed with a wonderful staff of gifted people whose hearts have been knitted together with love for Christ and grace for one another.
Recently, in the past couple of months, after much prayer, I believe God has given me some clarity as to the timing of our transition. It is my heart to continue on serving as senior pastor until the end of June, 2022, at which time, I will pass on the baton.
The question was then, Who? When I first approached the board with this decision, we knew that it was important to settle the question as to who the baton would be passed on to. For us, the obvious choices were between two godly men, Kevin Smith and Ryan Fredrich, who have both served me and our body well for many years. Kevin, Ryan, and I met and had an honest discussion evaluating their gifts and callings as related to where they both felt the Lord was leading them in the future. A few days later, we again came together and met with the board, and both men shared their hearts with us. Kevin, with much grace and humility, let it be known that after prayer with his wife Samantha, that he felt he could best serve our body with his giftings by continuing on in the role as assistant pastor serving under the lead of Ryan should Ryan agree. Ryan shared he felt called to eventually serve as senior pastor, but also agreed to serve with Kevin for a period of time should that be the decision of Kevin. We all came to an agreement in our spirits that God had answered our prayers believing it is the will of God that Ryan assume the role as senior pastor at CCSE after our departure.
So, at the end of June 2022, Lord willing, I will be officially passing off the baton to Ryan, and he will officially assume the role as Sr. Pastor of CCSE with an amazing staff to support him. I feel extremely blessed to hand this ministry over to men and a staff that I love and respect. I also feel very blessed for them because of the congregation of believers they get to continue to minister to.
Janet and I are humbled with those who have stood with us throughout all these many years. We are not quite sure yet as to what the Lord has in store for us, but our hearts are open to His leading whatever and wherever that may be. Please be in prayer for us. However, we are also excited to see what the Lord may have in store for CCSE in the years to come.
To be clear, Lord willing, I will continue to serve at the helm of CCSE as Sr. Pastor until the time of our departure. In the 8 months ahead, I will continue to teach, disciple, and invest a great deal of time mentoring Ryan and preparing our staff for the future.
We love our staff, leadership, and this wonderful body of believers here at CCSE that we consider as our family and friends that we pray will be lifelong. We hope the months ahead are filled with joy as we spend it together. Our love and prayers will always be with you.
In the Grip of His Love and Grace,
Watch the Family Meeting Announcement
Do you have any questions concerning this transition? We'd love to provide as much clarity to you as possible!