Almost ten years ago, you honored Judy and me by calling us to serve you as Senior Minister. Over the course of that time, we have seen so much fruitful ministry take place in the life of our church, and I have found tremendous fulfillment in being a part of this exemplary congregation. Truly, it has for me been a dream come true. However, the time has come for someone else to enjoy the privilege of leading this great church. To that end, I announce my plans to retire as Senior Minister of Mountain Brook Baptist Church. My last Sunday with you will be November 14, 2021.
I have prayed much about this decision and am at peace that this transition is God’s will for us all. November will mark a decade of my service to Mountain Brook Baptist Church. This tenure has been a good stay for me, and I trust it has been a good one for the church. In fact, it marks the second longest pastorate in my ministry. Moreover, pointing toward November will allow me the opportunity to see the church through to the other side of COVID, a challenge none of us ever anticipated but one that must be met. I am convinced that when the church gets to the other side of this pandemic, there will need to be a reset of everything, which I would thoroughly enjoy leading but which my age prevents me from seeing such a process through to its completion. Simply put, I am not the future of Mountain Brook Baptist Church, and it will soon be time for the church to ponder that future and pursue it.
I want to express my deep appreciation for all the support you have shown Judy and me during our time here. Serving this church has been a wonderful experience, and I am thankful to God and to each of you for this opportunity.
I had spoken several months ago with the Deacon Executive Team of my plans and they have crafted a transition process for the church to follow as you seek your next Senior Minister. We agreed that making the announcement now will afford the church the time to implement that process, which is outlined in a communication on their behalf from our Chairman of Deacons, Glenn Eubanks, and follows this letter.
So, what can you do over these next months to support the transition? You can pray for the church. Fortunately, Mountain Brook Baptist Church is in strong shape, even as we mark one year of managing ministry in the midst of a pandemic. If anything, the challenges of this past year have focused our church’s commitment even more. You can also pray for the Senior Minister Search Committee that will soon be formed. Per our church bylaws, the Nominating Committee will be working on a slate of fifteen names to recommend to the congregation. I have no idea whom they will recommend, but I will enthusiastically support their work every way I can. You can join me in praying for next Senior Minister even now. Of course, at this time we have no idea who that person will be, but I look forward to supporting that person, just as Dr. Jim Moebes so graciously supported me. Lastly, you can pray for Judy and me. Our plans are to relocate next year to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, which is halfway between our children in Navarre and Tallahassee. I would especially covet your prayers as I look forward to staying active in ministry, though in a short-term capacity. This desire is why I refer to my decision as a transition and not a retirement.
In the meantime, I look forward to the time we will have together. I intend to finish strong and finish well. So, I invite you to join me as together we “reach toward unto those things that are ahead and press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). God still has so much for us to experience. Thank you again for how you have blessed me in so many ways. I do anticipate the gift of these next months as I do my best to bless you in return so that we may with one heart love God and live with grace and generosity.
“Moreover…to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift from God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19)
Dear MBBC Family,
Most of us viewed Dr. Dortch's retirement announcement with mixed emotions. We are sad that he and Judy are leaving, but happy for this well-deserved reward for a lifetime of ministry. By the time he retires in November he will have served forty-three years in the ministry, with the final ten as our senior minister. He is certainly deserving of all that retirement will bring to him and his family.
During his tenure we have seen transformational developments in the health and prosperity of our church. It would be impossible to enumerate the accomplishments and improvements that he initiated and executed in this communication. Without his faithfulness, dedication, tireless efforts, and unique skills and talents, we would not be poised for the bright future that awaits us today.
In the seventy-six year history of MBBC we have been blessed with just five senior ministers. While transition to a new senior minister has occurred infrequently, the church leadership is prepared to move forward. Dr. Dortch has given us the gift of time by making his plans known now. This allows the church ample time to seek and find God’s direction as we search for the person He is preparing to serve as our next senior minister.
Great leaders prepare their people for change. Anticipating his retirement, Dr. Dortch shared his plans with the church Executive Committee so that it might begin facilitation of the process to follow in calling a successor. The search, consistent with MBBC bylaws, will be conducted by a Pulpit Nominating Committee. The nominees to serve on that committee will be submitted to the church membership by the church Nominating Committee, and those submitted will stand for election at a specially called meeting during the worship services on a designated Sunday.
Once elected by the church, the Pulpit Nominating Committee will work with the Center for Healthy Churches (www.chchurches.org), a consulting firm that our church knows well. Our Vision 2020 process was successfully led by Dr. Bill Wilson, who serves as the Director of CHC. His leadership during that self-evaluation process was outstanding. He brings tremendous experience and wisdom in this area of transition, and we encourage you to stay tuned as our church begins a process that will be vital to our future, transparent to our membership and guided by our faith.
Dr. Dortch will continue to preach, teach and minister to us until his last official day, that being November 14, 2021. We will have ample time and opportunity to celebrate Doug, Judy and the ministry we have enjoyed over the last decade in the months to come.
Dr. Dortch’s decision to retire leads us into a season of transition. It will not end until a new senior minister is in our midst. What can you do? We know you will express your gratitude to Dr. Dortch and Judy for the love and ministry they have showered upon us. Pray for Dr. Dortch and his family as they prepare for this exciting new time of life. Pray for and support our wonderful staff as they continue to teach and minister to our needs. Pray that God will be at the center of every decision that will be made during this transition. Join us in a spirit of unity as we ask God to be at work in the life of our church and in the life of the one whom He will call to serve as our new senior minister.
In joyful anticipation of what God will do,
Glenn Eubanks, Deacon Chair