Twenty years after forming Faith Community Church in New Richmond, Pastor Mike Evans is venturing out on his next adventure.
Evans has taken a position with Training Leaders International in Minneapolis. Joshua Maciel has been hired as the new pastor at Faith Community Church.
Evans recently turned 64 and said some people automatically assumed he wanted to retire. He has no plans of slowing down. In his new role, Evans will be helping plant new churches in countries all over the world. He is currently working at developing new churches in northern Uganda and he plans a TLI trip there in November.
For Evans, it was a difficult decision to leave, but it was something he'd been planning for almost since the church opened. He said there's been a letter of resignation in his file for nearly 20 years.
"Initially, I thought we'd be here 10 years. As we got closer to 20, I thought that's the target we should aim at," Evans said in his plan to transition out of the leadership role.
Faith Community Church has seen immense growth in its 20 years under Evans. He said the most difficult part of the transition is stepping back from the relationships in the church, so Maciel can develop his bonds with members of the church.
"It feels like I'm walking my daughter down the aisle," Evans said of the transition. "This place has claimed a big part of my heart. These two decades have been the most fulfilling. This is the place I've felt most at home."
Evans has been part of a group that has been working at getting churches planted in Uganda. The group has been training Ugandans to take leadership roles in churches.
"I've always believed in training nationals to reach their own people. Probably five years ago, we did some training. It became obvious we needed to train leaders who exist there," Evans said.
That's when Evans first connected with TLI, which had curriculum in place for training leaders.
"In the last six months they've planted 14 new churches. They're Ugandan churches with Ugandan leaders," Evans said.