GUMC Pastoral Transition Information

The pastoral transition at GUMC began August 28th, 2022 with the announcement of Pastor John's retirement after 25 years in pastoral leadership at GUMC.  Pastor Benson is scheduled to be appointed to the role of lead pastor by the Virginia United Methodist Conference.  Over the next several months (until July 2023), this pastoral transition will be taking place.

During this season of pastoral transition at GUMC, our goal is to have a smooth and gradual transition process. We also want to communicate these changes as best as possible to help keep everyone informed and aware of the process. 

Below is a basic transition calendar created by our pastors, board, and pastoral transition consultant. This calendar has been developed with the goal of allowing Pastor John to slowly move into retirement, while Pastor Benson and the church simultaneously maintain and build on the momentum of Pastor John’s 25 years of ministry and leadership. 

No matter how good the past has been the future will be even better.

Announcement Video


Q - Is this process how things are normally planned? 

A - A planned succession is a new way of doing things for our conference. We are so thankful for the trust that has been placed in us here at Gainesville United Methodist.

Q - Why was Benson chosen over the traditional way of appointments? 

A - John, our Board and the Bishop saw Bensons gifts and believed he was the best choice to lead Gainesville United Methodist Church.

Q - Why is John retiring? Where is John going?

A - John is retiring from the pastoral ministry at Gainesville church because he believes this is God's timing. John will be leaving the area and moving to be near his family and grandchildren. 

Q - Will we be getting a new Associate Pastor? 

A - Yes, we are planning on getting a new associate.

Q - Will there be any initial changes to the operations, staff or theology? 

A - We anticipate this to be a smooth transition since we have time to plan. A full transition calendar is listed below.

Q - What does this mean for our worship style at GUMC ? 

A - We will continue to have both strong traditional and modern worship services. 

Full Pastoral Transition Calendar


The Leadership Board and staff will implement a new congregational care plan.  This is designed to provide the pastors a more efficient way of providing congregational care, as well as utilizing ministries, leaders, and volunteers to participate in this process.  Our goal is to provide our congregation with the best care possible.  Pastor John and Pastor Benson will be available to meet with the congregation, answer any questions they may have, as well as celebrating the good memories while dreaming about the amazing future ahead.


Pastor John will start to pull back from the daily operations of the church.  This will include attending every other weekly staff meeting.  Additionally, Pastor John will begin to transition the direction of our church leadership board to Pastor Benson.  However, John will still attend Leadership Board Meetings.


Pastor John will transition staff oversight, including staff meetings and evaluations, to Pastor Benson.  However, he will continue to provide guidance and insight as needed.  John and Benson will begin to share responsibility for major church initiatives, such as stewardship focuses, visioning, and long-term direction and planning.  Pastor and John and Benson will begin to share preaching responsibilities. Benson will move from preaching once a month to twice a month at all services.


Merry Christmas! John will celebrate his last Christmas Eve and Christmas with us here at GUMC. We hope to make it an incredible month! Preaching responsibilities will continue to be shared with John preaching his final Christmas Eve message for our congregation at all Christmas Eve Services.  Our pastors and leadership board in conjunction with our district superintendent, the cabinet, and Bishop will begin the process of finding a new associate pastor. This new pastor will most likely not be announced until April or May 2023 and would not come on staff until July of 2023.


Leadership of the Board will be fully transitioned to Benson, with Pastor John attending meetings only on a case-by-case basis.  Pastor John and Daleen will be beginning to make personal plans for their next steps.  Pastor John will transition out of his office space at the church as Pastor Benson begins to use that as his designated workspace. 


John transitions the collaborative work of major church initiatives to Benson. John will still be available and present to provide guidance and wisdom on these issue over the coming months.  John transitions primary preaching responsibilities to Benson and will move to preaching once a month. This will begin a special series of John’s last 5 sermons at our church. They will not fall into our current sermon series to give John freedom to share 5 special messages of his choosing with our church.

March - May

During the months of March-May, Pastor Benson will assume his new role as lead pastor while John is still here to provide insight and guidance as needed. John will continue to preach once a month and attend meeting when needed. This time has also been crafted to give John the time in his schedule to fit in as much time with our congregation as possible before he moves. John will be having final lunches or dinner with people and getting in as many last rounds of golf and tennis with our church as possible. We want John to enjoy these last months while having every opportunity to make continued investments in relationships at GUMC.


June will be a month to celebrate the amazing 26 years in ministry for Pastor John at GUMC. Each Sunday will be a special event and we will highlight an area of John’s ministry and pastorate here. We will be hearing from staff and members of our congregation about the amazing ways God has worked through John.

  June 26th, mark your calendars!  This will be John’s final Sunday at GUMC. John will be preaching his last message and we will end the day with a church wide celebration!