Another (Good) One Bites The Dust? (more from my “in” box)

December 8, 2008 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

I received an email this morning that contained the following, which is posted with the author’s permission:

At the SGM church in San Diego tonight we received a surprise: we are getting a new senior pastor. Mark Lauterbach, the current senior pastor will remain on staff at the church as an associate pastor, while our current associate pastor Eric Turbedsky will take the position as the new senior pastor. Mark Lauterbach is in his fifties and has only been with SGM about 5 years. Unlike many SGM pastors, he has been to seminary and has decades of experience pastoring in churches outside SGM. As far as I know, the new much younger senior pastor Eric Turbedsky has only been to SGM pastors college and has only been associate pastor at our SGM church.


This was announced at a members meeting tonight separate from the usual Sunday meeting. Many members walked into the building and noticed that SGM apostolic team member Steve Shank was there. He was involved in the changes at the Aurora, Colorado SGM Church. Seeing Shank was a total surprise to most of us because Shank lives in Phoenix and had not been in the morning meeting. We all knew something unusual was happening.


Lauterbach started by announcing the leadership change and then informing us that the church budget had a $60K deficit. There will be a “Mission Fund” offering taken to help offset this. Shank then took the microphone and joked that people were saying, “Uh-oh, Steve Shank is here.” Shank then said that he was actually bringing “good tidings”. He announced that an “evaluation process” had taken place over the last year and a half, where he flew into San Diego for weekday meetings that “99% of you were not aware of”. Shank said that the local pastors had the primary role in this evaluation, and his role was secondary. He said that this evaluation process revealed that Lauterbach had a more appropriate “gifting” for the associate pastor role while Turbedsky had a “gifting” suited for senior pastor. Shank commended Lauterbach on his humility and announced that Lauterbach would be training Turbedsky in preaching. Shank stated that Charles Spurgeon was a hero to him, but unfortunately Spurgeon’s church only lasted one generation. Shank said that actions like this “transition” at our church would help SGM last beyond the original generation.


After Turbedsky and another associate pastor spoke, Lauterbach said there would be no public questions taken after the meeting, but that members could bring their questions to pastors privately. He said that another meeting may be scheduled next month for more public questions. Since all this took place in a members meeting, if a recording exists I suspect it will not be posted on the church web site.


I can’t help but think this sounds like the Keith Jacob scenario all over again.  What is going on within the Sovereign Grace organization?  Does anyone else think it’s bizarre that such major moves are being sprung on churches like this?  I don’t care how lowly and beneath them the SGM “apostles” believe the average church member to be – it’s just beyond odd that a congregation can be so completely kept in the dark and so totally unaware that their senior pastor’s “gifting” is being called into question and his job is on the line.

© 2008, Kris. All rights reserved.