BEAVERTON — For a quarter-century, Pastor Clark Tanner led a church here into huge growth before he moved on to two other churches elsewhere in the nation. A few months ago he and his wife, Glennie, returned to Oregon for what he calls a “semi-retirement,” but one that will keep him very active sharing wisdom gained from his four decades of pastoral work.
“I didn’t want to take my 40 years of experience and just set it up on the shelf someplace,” he explained.
Tanner, 68, has been named executive director for the Northwest region for Pastor Serve, a nationwide non-profit that provides pastors coaching, crisis support and consulting. Founded in 2001, its staff nationally includes seasoned pastors — men and women from various ethnic and theological backgrounds — who provide resources and dedicated support to pastors throughout the U.S.
Tanner will travel throughout the Northwest, California and also potentially western Canada and Alaska, conducting leadership seminars, and coaching and equipping church leaders. One of his focus areas is succession planning for local churches.
“Clark Tanner is a passionate and visionary church leader who has led mega-churches for many years and loves helping redirect churches that have lost their focus and passion,” said Jimmy Dodd, founder and president of the Kansas-based organization. “Because of his heart for pastors, Clark’s mission during his 40 years of ministry has been to engage, equip, encourage and ignite pastors to become the kind of leader God designed them to be.”
Before joining Pastor Serve, Tanner most recently was lead pastor at Country-side Christian Church, Wichita, Kansas, from 2010 until this year. During his tenure the church became known for its community participation and numerical growth. Earlier, he was a pastor at Bayside Church Adventure, a mega-church in Roseville, Calif. From 1983 to 2008, he was senior pastor at Beaverton Christian Church, which multiplied ten-fold — from 250 attenders to 2,500 –—under his leadership.
Tanner is an alumnus of Manhattan (Kansas) Christian College, has a master’s degree from Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan College, in Ten-nessee; and received an honorary doctor of divinity from Hope International University in Fullerton, Calif. He did additional study at Kansas State University and at Western Seminary in Portland. He is also a certified coach and teacher for the John Maxwell Team, which focuses on leadership.
In discussing the challenges pastors face nationally, Tanner was quick to identify one in particular. “The biggest issue they face is loneliness,” he said. “Our mission statement (at PastorServe) is that ‘no pastor should walk alone.’ ’’
He said his work with PastorServe will have three main emphases:
•Working with pastors dealing with difficult situations. Tanner emphasized that in all discussions with pastors, everything will be held in strict confidence.
• Availability as a coach under yearlong contracts that call for an in-person field visit by Tanner as well as regular conversations through Skype connections.
•Availability to assist churches that find themselves “stuck” and need fresh insight regarding mission, vision and core values.
Citing Ephesians 2:10, Tanner said his new assignment is a fulfilling of a God-given personal calling. He said he was compelled to join the PastorServe team because of “the appeal of working with pastors. It seemed like just a natural fit for me to take.”
But it also will be a bit different to lend advice to pastors rather than serve any longer himself in a senior pastorate, he acknowledged.
“I’m enjoying not being a pastor in charge, but a pastor at large,” he quipped.
For more information, visit www.pastorserve.org or contact Tanner at 503-789-2449 or firstname.lastname@example.org