After 34 years of preaching, Bishop Neil C. Ellis, 61, is stepping down from the office of senior pastor at Mount Tabor Church.
Ellis’ retirement is scheduled for December 2022.
While he is stepping down from the office, he won’t be retiring from ministry per se.
“I am still sought after for conferences and special church events. I am stepping down from the top spot of the church, but I am not retiring from active duty. A lot of this would have to do and depend upon what the new pastor would require of me once in place – how much of me he would need or want. I want to make myself available to him.”
Following a years-long search, the officers and members of Mount Tabor Church unanimously ratified Pastor Dario Carey as the incoming senior pastor during a special called meeting.
It was during his 2012 annual November sabbatical that Ellis said the Lord told him to give the church one more decade. He returned home and made the announcement that December of his impending retirement to the church.
“It was a very intentional and slow but careful and prayerful process,” said Ellis. “We’re talking about putting in place the person who will one day become only the second pastor in 35 years at Mount Tabor, and most persons in Mount Tabor have only known one pastor their whole life. And [it was going to be] a person assuming responsibility for one of the largest congregations in the country.”
The “road” to Ellis’ retirement over the years involved a series of meetings with church leaders and members, the launch of a search among prospective pastoral candidates, vigorous interviewing process and eventually deciding on a successor.
“The last 12 months was very intense,” said Ellis. “We opened up the process formally for the interested to apply and boiled it down to two persons. Then they had to be interviewed by three people individually, two colleagues out of country, and one here. One interviewed on theology and ministry; another on integrity, character and vision; and the person here, a prominent business person on budgeting, administration and people skills. After that, there was consultation between the three and myself and we ended up with a person we would recommend to the church.”
Carey was recommended on September 6. Mount Tabor’s membership had 21 days to launch any concerns, complaints or uncertainties about the recommended person, and agreed that they would return to the church on October 4 for ratification. Ellis said they got no complaints or concerns.
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