16 October 2023 |
Ron Halvorsen Jr., formerly the senior pastor at North Cascade Adventist Church in Burlington, Washington, has been chosen as the next head of the Collegedale Church in Tennessee, according to the Southern Accent. The announcement was made by Gary Rustad, president of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, during the church’s worship service on October 7. Halvorsen, accompanied by his wife and partner in ministry, Buffy, will commence his duties on November 1.
Rustad praised Halvorsen’s expertise, stating, “Ron is an experienced pastor and administrator. He brings with him a passion for prayer, and he has a gift in leading members closer to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Ron has pastored university churches before, and he knows and loves this setting.” The Southern Accent includes mention of Halvorsen’s experience as president of the Ohio Conference before moving to Washington. He also has pastored College View Church at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska; Sligo SDA Church at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland; and Keene SDA Church at Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas.
Halvorsen is known for an emphasis on prayer and says he comes from a family where prayer has been a focus. He has been part of a group of prayer coordinators from across the division since 2020. His academic accolades include studies at Union College and Andrews Theological Seminary in the 1980s and a Doctor in Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2016.
This leadership announcement follows a phase of change for the Collegedale church after the exit of David Ferguson, the prior lead pastor. A concerning trend of pastors leaving Collegedale within the last year has left the church in need of stability, according to a previous article from the Southern Accent.
David Ferguson, previously the lead pastor, has assumed the role of campus pastor at Crosswalk, Chattanooga, with his last service held on May 13. Kris Eckenroth, who served as the associate senior pastor for Connect, concluded his broader duties on May 3, but remained the Connect worship pastor until that date. Eckenroth has since taken the helm as the president/executive director for Retro Ministries.
Further, Jim Moon confirmed that he would end his tenure as worship pastor on September 30, while Tim Cross disclosed that he would wrap up his service as pastor of group life on October 21. Cross’s move came as a decision by the conference administration, emphasizing the importance of pastoral longevity. Subsequently, he will pastor at the Harrison and Cedar Ridge Seventh-day Adventist churches.
Moon, discussing his departure, highlighted his trust in God during this shift. Despite not delving into the decision-making specifics at the conference level, he reaffirmed his faith in God’s journey for him.
The church intends to involve Halvorsen in the process of recruiting for the remaining vacant pastoral roles.