Hello and Goodbye
We’re delighted to announce that Jonathan Prime (Johnny) will become our new Pastoral Ministries Director when Richard Underwood retires from his FIEC ministry at the end of 2017. Phil Topham has been finding out how this transition will take place.
For the past 24 years, Johnny Prime has been pastor of Enfield Evangelical Free Church, an FIEC church in London. At the beginning of 2018, he’ll step away from that role to become our new Pastoral Ministries Director.
It’s a move that is close to Johnny’s heart. For a number of years he’s been helping to care for FIEC ministry workers and now he will oversee the Pastors’ Network, taking the baton from Richard Underwood who will retire at Christmas.
Johnny is excited to be joining the leadership team at FIEC and said:
“I am looking forward to taking on the Pastoral Ministries Director role at FIEC. I have been privileged to work with Richard Underwood in the context of the Pastors’ Network and am grateful with many for all the Lord has enabled him to do. I look forward to building on the foundations he has laid.
I’ve always been convinced that the spiritual health of local churches is directly related to the spiritual health of their pastors. My prayer is that we will increasingly see growing purposeful relationships amongst the pastors of the FIEC that will encourage them to grow and persevere as disciples of the Lord Jesus and work in partnership for the advance of his gospel.”
Before coming to join the FIEC Directors’ Team, Johnny will continue to pastor Enfield Evangelical Free Church. The church will transition with Nathan Howard moving from the Silver Street plant to be the pastor at Enfield.
“There’s been a lovely sense of God’s providence in all this. When I shared with the Enfield elders the approach from the FIEC, none of them were surprised and some said they had wondered if I might be asked to serve in this way at some point.
There has also been a clear sense of the way ahead for the church in Enfield. Together with the elders, the coming months will be about transitions, both for Enfield Evangelical Free Church, as Nathan Howard steps into my shoes, and for Silver Street Community Church, as Luke Crowter (my current assistant) steps into Nathan’s shoes.”
Richard to Retire
But of course, this is really a two-part announcement. While it is a great joy to announce Johnny as our next Pastoral Ministries Director, we’ll be saying goodbye to Richard Underwood as he retires at the end of the year.
Richard has served FIEC for the last 13 years and has shaped the pastoral care of church leaders, offering help and support to serving pastors in our churches. He was General Secretary from 2004 to 2010 before he took on his current role.
“Johnny’s arrival is wonderful news for FIEC in general and the Pastors’ Network in particular. He shares my heart for supporting pastors and their wives and families and has been an invaluable support to me in my role over recent years.
He will enjoy the confidence of our family of churches and his appointment as Pastoral Ministries Director represents a major step forward. Under God, I’m confident that the growing sense of momentum among our pastors will continue to build as he comes to join the team at FIEC.
For me, retirement will bring to an end 13 wonderful years serving the churches of the Fellowship. I’ve received so much kindness and goodwill over that time and have had an absolute ball. It has been thrilling to see the way the ministry has blossomed and how God has used FIEC to both encourage churches and pastors and further the gospel in our nation.
I’m grateful to God that the leadership of FIEC is in such good hands and it’s my prayer that this growing usefulness will continue for all the years to come.”
Richard’s retirement is the latest in a number of changes for FIEC this year. We’ve welcomed a new Training Director in Adrian Reynolds and our first Church Leadership Consultant in Ray Evans. Commenting on this latest news, National Director John Stevens added:
“I’m delighted that Johnny is going to come and join FIEC as Pastoral Ministries Director. Richard’s shoes are huge ones to fill – he has done an astonishing job of growing the Pastors’ Association and transitioning it into the Pastors’ Network as well as caring for pastors and churches all around the country.
Many churches will not know the burden Richard has borne, the tremendously difficult situations he has had to step into and the numbers of pastors and their wives who have been sustained and kept in ministry because of the loving care that Richard has shown to them.
So it seemed impossible when Richard said he was retiring to think of anyone who would take that work on but the Lord has raised up Johnny to do that. Anyone who has seen the Pastors’ Network video will have seen something of Johnny’s heart in caring for pastors. He has cared for pastors in Enfield and raised up a generation of younger pastors and helped them to take steps from junior leadership to senior leadership in church.
You couldn’t ask for somebody who has got more experience and a more passionate heart for the work than Johnny.”
Watch the video below to hear Johnny and Richard talk about our support for pastors.