This month, Wayne Kent will retire from the position of Lead Pastor. Brian Talty will assume the role of Lead Pastor at First Christian Church in July 2022. The congregation of First Christian Church was founded in Decatur in 1834 and has had 44 lead pastors during that time. Kent has served the congregation for more than 28 years, While he will retire from full-time pastoral ministry June 30, 2022, he will remain both in the community and the church.
At the time of Pastor Kent’s arrival, he was the only full-time employee. Now there are more than 40 full-time and part-time employees. The church moved from a smaller building located in downtown Decatur to a new facility at 3350 North MacArthur Road in 1996. Attendance has grown from less than 200 each Sunday to its present size that features three identical weekend worship services offered both in person and online and in multiple venues.
The congregation’s community impact is known through endeavors like Club 305, an after-school program for students from Parsons Elementary School, and JumpStart, a free annual back-to-school medical clinic for all school children in the community.
First Christian Church also manages the chaplaincy ministries of Decatur Memorial Hospital, Crossing Healthcare, and the Cancer Care Clinic, providing a non-denominational approach to chaplaincy services for those organizations. First Christian Church also is engaged in global missions in Kenya, Cuba, Central Asia, and Poland/ Ukraine.
Pastor Kent was also the host of Direct Line, a radio ministry of First Christian Church heard weekly on WSOY News/Talk 1340am for 17 years with the final airing in January 2022.
Pastor Brian Talty is no stranger to First Christian Church. He has served in a variety of pastoral roles during his 18-year tenure since arriving on staff in 2004. His new role as Lead Pastor starting in July 2022 was announced to the congregation in January 2021 to allow for an 18-month leadership transition period.
The congregation has embraced this announcement with enthusiasm and excitement for the future. Pastor Kent says of Pastor Talty: “The church leaders and I had extensive conversations with Brian over a long period of time. “We fully believe he will lead our congregation to new ministry moments, helping our church write a new chapter in our story. The congregation graciously took on many of my ministry ideas, and I expect that will occur with Brian’s capable leadership in the years ahead.”
Pastor Talty and his wife, Jessica, have four children ages 10-16. Pastor Brian Talty will be installed as Lead Pastor during weekend worship services June 18, 19 on Saturday at 5pm and Sunday 9am & 10:30am. Pastor Wayne Kent’s 28 years of ministry as Lead Pastor of First Christian Church will be celebrated during weekend worship services on June 25, 26, on Saturday 5pm and Sunday 9am & 10:30am.