“I love the Church and believe in its power. I especially love our church and believe its best days are ahead. Over the last 30 years, a tremendous foundation has been laid to impact our community. We need to continue to find ways to make more and better disciples while clothing the ill-clothed, feeding the hungry, designing engaging worship environments, providing healing and hope within community, strengthening families, and being a light to the Jackson area and beyond.” — Bryce Gernand

It is with great enthusiasm that your Church Board unanimously nominates Bryce Gernand to you to serve as our next Lead Pastor. The Michigan District Advisory Board also gave their unanimous endorsement, along with our Interim District Superintendent, Dr. Glen Gardner.

Pastor Bryce’s first encounter with Jackson First Church of the Nazarene came when he served as a youth intern during his college years. Upon graduation from Olivet Nazarene University in 2002, Bryce returned to our church to lead Turning Point Teen Center, our after-school youth ministry.

In 2006 Bryce joined our church staff as an associate pastor in youth ministry. Here, Bryce met Mandy Walz, and together they formed a family. They have one daughter—Leah, and four sons—Isaac, Micah, Eli and Titus. Other churches have seen Bryce’s gifts and he has been in demand as a speaker at retreats, camps, school assemblies and other special youth events around the country. In addition to his effectiveness as a preacher and teacher, Bryce is a gifted leader and shepherd.


Dear Friends,

This July marks thirty years that I have had the privilege of serving as your pastor. It has been an amazing journey. When our family moved to Jackson in 1987, we could never have imagined how God would bless our lives with this growing, dynamic and loving church family.

For the past few years I have been praying very specifically about the long-range future of our church. I have tried to discover how the Lord might empower fresh vision for the mission He has given us. I have also been praying about my future in ministry. I believe the time has come for our church to move forward under new leadership and for me to explore new areas of ministry. So after much prayer and discussion, Carol and I are convinced that as we complete our thirtieth year, it is also time for me to conclude my service as your Lead Pastor.

I have discussed this with the Church Board in general ways, but a year ago I asked the Board to take specific steps to plan for a transition to a new leader for our church. After many meetings, consultation with two District Superintendents and much prayer, your Church Board is ready to lead you to the next phase of the journey. Below you will find a letter from your Church Board with information about the immediate steps that you will take together.

There are so many people I would like to thank and so many things for which I would like to thank you. But we’ll have plenty of time for that. Over the next few months I’ll walk with you through the transition.

Pray for your church. Pray for your new pastor. And thank the Lord for the great future He has for this amazing body of believers.

I speak for Carol and myself when I tell you that we love you more than we can express. Thank you for the love, support and prayers we continually receive from you.

Your brother,



Dear Congregation,

Our hearts are filled with a bittersweet sentiment as we approach this new chapter in the life of our church. Pastor Phil has been with us for 30 years, and we love him and his family deeper than they could know. Many have been nourished in spirit, heard his kind words, and experienced his deeds. Many have seen his humility of spirit and the absolute dedication to the Lord that have produced a great shepherd, leader, and pastor who has enriched our lives and the lives of those in our community and world.

As Pastor Phil mentioned, the board has been working on plans for his transition. We have been seeking God’s will, guidance and wisdom through prayer and by seeking the godly council of our district authorities. Nothing has been taken lightly in this endeavor. 

In keeping with the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene, the board has the responsibility to present a nominee to the church for the position of Lead Pastor. This is done only after a careful review of the nominee’s competence, character, and alignment with Nazarene theology and governance as expressed in the manual. In keeping with this requirement, the board will announce a nominee on Sunday, June 11. At that time, you will be provided with information about the nominee, including a resume and philosophy of ministry. A short informational video of the nominee will be shown during both services and will be made available on the church’s web-site.

While the church board has examined this individual, it is up to the members of the church to accept the nominee in order to extend a pastoral call. An opportunity to vote for the nominee will be provided on June 25. Acceptance is accomplished only through a two-thirds favorable vote by ballot of official church members as defined in the church manual.

If the congregation elects the nominee, we will enter into a time of transition with Pastor Phil that will last from three to six months. At the conclusion of the transition, the new pastor will assume the full leadership of the church.

Through the counsel of our District Superintendent, we believe we are best served by seeking God’s guidance through the church vote one candidate at a time. In other words, we will not bring a list of names for you to choose from; rather, we will ask you to decide on this individual. If the congregation does not believe that this is the person who should be our next pastor, the board and District Superintendent will begin a search for other candidates.

To help answer your questions about this process, we will have a congregational meeting on Wednesday, June 14, during our regular service hour. You will have an opportunity to ask questions about the process we have followed to select a nominee. Our District Superintendent, Dr. Glen Gardner, will also be present to help answer your questions. During this meeting, we will also report on the results of our 2016 – 2017 fiscal year as well as provide committee reports. 

As Pastor Phil asked, please pray for your church, for guidance in electing a new pastor, and thank the Lord for the great future He has for this amazing body of believers.

Your sincere servants,

The Church Board