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Rev. Nick Price

Most pastoral transitions do not go well… even when there's a plan. As I approached stepping into the lead role at our congregation, we knew that doing the transition right has to be a top priority. My successor was stepping down after 20 years and we wanted to make sure he was honored, I was supported, and our church remained focused on the mission throughout the process. That is why our church is eternally grateful to Mark for his ministry. As we approached a critical leadership transition, Mark brought his own experience and pastoral expertise in to help us think through the process. He helped us to consider how to help our staff, board, and congregation not only embrace the transition, but thrive through the midst of it. He worked with my successor and I to think through how we could lead together, communicate well, encourage and lead our staff, and bring our congregation along. It was a great process and we would highly encourage any church thinking about a pastoral succession plan to reach out to Mark for his help.

Senior Pastor at Trinity Church - Lisle, IL (incoming pastor)

Leadership transitions in churches, especially of the lead pastor, are fraught with all kinds of perils. If you have been around churches for any length of time you have either seen or heard the horror stories. And the damage caused can be lasting and, most importantly, harmful to our witness and mission. 


Mark Zehnder has been around churches his whole life, has lead multiple churches well, and has helped his own congregation hand off leadership in a healthy and mission-focused way. He was hugely helpful in the planning and implementation of the leadership transition in our own church family. If you are facing a leadership transition, you need to hear from Mark and let God help shape your process through him!

Retiring Pastor at Trinity Church - Lisle, IL (outgoing pastor)


Rev. Mark Schulz

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Rev. Kent R. Hunter
Founder, Church Doctor Ministries

I’m honored and pleased to endorse Mark Zehnder’s Always Forward Ministries. Mark and I have trained thousands of pastors on several continents. His ministry record as a pastor and leader is amazing! Mark has developed a ministry that is greatly needed: Guidance for pastoral leadership transitions. Mark is a skilled diagnostician, coupled with his pastoral heart, love for Jesus, and relational strengths. His wisdom, experience, and deep love for God and the Body of Christ is paralleled to his care for pastors, church staff, and Christians everywhere who want God’s best for their congregations.


Many pastoral transitions end up as a train wreck. Denominational leaders do their best to pair pastors to churches, but do not have the time to examine the uniqueness of each local Body of Christ, your local church. Pastoral leadership is always one of the most important decisions a church can make. Mark knows the biblical importance of spiritual Gifts and leadership development. His help for your church will be so valuable!


Mark Zehnder is an accomplished preacher and teacher. He is a down-to-Earth servant whose love for the church is obvious. Beyond his skills, Mark, above all, is a genuine person whose love and encouragement for others is obvious. For all these reasons, and many more, I unconditionally recommend Mark Zehnder to help your church move effectively forward through pastoral and other church staff transitions.

I am retiring in just six months, but we wanted to make sure the transition was in place for a new pastor here at our church. Mark came to our church 6 months ago and coached both myself and our leaders how to make the transition smooth. We are following his advice and it is working!  His advice was well worth its weight in gold!

Senior Pastor at Peace Lutheran - Arvada, CO (outgoing pastor)


Rev. David Ahlman


Rev. Jonathan Dinger

We were very blessed to have Pastor Zehnder come into our setting to aid us in the preliminary stages of considering a pastoral transition.  Too often are "interim" or "vacancy" pastors eager, faithful, and willing to help but simply have not had the experience of leading a large and complex congregation with large staff, schools ministries, and facilities.  Mark not only brought expertise and experience to our complex setting from his own ministry history, but his heart for prayer, for compassion, but fundamentally for the mission of the church was what built an immediate connection of trust and respect, which now is truly affection and gratitude.  We received abundant and meaningful recommendations from his time with us, and are implementing many of them at this time.  What a blessed way to continue serving the Church after his own transition from parish ministry!

Senior Pastor at Grace Lutheran - Pocatello, ID (outgoing pastor)

Succeeding well in senior church leadership is one of the greatest legacies a transitioning pastor can give to a congregation, Christ's Beloved Bride but, unfortunately, too few do this well. Pastor Mark Zehnder is one of the rare exceptions. His example, friendship, wisdom and humility as he has transitioned his senior role at the known and respected King of Kings Church in Omaha Nebraska has inspired and encouraged me as I and 2 years in to a 3 year transition which is progressing well for the Body, the Eldership and the staff. Generous with sharing best practices coupled with willing transparency Mark has been a source of insight, encouragement and confirmation in our journey as a church. I look very much forward to ongoing interaction with him as I watch the example of a servant leader and a church honoring our King. When should a pastor begin thinking about succession? Their first day on the job. I pray if you're reading this that you will avail yourself and your church to the rich resource Mark can be in your journey.

Lead Pastor at Lifegate Church - Omaha, NE (outgoing pastor)


Rev. Les Beauchamp

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Julie Eesley

I have been privileged to work closely with Mark for the past four years as the Executive Director at King of Kings Church and have had a front seat to his senior leadership baton pass. At this critical juncture in our church’s history, Mark led with discernment, humility, grace, and a positivity that brought both our staff and congregation closer together. His servant leadership created space for our new lead pastor to start strong and for the mission of our church to continue without missing a beat.

Mark’s heart for Jesus and His church is evident in all that he does and it is a delight for me to say that the guidance he shares with others has been lived out with great effectiveness here at King of Kings. I’m so pleased to endorse his Always Forward ministry and pray that the experience and talents he brings to the table will enrich your church as it moves into its next chapter.

Executive Director at King of Kings - Omaha, NE (staff)

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