The Moody Church congregation hired their next Senior Pastor, Philip Miller, formerly of Westwood Baptist Church in Olympia, Washington, via a Zoom meeting on March 29, capping a five-year search process.
Miller, the 17th Senior Pastor of the oldest historic megachurch still in operation in the U.S., succeeds former Senior Pastor Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer — widely known for his nationally syndicated radio program, Running to Win — who served for over 36 years.
Lutzer transitioned to Pastor Emeritus in 2015.
“When we first met, I sensed that Philip was the man of God we had been waiting for,” said Lutzer in a press release. “He has my complete support and blessing, and I look forward to doing all that I can to make his ministry successful.”
Regarding his new role, Miller said, “I look forward to getting to know our new Moody Church family and the Christian community in Chicago more in the coming months.”
“I come to listen, learn, love, and then lead,” added Miller, who will begin preaching a series on July 5 titled “Mercies in the Shadows,” focusing on the practice of lament in the book of Ruth and addressing the season of unrest gripping in the nation.
Miller steps in during an unusual time when all ministry at the church has moved online due to the pandemic.
Notably, as Moody Church approached the conclusion of its five-year search for their next Senior Pastor this past March, the pandemic posed a significant obstacle for the congregation: the church constitution required that members vote on the pastoral candidate, but the stay-at-home order precluded large gatherings.
Church leadership arrived at a unique solution: the culmination of the search process would occur via a Zoom meeting where members could ask questions live and cast their votes electronically using Survey Monkey. Thanks to this technology, nearly a thousand congregants logged into the meeting to vote for and approve Miller as their new Senior Pastor.
Zoom continues to be used at all levels of church ministry today. Moreover, as many churches struggle to adapt their services to an online environment, The Moody Church is actively expanding its reach and connecting with new audiences both young and old. Weekly online streaming of its Sunday services has grown significantly since the stay-at-home orders went into effect, drawing new worshippers from Chicagoland and around the world. Worshippers can watch live on the church website and on their YouTube channel.
Speaking to this new era of church history, Berv Peterson, the Chairman of the Elders, said: “We look forward to Pastor Philip’s leadership. We believe the best days are yet to come to The Moody Church.”