Our Next Lead Pastor

Fellowship Dallas is excited to announce a transition in leadership. Through much prayer, fasting, research, and consideration, our Elder Board has named Kurt Pressler the next Lead Pastor of Fellowship Dallas. Check out this video for the full announcement from Elder Board Chairman Joe Harn and Lead Pastor Gary Brandenburg.

Transition Timeline



In 1998, I began my career in the business world and moved to Dallas, TX. That was the year I met a pretty Protestant girl named Martha, who invited me to her church called Fellowship Dallas. She, and that church, would change my life forever. First of all, I married her, and we have three awesome sons together. Second, it was Fellowship that helped me fully grasp the grace of God, and my place and purpose in the Kingdom. Over the past 18 years, I have served at Fellowship as a member, elder, and staff leader. I’m humbled and honored to step into God’s call on my life to be the next Lead Pastor at Fellowship Dallas.

Watch Sermons by Kurt Pressler



What does the Co-Lead Pastor arrangement look like?

For a one-year period beginning on Sunday, September 17, 2017, Gary and Kurt will serve together as Co-Lead Pastors.

  • They will share the preaching responsibility 50/50 on average, with Gary preaching more in the beginning to give Kurt time to establish himself in other aspects of the Lead Pastor role, such as oversight and leadership of the staff.
  • Gary will coach and mentor Kurt in his preaching and in all other aspects of the Lead Pastor role.
  • As Gary hands off duties to Kurt, thereby creating margin in his schedule, he will devote more and more of his time to those things that he is most passionate about and for which God has gifted him most, such as training and mentoring the next generation of church leaders, helping people identify and live out their God-given purpose in Christ every day, and preaching and teaching.
  • The elder board will approve and monitor the allocation between Kurt and Gary of the various responsibilities and duties of the Lead Pastor position to ensure clarity, effectiveness and harmony.

How did the elders choose Kurt?

After Gary first initiated a conversation with the elders about his transition and succession, the board entered a season of learning about succession that included:

  • Talking to other churches that had recently gone through succession
  • Attending a succession workshop led by Leadership Network
  • Consulting with professional succession and transition consultants
  • Reading books and articles on the subject
  • Praying, fasting and looking at what instruction/guidance scripture offers on the subject

During this period, the board also established a succession task force made up of 4 elders, a volunteer leader in our church with extensive expertise in senior leadership transitions and organizational change, and our outside consultants. This task force engaged in even deeper learning about succession and also worked on creating the list of both external and internal candidates to consider.


Our outside succession consultants advised the board to give preference to internal candidates over external candidates unless, as part of the transition, the board wanted to change the culture and/or the mission and vision of the church, in which case an outside candidate would be necessary to confront the status quo and make needed changes. The board did not see a need for such changes. We are excited and confident about Fellowship’s mission of calling each other to live out our God-given purpose in Christ every day, and the vision of becoming a training and launching ground for more than 10,000 men and women who will discover and live out their unique, God-given, Kingdom purpose in Christ by 2026. The elders are also pleased with the current culture that is being formed at Fellowship.


Having this clarity and comfort level about who we are, what we’re doing and where we’re heading challenged the board to look more holistically at the succession question and not simply find an experienced Sunday morning preacher. They knew we would also need someone who was passionate about and committed to the new mission and vision to which God is calling us and who would capably lead the staff, leaders and the entire congregation in pursuit of them. All of these factors pointed the board toward an internal candidate who was already familiar with and actually helped create the new mission, vision and culture, in addition to possessing the other qualifications they were looking for. The best such candidate was Kurt Pressler.


Once the elders determined that Kurt was the best internal candidate to move forward with in the succession process, they required him to spend 9 months being coached and mentored by an outside professional, experienced executive coach/mentor. This was not only fruitful for Kurt, but it also provided the elders with another source to help them evaluate Kurt and his readiness to take on the Lead Pastor position. The coach/mentor is very supportive of the elders’ choice of Kurt.


The board also had Kurt vetted by a well-known outside search/placement firm. Here are supporting results from that firm’s assessment of Kurt:

  • Kurt knows the church culture intimately.
  • He is known and trusted by other staff.
  • Kurt was highly involved in the 2015/2016 re-envisioning process, especially in assessing how the ministries of the church align with the new vision and direction.
  • He has received feedback from volunteers and subordinates that he is a strong leader whose ministries are healthy and producing fruit.
  • Kurt will not move too quickly and upset the balance or blow things up, but he will move.
  • Kurt has a genuine burden for staff, which will it easier for them to accept his leadership and direction because they know his motives.
  • He understands the need of Millennials to feel connected to an authentic, transparent leader.
  • Kurt has a very supportive wife who is a great partner with him in ministry.
  • Kurt has successfully made changes to, grown and increased effectiveness of various ministries at Fellowship.
  • His experience outside the church makes him more relatable to young people than a pastor who has only worked inside the church.
  • Kurt will recognize the need for and be open to making staff changes if needed to improve organizational health.
  • He has already led a process of assessing Fellowship’s existing ministries and their alignment with the vision for the church moving forward and will be able to move on to the next step of making necessary changes as soon as the church is ready.

Will Gary continue to preach?

Yes!  Gary and Kurt will be team teaching with Gary preaching at least half the time. This will allow Kurt time to gain experience and increase his preaching effectiveness with input from Gary and establish himself in other aspects of the Lead Pastor role, such as oversight and leadership of staff.

Where can I get other questions answered?

Please email your questions to Questions@FellowshipDallas.org and we will get back to you with answers as quickly as we can.  Feel free to contact any of our elders with your questions as well.

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