Cherry Hills Community Church Pastor Jim Dixon preaches at Easter Sunday services at Fiddler’s Green, March 31. Courtesy photo
Church begins search for new senior pastor
By Tom Barry
Cherry Hills Community Church, one of Colorado’s largest congregations, recently learned that long-term Pastor Jim Dixon intends to retire within the next year after another senior pastor is found.
This church has grown over the years with more than 5,000 members to what is commonly referred to now as a mega church. Their congregation comes from near and far to attend services, ministries, classes and other activities at their immense Highlands Ranch facility and campus.
The church had some very humble beginnings more than 31 years ago with a much smaller congregation.
CHCC began in March 1982 at a facility in Littleton on Orchard Road and Broadway. In 1985, the church purchased a former school and built a sanctuary on the southwest corner of Colorado Boulevard and Hampden Avenue in Cherry Hills Village. The Highline Church now occupies their former campus.
This popular Cherry Hills church was once again experiencing growing pains. The church, in anticipation of a move, had purchased numerous acres of land and built an expansive campus in Highlands Ranch. They moved into their new facility in 1995.
Today, the school has about 1,000 children attending classes from preschool through middle school.
Dixon to retire within a year
Dixon began his pastoral ministry 40 years ago and has served as CHCC’s senior pastor for 31 years. Last month, Dixon announced to his congregation on a Sunday during all three services that he intends to retire within the next year.
“I believe it’s time for me to step aside and to prayerfully encourage the start of a new chapter in the leadership of this congregation,” said Dixon in a letter provided on the church’s website – www.chcc.org. “So there are changes ahead for all of us in the next six months to a year.
“This decision is ﬁlled with both love and loss for me. I love this church. Barb [his wife] and I both love this church. And we feel a sense of loss as we enter this season of change. But I’m ready to retire from the role of Senior Pastor. Honestly, I’m really tired. The responsibility of leading a ministry like Cherry Hills is overwhelming at this stage of my life. I believe God will give me the strength I need for the transition ahead — but at the same time, I believe God has released me from continuing in this role.”
Focus on new senior pastor
Kelly Jelniker, a spokeswoman
for the church, emphasized to The Villager that they would focus on a new pastor soon. Dixon declined an interview through his spokeswoman who shared that he was busy and then would be going on a two-week vacation.
“We will be in touch as soon as we have more to say about the hiring of a new senior pastor,” said Jelniker, also a member of the church.
Elders prepared for transition
“Our church leadership has prepared for this season of transition,” said Dixon in his letter. “In 2010, a group of Elders was appointed to develop the 2020 Project— an effort that would envision the ministry opportunity for Cherry Hills in the decade ahead. As part of this project, they developed a leadership transition plan in anticipation of my retirement.”
CHCH has hired “the Vanderbloemen Search Group, a national executive search ﬁrm that specializes in church stafﬁng,” according to the prepared statement. The church has assured members they will provide updates “along the way.”
The Villager will keep readers informed of upcoming announcements relating to the search for a new senior pastor for the community church, along with Dixon’s path.
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