My name is Linda Hall Augur and I serve as the chair of the Personnel Committee for Lake Avenue Church. I am writing to share some important information with you and I hope you will take a minute to read this letter.

On October 21, 2022, Senior Pastor Mathew P. John sent us all a letter regarding staffing changes and his decision to form a Pastoral Candidate Selection Committee for the role of the Associate Pastor of Congregational Life. That selection committee is in the process of formation and we hope to have it officially empaneled by mid-November. I am addressing the direct impact on two of our beloved pastors, Chuck Hunt and Jeanine Smith. Before I move on with specifics, let’s review how we got here.

Over the last several years of declining attendance and giving, we’ve continued to see God’s provision through your faithful giving and of governmental programs during COVID. However, through the realities of doing ministry in a post-COVID world, difficult decisions had to be made to continue stewarding our finances. The church leadership began a budget alignment process six months ago. As soon as our Senior Pastor was installed, Pastor Mathew became involved in this process. The realities of our fixed expenses, post-COVID attendance, and giving brought us to a new organizational alignment that necessitated staffing changes. It was discerned that we would need to combine the two Associate Pastoral positions of Family and Adult Ministries into one Associate Pastor over a new division titled Congregational Care. Pastors Chuck & Jeanine have not resigned – their positions have been eliminated and they will receive a separation care package that includes a time of rest and renewal as they look to their next season of ministry.

Chuck Hunt and Jeanine Smith

Pastors Chuck Hunt & Jeanine Smith’s last day to worship together with the LAC Family will be next Sunday, November 13. They have each asked for some time to thank and pray for our church family in that worship service. We will also celebrate and thank them for their years of dedicated and impactful service to our staff, our youth, families, adults, and our community.  PLEASE join us in worship together and stay afterward for time with Chuck and Jeanine at 11 am in HH 400 (Skyroom). We will have some refreshments and hear how Chuck and Jeanine have blessed you and shared the Love of Christ to our community. Your most precious gift to them will be your presence, however, cards and e-mails are most welcome.

After November 13, both Chuck and Jeanine will be stepping away from their day-to-day duties and begin a period of renewal and refreshment. LAC leaders in the respective ministry areas will let you know who you can go to in their absence. Processes are ongoing to fill areas that are most needed.  Some will be interim positions as we complete searches for key staff roles. We will inform you as the details become known.

I also want to assure you that The Personnel Committee (Pastor Mathew, Dan Crichton, Stephen Welch, Linda Hall, Tiffany Reynoso & Rita Barrett) are walking very closely alongside both Chuck and Jeanine during this transition process. We know this is a challenging time for them and their families. We have been able to receive and honor their specific requests including their timelines on this transition. They are also very committed to handing off ministry responsibilities in the best possible order before they step away.

Please join your Ministry Council in praying for Chuck, Jeanine, their families, those with and to whom they have been ministering, as well as for our church staff. May God’s guidance and protection be over all those impacted in the coming months.


Linda Hall Augur,
Personnel Committee Chair