TOPEKA (KSNT) – Topeka Bible Church is welcoming a new lead pastor for the first time in more than 40 years. Current Lead Pastor Jim Congdon will be giving his final sermon as lead pastor on Sunday.
Congdon joined TBC in 1975 as an intern in student ministry. He was hired as student ministry pastor in 1976 and promoted to lead pastor the next year at the age of 26.
Now at the age of 70, Congdon is getting ready to hand the reigns to Student Ministry Pastor Connor Kraus.
“I’ve been sitting outside, early in the morning with my wife with coffee just thinking back over how God has been really great over the last four years and how wonderful it is that all these years of prayer,” Congdon said. “Connor is the fulfillment of that answered prayer.”
Congdon said he approached church leadership ten years ago and started discussing the idea of him stepping down when he turned 70. He said he is now ironing out what his new role will be, hopefully focusing on teaching and missions.
Kraus is a Topeka native who grew up in the church. He said he is excited to have Congdon by his side as he starts this next chapter.
“Jim and I have a really good relationship. We’ve known each other a long time,” Kraus said. “I think it will be a pretty gradual transition and one where we can continue to work together. It’s not so much about trying to fill his shoes as we each get to use our different strengths to help out the church.”
Congdon and Kraus are focusing on the transition, which is broken into three parts: then, now, and next.
- Then – Sunday, September 12 at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. – Congdon’s final sermon’s as lead pastor. A video will feature stories from long-time church staff. A display in the lobby will include 14 “Lost Artifacts of TBC” – objects and photos that commemorate the past four decades under Congdon’s leadership.
- Now – Saturday, September 18 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Both Congdon and Kraus will begin will host an outdoor service on the church grounds at 11th and College. Afterwards, guests can enjoy chili and corn dogs in the “root beer garden” and fall festival type activities like a straw climbing castle, axe throwing, dunk-a-pastor, inflatables, yard games, and live music.
- Next – Sunday, September 26 at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. – Kraus will give his first sermons as lead pastor at Topeka Bible Church.