Our Path Forward

WCPres is on the journey of transition as we seek God’s direction for the next right steps in fulfilling the Great Commission. The purpose of this web page is to share information and resources to keep you well informed.

Below you will find more information:

Our Path Forward
Mission Study

Completed October 2017

Our goal and passion as identified in Our Path Forward report and presentation is the Great Commission: to be a strong community that is reaching the unchurched with the gospel and seeing God transform our lives, our neighbors, and our world.

This is the same objective we have had as a church since our founding over 140 years ago.

The primary question is: “How can Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church obtain the leadership and energy in the next era to achieve the greatest Kingdom impact in the most efficient and effective way?”

Finding a Transitional Pastor

Completed December 2017

The Transition Team appointed by the Session had the task of seeking a staff leader who will provide leadership and support when Morgan leaves. Thanks to their work, we welcome Benjamin Lins as our Transitional Pastor beginning January 8, 2017.

Benjamin most recently served as the pastoral Head of Staff at Great Island Presbyterian Church in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. Prior to his time at Great Island, Benjamin served as the Pastor of Outreach and Assimilation at First Presbyterian Church Norfolk in Virginia.  He obtained his Masters of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, and received his Bachelors of Science from Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Benjamin describes himself as “an evangelist and disciple maker” who loves to “create opportunities for people to praise and draw closer to God and help them build meaningful relationships in their networks so that they can be meaningful witnesses and live out the gospel.” Benjamin lives in Piedmont with his wife Mary, and their two children.

Benjamin will be working with Session, Staff, Ministry Leaders, Deacons and our congregation to begin aligning our efforts as a church with Our Path Forward.

Menlo Church Option
A Unique Partnership Under Exploration

Session has been exploring strategies to accomplish our goal of being a strong community of faith that’s reaching the unchurched. One opportunity that has presented itself is to explore a partnership with Menlo Church, formerly known as Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. Session is exploring this unique opportunity to partner with a church that shares our doctrine, our evangelistic vision, our history, and has a proven record of effectively expanding the Kingdom in the Bay Area.

Session has been reading the book, Better Together. Menlo Church uses this book as a model when considering partnerships. Copies of the book are available in the church library, or you can read a summary here.

Both WCPres and Menlo Sessions have decided to enter into a “due diligence” process where the two churches will be engaged in asking and answering a variety of questions that explore the following areas: ministries, finances, programs, staff, legal aspects (property) and more. During this time of talking, all facets of what a relationship would look like are being explored.  If any insurmountable stumbling blocks are identified in this phase, then further discussions will cease and we will move on in our separate ways.

Through all of this discussion, our primary question is "Will we be better together at bringing the Gospel to Walnut Creek and the Diablo Valley, than we would be on our own?"

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions with answers. This section will be updated as more information is gathered.

About a Joint Venture
Once Morgan announced his decision to end well, Session took the opportunity to step back and consider the broad question: “How can Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church obtain the leadership and energy in the next era to achieve the greatest Kingdom impact in the most efficient and effective way?” As a result, Session has been exploring strategies to accomplish our goal of being a strong community of faith. Partnering with Menlo Church offers a unique opportunity for us to leverage our strengths and heritage as a beacon for Christ in the Diablo Valley for over 140 years with the incredible effectiveness of Menlo Church’s model to achieve our goal and passion as identified in Our Path Forward: to be a strong community that is reaching the unchurched with the Gospel.
To expand Christ’s reach in the East Bay. The vision is that with WCPres’ facilities, its people and its strategic location, WCPres could become the multi-site hub for campuses in Contra Costa County. Having a local presence would then allow Menlo Church and WCPres to more effectively bring the Gospel to those throughout the East Bay.
This conversation started when WCPres was completing the process to leave the PC(USA) in 2015 and Menlo Church inquired if we might be interested in partnering with them. The timing was not right. However, when Morgan announced his decision to leave earlier this year, the Sessions of both WCPres and Menlo decided it was worth revisiting this opportunity.
We’re discussing possibilities. WCPres is a unique potential partner for Menlo Church. Our Due Diligence team is working with Menlo to identify the best model to jointly achieve our common vision of reaching the unchurched with the Gospel in the fastest and most effective manner. Once a model has been presented to and agreed upon by Session, Session will share that with the congregation.
Studies show that member participation decreases when congregants drive more than fifteen minutes to church. Menlo Church’s goal is to have a local presence because having members in close proximity creates community and increases volunteerism as people serve their city.
About Menlo Church
Menlo Church is a 144 year-old multi-site church with six campuses on the Peninsula: Menlo Park, Mountain View, San Jose, San Mateo, Saratoga and South San Francisco. It has approximately 6,000 attendees on Sundays. Menlo Church and WCPres have a long history of working together to enhance the Church’s witness in the Bay Area. The two churches were partners in the Evangelical Caucus working to reform the PC(USA)’s San Francisco Presbytery; and Menlo Church’s journey to be dismissed to ECO is similar to ours.
As a member of ECO, Menlo Church has the same values as WCPres, namely: Jesus-shaped identity; Biblical integrity; Thoughtful theology; Accountable community; Egalitarian Ministry; Missional Centrality; Center-focused spirituality; Leadership velocity; Kingdom vitality. ECO values  and Menlo Church beliefs.
Vision and Mission
Menlo’s vision is to lead our generation into a transforming relationship with Jesus and authentic community with each other, so that everyone in the Bay Area and beyond can flourish. Menlo Church’s strategy is this: “We are and will continue to be a ‘Jesus Church,’ finding our life, health, vision, and strength in the person of Jesus Christ. We will keep Jesus at the center of our faith and our life together.”
Due Diligence
Due Diligence is a process of investigating numerous aspects of our church and ministries to evaluate the likelihood of success should we enter a joint venture with Menlo Church. Each church has appointed a team of people to work together through those areas and questions. Our team is comprised of Elders Steve Seto, Dave Heck, Mimi Lin and joined by Chris Ritchey. The outcome from the due diligence process will be a recommendation to Session along with specifics around a partnership agreement for them to make an informed decision.
Once the due diligence phase is completed, five things will happen. First, our team will present a recommendation to Session with the details of how the partnership will work. Second, our Session will vote to recommend (or not recommend) to our congregation to move forward with a joint venture. Third, Menlo Church’s Session will vote to agree (or not agree) to the terms of the partnership. Fourth, we will coordinate opportunities for our members to fully understand the terms of the potential partnership. This may take several months. And, finally, we will hold a congregational vote to approve (or not) the joint venture.
The members of our congregation will. In the next few months, our Session will vote to recommend (or not recommend) a partnership with Menlo Church. With a positive recommendation, we will then call for a congregational vote regarding the decision to move forward.
Next Steps
We ask you to engage in the process by:
  1. Praying for our church.
  2. Participating in opportunities to explore and share in the process.
  3. Submitting your comments and questions are welcomed and encouraged through email to transition@wcpres.org.