Rev. Travis Franklin to be new senior pastor at First UMC Grapevine; Rev. Louis Carr appointed as North District Superintendent effective March 1.
Bishop Mike Lowry, episcopal leader of the Central Texas Conference UMC, has announced that Rev. Travis Franklin will step away from his current role as the District Superintendent of the North District of the Central Texas Conference so that he may serve as the senior pastor of First United Methodist Church of Grapevine. Rev. Louis Carr, senior pastor of Harvest UMC, has accepted the appointment to be the new North District Superintendent. These changes are effective as of March 1, 2019. Bishop Lowry also announced that as of July 1, Dr. Randy Wild will be appointed as East District Superintendent – a position he currently holds on an interim basis.
The decision to make changes to the Cabinet was made with much thought and prayer. The conference’s focus on its Wildly Important Goal – or WIG – to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world has the been quickly successful as demonstrated by 12 straight months of conference-wide growth in average worship attendance and professions of faith. Rev. Franklin’s participation on and leadership of the Cabinet has played a vital role in this success.
“We have been blessed to have the passionate and compassionate leadership of Rev. Travis Franklin as the North District Superintendent!” exclaimed Bishop Lowry. “It is with very mixed feelings that I appoint him to become the new Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church of Grapevine. His Christ-centered caring leadership is an ideal fit for Grapevine ‘at such a time as this.’”
“I have been honored to serve on the cabinet these past two years,” stated Travis. “It has been a time of learning and leading in a very different and yet exciting way. I am grateful to Bishop Lowry for trusting me with such an opportunity.
“I love the people that I have worked with both on the cabinet and in the North District and I will miss them and the work we were blessed to share.” Rev. Franklin continued. “I know they will be in capable and loving hands as Louis and Cheri Carr lead them. However, I am a pastor at heart and I have missed being in the local church. I feel so blessed to be starting a new journey as the Lead Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Grapevine. I have a long history with this congregation and I am humbled to be joining them in ministry again in a new way.”
The decision to appoint Travis to FUMC Grapevine meant facing the challenge of finding his replacement on the Cabinet – a challenge that Bishop Lowry took as an opportunity to add a new voice and a new energy to his Cabinet and the North District. After conversations with conference leadership and much prayer, Rev. Louis Carr emerged as the choice for the role.
“Rev. Louis Carr brings to the District and the Cabinet a wealth of insight in growing new ministry with a multi-cultural flare,” Bishop Lowry stated. “His experience in a variety of pastoral settings will be a great asset to the North District, and his creative ministry in developing a new congregation, demonstrates both courage and conviction in building the church for a new day. It is with joy that I welcome Rev. Louis Carr as the new North District Superintendent effective March 1.”
For the past 3-plus years, Rev. Carr has served as the Senior Pastor of Harvest United Methodist Church, a vital congregation that was born out of the merger of two historic churches – Thompson Chapel and Ridglea United Methodist Church.
“I am excited about this new opportunity and to discover what God is doing and will do in the North District,” Louis said. “However, the decision wasn’t easy. Harvest will always hold a special place in my heart. The transformational work achieved by bringing different ethnic and cultural groups together in the name of Jesus Christ has changed me forever. Harvest has been a unique chance to learn how transformational professions of faith and missional small groups can help to grow people in Christ.
“Still, my main motivation is to help make disciples for the kingdom, so that people will come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,” Louis continued. “I am grateful and humbled to serve the conference and the Kingdom in this new capacity. I am excited to be a part of the North District and I will strive to help individuals and our local churches live into their God-given talents and walk lovingly with Christ.
It wasn’t only his success in growing new ministry and embracing new technologies and creative ministries that cemented Rev. Carr as Bishop Lowry’s choice to be the next North District Superintendent. “I have been especially impressed by his commitment to our core mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” explained Bishop Lowry. “Rev. Carr lives his commitment to putting Christ at the Center, focusing on the local church and helping develop the next generation of lay and clergy leadership.”
Bishop Lowry also announced that Dr. Randy Wild will remove the interim tag and permanently assume the role of East District Superintendent effective July 1. Dr. Wild, who retired from active ministry last July, has been serving as the East District’s interim DS since Jan. 1.
"I had only been retired for six months, but my wonderful wife Katy was already wondering - aloud - if I couldn’t find something to do to get out of her hair,” remarked Randy about coming back to the Cabinet. “Seriously, I bring a deep and abiding love for the United Methodist Church and the East District in particular. The East District is holy and sacred ground for me…it is family, it is home. I began my ministry and served more than half of my years of ministry in East District churches.
“I felt particularly honored when Bishop Lowry called and asked me to serve as the DS in the East District,” Dr. Wild continued. “When looking at the transitions that face our denomination and our conference over the next few months and years, and following a couple of prayer filled sleepless nights, I felt as though my experience in pastoral ministry, and district and conference responsibilities perhaps qualified me to offer my unique and sometimes quirky gifts in this time of transition. Plus my wife said ‘YES you HAVE to take this!’"
“Thank God for Dr. Randy Wild’s faithfulness!” exclaimed Bishop Lowry. “Randy’s administrative leadership is welded to a record of pastoral excellence at a number of settings and he has already provided stellar Cabinet leadership both as a District Superintendent and as the Executive Director of the Center for Mission Support and Conference Secretary. The entire conference is enhanced by his willingness to come fully out of retirement to serve again in the East District Superintendent.”
Bishop Lowry is asking all to be in prayer for the Cabinet, the districts, the local churches and the United Methodist Church as a whole during this time of transition.
“We are living and serving in an exciting and important time of change,” Bishop Lowry reminded. “In the tumult of our time, I want to urge us to not lose focus. The Great Commission of Christ is reflected in our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
“Again, I want to thank Travis for his remarkable service to the North District, the conference and the connection as a whole. Obviously, I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I’m infinitely confident in the One who does, and I look forward to adding Louis’ and Randy’s gifts and voices to the Cabinet as we continue to focus on our mission and to stay committed on the WIG of making disciples of Jesus Christ.”
I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 CEB)