The Rev. Olu Brown, pastor of Impact Church in Atlanta, Georgia, announced his retirement on May 16. Brown, who founded the progressive Atlanta-based church 14 years ago, confirmed that he is retiring in June 2022 to pursue entrepreneurial and consulting endeavors full time. The transition will position him to help grow churches and businesses all over the world, just as he has through his leadership at Impact. Brown will continue to serve Impact for the next year as the lead pastor and will help orient the new lead pastor, once appointed by the Bishop of the North Georgia Conference, Sue Haupert-Johnson.
“With any call that God gives us for our lives, there will always be a vision. And as we move toward realizing that vision, it becomes clear that the call is much greater than we can ever think or imagine,” said Olu Brown. “Impact is part of my call, and when God gave me the opportunity to partner with 25 launch team volunteers to start this ministry, I knew there would come a time where God would call me beyond Impact Church.”
The transitional year will be an exciting time where Pastor Olu, and the new lead pastor, once appointed, will work together to continue the community work that Impact is known for. In fact, Impact Church was recently approved to launch a new 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Pastor Olu and the Impact leadership team are also forging ahead with capital campaigns for building expansion, which will include numerous resources for the community on workforce readiness, educational success, and healthy living.
“It goes without saying that a change like this can be difficult to understand, but change does, in fact, happen, and when it does, we embrace it and move in the direction where that change is taking us,” states Sheldon Snipe, Impact’s Staff Parrish Relations Committee chairperson. “This is a very exciting time for Olu, and for Impact, and we are confident that our plan to transition the leadership of our outgoing and incoming pastors will ensure undisrupted continuity to our ministry.”
While people are expected to retire in most professions, the concept of pastors retiring is still relatively new. However, some pastors; especially, those who are younger, are now finding ways to further the call that God placed on their life in ways that don’t always fit the traditional roles. Pastor Olu hopes to start a movement of Normalizing Next™ where succession planning, retirement and pastoral transition are celebrated.
“I count it an honor to have been the founding and lead pastor of Impact Church and I will always be grateful for my time as a pastor and servant leader in the local church,” states Brown. “Over the years, I have had the opportunity to serve in ministry with phenomenal people and travel the world. I will always cherish my wonderful ministry experiences and the people I have been honored to know and serve. Life and living is a continuous journey and a series of next and I hope to help people ‘Normalize Next’ and embrace tomorrow with hope and expectation. When I think about one of the most important themes of my ministry, it has been about helping people change, transition and embrace their next.”
When Pastor Olu started Impact in 2007, he set himself on a 10-year plan that mapped out key milestones of accomplishment and even his retirement from the local church. He has remained committed to the vision God gave him and has been at the helm of Impact Church for more than 14 years. Olu has taken the church through its full launch cycle and will now lead through its first founding/lead pastor transition. He will, officially, retire in June 2022.