Lead Pastor Search

Lead Pastor Transition

Update August 6 2023:

Vale Church,

All throughout history and numerous times in the Bible, we find accounts of how God has chosen people for His special purposes. There is something profoundly influential about a man or woman who is sold out for the cause of Jesus Christ. As you know, we have been praying that God would send us, and ordain for us a Lead Pastor for our church.

After a considerable amount of prayer and seeking the wisdom of God, we are happy to announce that we have found an exceptional man of God who is ready to step into a new season of leadership, as the Lead Pastor of Vale Church.

Currently located in Pontiac, IL., Pastor Shawn Jensen and his wife Lizzie planted, and have served Authentic Church for over 10 years. His heart to reach the community and the world with the message of Jesus excited our Leadership and Staff. We know this family will be a blessing to Vale Church and we are excited to be on this journey with them.

Please join us in welcoming Pastor Shawn Jensen, our new Lead Pastor at Vale Church!

- Vale Leadership Team



Update July 30 2023:

Vale family,

Since Pastor Ted announced his transition away from Vale, we’ve been working diligently with a search team to identify the person God has chosen to lead us in this next season for Vale. During this transition time, Vale continues to thrive due to your prayers and support. Although we miss Pastor Ted, we know God has great plans for Vale Church.

In recent months, we’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk to some amazing pastoral candidates. We have also had the blessing of having a few of them join us on the weekends. Through all of this, as we have followed God's direction, He has made it very clear to our team who He has prepared to lead Vale Church.

We’ll be making the announcement next weekend. We are so excited and cannot wait to share with you all in this time of celebration. Do not miss it!

Join us at one of our in-person or online service:
Saturday 4:00pm
Sunday 9:00am and 11:00am
3211 Ireland Grove Road
Bloomington, IL 61704


- Vale Leadership Team



Update July 1 2023:

Vale Church family, we want to provide you with a quick update on the exciting progress of our search for a New Lead Pastor. Our search team is on 3rd interviews with 2 potential candidates for this role. This is a season full of exciting activity at Vale. The church is thriving and we know that God has an incredible leader He is preparing for us. If you have any further inquiries, please don't hesitate to reach out to Pastor Matt, any member of the VLT, or send an email to

Thank you for your prayers and support throughout this exciting journey. We are confident that God's hand is guiding us, and we can't wait to see what He has in store for Vale Church. Together, let's continue to grow, serve, and impact lives for His glory.


Update May 25 2023:

Statement from the Vale Leadership Team:

Hey Vale - my name is Jeff Cowden. I serve on the Vale Leadership Team as the current Chairman of the board. I wanted to take a moment to share with you a little about our process for succession at Vale Church as Pastor Ted transitions out of his role as Lead Pastor, and we begin the process of finding the leader who will carry us into this next season.

Four years ago we entered into a planning process to answer the question, “What happens at Vale WHEN we go through a transition at the highest level of leadership?” We brought in an outside firm that helped us strategize for when that day comes. Well, that day has arrived, and I am thankful for the work and planning that has gone into the last four years so that we would be ready to face this challenge.

Over the coming weeks, we will celebrate Pastor Ted, as well as mourn the fact that he will be transitioning to a new season of ministry away from Vale. We will begin the search process for his replacement. We will start giving monthly updates on how that process is progressing, and we will hold steady the church as we step into this land in between.

Our Church is Strong, Our Staff is Ready, Our Leadership is prepared, and we believe the next season will be our greatest season. Pastor Ted has built a strong foundation and is excited to see what God is going to do through the next leader. We know you will have questions throughout this process, please take a look at our FAQ section if you have more questions about this transition. Our team desires your prayers as we initiate this process, and we are available to the church to answer any questions you may have. This is an exciting season and we are believing for God's Best for you and for Vale.


On Saturday/Sunday, April 22 & 23, 2023, Pastor Ted announced his intention to transition out of the Lead Pastor role of Vale Church to a new season of ministry beginning July 1, 2023.
Here's a statement from Pastor Ted:

The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” It is with that in mind that my wife Amy and I are stepping out into a new season of ministry. Four years ago I shared with our leadership team that after 13 years of ministry at Vale for the first time, I was feeling a release. What that means is for the first time I felt like there was something else I was being called to, but I didn’t know what it was. I simply wanted to be open-handed and open with my leadership team as I sought to understand what that meant.

Since that time I have not been actively seeking a new role or trying to find a new place to go. In fact, quite the opposite; I have been happy in my role and have enjoyed watching as God continues to bless and move in our church. However, a little over a year ago a mentor of mine informed me that he would be stepping out of his role of 33 years as the Lead Pastor and was in the initial stages of figuring out what was next for his church. I remember him asking me if it was something I would consider, and I remember saying absolutely not because it was further north, and I wanted to go south if it was up to me.

About six months ago we were talking again, and he said they would be beginning their search process soon and asked if I would be willing to go through the process and see what God might reveal? I informed our leadership team of my decision to engage in that process to see where it might lead. Over that time I went through the steps, and at each turn felt like God was giving me peace to continue in the process until at the end of it I was offered the position to succeed my friend and mentor. After spending time in prayer and reflection, Amy and I felt that this was the time of transition we had been waiting for.

After 17 years of serving here at Vale, I can honestly say this is the healthiest our church has ever been. I am serving on the best staff team we have ever had, and the leadership team is the strongest it has been since I’ve been a part of it here at Vale. I believe this is the best time for a new voice and a new leader to take the baton and charge the next hill. Though I am sad as this place has meant so much to me, know I will be watching and cheering from a distance as God brings the next leader to shape Vale's future and guide its next steps.


frequently asked questions

The goal of our Leadership Team is to communicate regularly with our church across a variety of platforms. This page will be the best place for you to get the most up-to-date information on the search process. In addition, this webpage will serve as a central location for transition updates.

Knowing Pastor Ted’s heart and leading long term, our Leadership Team has a succession plan in place and has contacted an organization called Slingshot. Slingshot is a nationwide company that specifically works to find qualified candidates for churches.

Vale has used Slingshot for the last eight years to find excellent staff members to serve our church.

Under Slingshot's guidance, we will be directly working with Keith Twigg, who specializes in Lead Pastor searches. Keith has worked with our team to help place over eight candidates here at Vale and is extremely familiar with our staff and church culture. We are blessed to have him serve our church during this transition period.
You can learn more about Keith by gong to:

The process is already underway! We are in the process of finalizing the job profile with Slingshot and are expecting the job profile to be posted through Slingshot in the coming weeks.

Once the job profile is live, we are expecting to be interviewing potential candidates over the next 6-12 months.

After prayer and consideration, the Vale Leadership Team will be bringing in outside communicators to help teach at Vale in this season. Vale has an excellent line up of trusted voices that will come alongside our team and assist in provide an excellent weekend experience. Each week is intentionally planned and our sermon series are laid out for the remainder of 2023.

According to our bylaws, the day-to-day responsibilities of the church will remain with the staff. Our Executive Pastor along with our other pastoral staff will fill the gaps that Pastor Ted’s transition leaves.

The Vale Leadership Team will continue to make any major decisions regarding the vision & direction of Vale Church. Our staff will continue to lead our ministries and weekend experiences as always have.

We work directly with Slingshot for all potential candidates for this position. Please have potential candidates go directly through Slingshot and “Become a candidate” (

No. After much prayer and consideration, we are engaging in a nationwide search for an outside candidate.

Although a lot of effort is going into this transition process, our leadership team desires to be fully dependent on the Lord and His guidance and direction.

So, here are some on-going prayer requests:
- Pray that the leadership will seek the Lord in all the little details of this process. We want to be dependent on Him alone!
- Pray for Pastor Ted, his wife Amy, and their family as they seek to honor the Lord in graciously closing this season of their lives and begin serving at Parkview Christian Church.
- Pray that this transition for Vale Church will be smooth and well received by all and that it may be the start of an exciting new season.

For the immediate future, you can also be praying for God to provide us with wisdom, clarity, and unity in:
- That our search team has wisdom and discernment in finding the right new candidate for Vale Church.

Do you have additional questions about the process? Please feel free to email our team at

When will Pastor Ted's last weekend be?
Pastor Ted will be on staff through June, but his last weekend preaching will be May 20 & 21. He has weddings and a trip to Israel he will be leading with some of the staff in June.

Does Pastor Ted know what he will be doing after transitioning out of the Lead pastor Role at Vale?
Pastor Ted will be stepping into the Lead Pastor role at Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, IL.

Was Pastor Ted asked to step down as the Lead Pastor?
No, everything at the leadership level has been handled in a Godly way. The leadership team has been part of Pastor Ted’s process for the last four years. As a team, we have been praying and supporting Pastor Ted as he has been discerning God’s call on his ministry and life.

How can I help celebrate Pastor Ted?
Join us for a special celebration time with Pastor Ted, Sunday, May 21 from 12:30-2:00 at Vale. This will be a come-and-go open house event. Gifts and cards for Pastor Ted and Amy can be brought to the event.
If you cannot join us but would like to send Pastor Ted some words of encouragement, gifts and cards can be mailed to or dropped off at our Vale offices.
3211 Ireland Grove Road, Bloomington, IL 61704