By Sharon Mager
Members of First Baptist Church of Waldorf called Randall Stacks as senior pastor. He succeeded Wayne Kempson, who served the church since 1982.
Kempson retired in early March and transitioned to an interim role just as COVID-19 restrictions began to affect the church. As the associate, Stacks took on guiding the church through the necessary safety protocols and pivots.
Called as a youth pastor in 2004, Stacks gradually began to help Kempson through the years, taking on increased responsibility and transitioning to the associate capacity, and assisting with preaching, leading, and overseeing administrative functions.
“Wayne knew, even several years ago, that his retirement was on the radar,” Stacks said.
Though Kempson felt Stacks was a natural candidate, both men, and church leaders, agreed the church had to go through a search process to discern how God was leading and who and what the church really wanted. COVID-19 restrictions significantly slowed the process. Leaders believed they would have the plan completed by May, however, due to the pandemic, the process didn’t end until September.
Stacks said the search committee was thorough. “They did a full survey and I presented my updated resume. There was even a four-hour interview — with homework!” he chuckled.
“The church needed full ownership,” Stacks said. “It was good for them, but it was also good for me to solidify that this is where God wants me to be,” he shared.
As he wrestled in his mind, second-guessing himself, God began to provide confirmation to Stacks. “I call them ‘God nods,’” he said. “I was putting up roadblocks myself, and God was plowing right through them.”
The leadership transition time was unique due to the pandemic. Like many other churches, FBCW used COVID-19 restrictions to begin re-evaluating church processes — programs, outreaches, and ministries. “We are looking at it all and saying, ‘Why are we doing this and should we continue it?’” That’s an excellent opportunity for a new pastor, said Stacks. “It’s like a clean slate.” He officially began as senior pastor on Sept. 21.
The Spiritual Journey
Stacks grew up in a Christian home in the Santa Barbara area of California and made a profession of faith at the age of six. “With my father as a minister, I was in church all of the time. This allowed me many opportunities to observe and actively participate in church work at an early age,” he shared. He sang in the youth choir, helped with a ministry to federal inmates, and served in large and small outreach ministries.
At California Baptist University (CBU), Stacks surrendered his life to full-time ministry. “This was a struggle, as I saw how busy and frustrating ministry could be from watching my dad, who dedicated his life to the Lord’s work.” Following his graduation from CBU, he attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.
Along with his ministry with FBCW, Stacks serves as a life coach several hours a week for Chick-Fil-A, where he provides one-on-one counseling for management and team members. Stacks said he enjoys the opportunity and it gives him new perspective and focus.
Before his ministry in Waldorf, Stacks served as a minister of students at Stine Road Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California; youth pastor at Green Hills Baptist Church in La Habra, California; youth minister at Las Brisas Bible Fellowship in Murrieta, California; and minister of youth and music at First Southern Baptist in Waterford, California. Additionally, he served as a youth intern in several churches and as a summer missionary.
Randy met his wife, Kerry, while attending CBU and they married in 1990. The couple has three children — Tyler, 24; Ryan, 21; and Cameron, 19.
Stacks said he is humbly thrilled and excited in his new role. He has a passion for missions and mentoring and he seeks to continue and expand the church’s community outreach ministry.
“I want us to serve the community and continue to grow as a church,” he emphasized. As a youth pastor for over a decade, Stacks also sees student ministry as a priority. And as a kid at heart, he hopes he can continue to accompany the youth on many of their mission trips and other events.
Stacks is pleased that Wayne Kempson and his family will continue to be members and serve FBCW. Wayne’s wife, Debbie, serves as the church’s minister of discipleship and family ministries. Jon Kempson, the couple’s son, serves as the worship leader.
Due to the pandemic, the church will have a retirement celebration for Wayne in the spring of 2021.
Cover photo provided by Randy Stacks.
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