my favorite senior pastor has resigned

Gordon Kirk has been the senior pastor at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, CA, for 14 years. no SP is perfect — but this guy was darn close. visionary, compassionate, insightful, wise. and, what can i say? he believed in me when i was a punk junior high pastor, and asked me to be the executive pastor at a 100+ year old church of 6000 people. it was unheard of. some of the church leaders thought he must have had a serious brain-fart.

any institution of 100 years needs a continuous process of change, or atrophy will (or has) set in, usually followed by death. gordon knew this, saw it, and — for the most part — was able to articulate a path forward. he was passionate about lake ave not being an oasis of middle-class white people in the midst of a completely diverse (racially and economically) neighborhood; and the church has made massive strides in this direction over the last 10 years. i’ve really been hoping and praying that lake avenue would become a model of a big ol’ church that was found a path from mono-cultural, through multi-racial, though multi-cultural, all the way to kingdom-cultural. at this moment, i’m feeling a bit less hopeful. the youth ministry of this great church is well on the way to living this reality — please, lord.

gordon’s resignation was due to ongoing attacks and nipping and plain-old wearing him down by critics.

i would absolutely not be sitting in my seat at ys today if gordon had not believed in me.

108 thoughts on “my favorite senior pastor has resigned”

  1. hi Marko, sorry to hear abt wat happened to Gordon. Its really sad to see good people leave a work that they are passionate about. I know what you mean by Gordon believing in you. My own Pastor has been such a person to me. I hope and pray that the work that God has started in this church, especially in the Youth Group will continue grow. So sorry bro to hear this news :(

  2. I can relate with this. This is my first year out of youth ministry. I had to step away so that the church I served could see and feel the void. Looking back it was hard but now I see where God has opening new opportunites at that place. It is always great having someone that believes on us and that we can see past the views of their critics… Keep stepping brother. Peace – Sam

  3. Even though it is many years ago i still remember Gordon Kirk as a man with an unbelieveble integrity. I will pray for him and his family. I remember i had his son in my group for DC/LA…

  4. I went to Lake Ave. for 3 years and deeply appreciated Gordon Kirk’s leadership and teaching. As a PK who’s father has gone through what seems a similar situation that consisted of personal and spiritual attacks from a maddeningly vocal (and who seem to think they’re entitled because of their “long-standing” members) minority, I’m angry to see this happen to him. Pastors go through hell more often than not when it comes to dealing with “established” members, it seems. I’ll be praying for Gordon as he moves on during this difficult time.

  5. It’s time for churches to run out the nay sayers and self-righteous religious control freaks rather than wonderful pastors like Gordon Kirk. If no charge were brought against an elder or pastor except through two or three witnesses, this stuff would stop. I for one pray God’s judgment on those who trouble good pastors.

  6. It has been a few months and I am still not OK with Pastor Kirk’s resignation. He went through so much for so long with the council… it seems as though he did what he thought was best for LAC in the end. However, I don’t know that it is best for LAC. It is not the same with out him. With SP Kirk at the helm, we always knew where LAC was headed. I for one would follow him if I knew where he was going to go. I have the utmost respect for his courage and integrity. We can all learn from a role model like Gordon. I pray for LAC and the Congregation. They don’t know what they have lost.

  7. Well said by Ana. I, too am still not over the loss and the treatment that Gordon received. I wish I would know where he is preaching/serving these days. Of course I understand that God could use anyone to minister and preach the Word. However, it is similar to having blessed with a few writers/authors whom you feel they are communicating to you on the same wavelength.

  8. Hi Mark,

    I’d love to know where Gordon is these days. I think he’s an excellent speaker and was sad to see him leave. I followed Lake even after moving to PA in ’99.

  9. hey michael. gordon hasn’t landed anywhere yet. he’s taking time to think, pray and recover. he DOES have a one-month iterim preaching gig at a church in OC (can’t remember which one).

  10. Wow, I didn’t know anyone else was blogging about Gordon Kirk’s resignation, I just now found your blog. I’m missing him, too. I get sad everytime I think about why he resigned and that some people still don’t get it.

  11. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Do you know what Pastor Kirk has planned ? Has he accepted another ministry at a chruch ?
    thanks for your reply.

  12. Mark,
    It would be great if you knew that church in OC where Krik is temping. I’d love to go there and visit him.

  13. Dear Mark,

    Dr. Kirk is a very good teacher. but the church is empty on sunday. The choir has never recovered from the firing of a Music Minister.( Half of choir Left) Many 3rd and 4th generation families have left.
    New staff all the time. The church is called the “anti-union church” because of it building the new building non-union. No Boy Scout Troop don’t want to offend some growps etc.etc. When a church has lost its Moral Authority to lead
    It will fall apart. It is very sad.

  14. Mark,
    Our family has not recovered from the loss of Pastor Kirk at Lake.What a gifted teacher.Will you post information on any opportunities to hear him speak ?

  15. Mark, glad for the blog. My wife & I are Lake members and we miss Gordon & Patricia more than I’ve ever missed a pastor in my life. Lake now seems to us like a rudderless ship on the ocean. Incredibly, we selected an Interim pastor who last Sunday called for 100 volunteers (3 services) without telling them why. Once he had his volunteers, he pulled a wad of 100 dollar bills from his pocket, and without telling us where the $10,000 came from, handed out the cash. He claims to be carrying out the Parable of the Talents, evidently assuming upon himself the role of the Master (God). It’s a complete misapplication of Scripture for a number of reasons, most of which is that the “Talents” from the Master include much more than money. The Talent was a symbol for ALL that God assigns to us, and all that we entrust to Him and do with and for Him in our lives. It’s about faithfulness, loyalty, availability, prayer, teachability and holiness (among other aspects). Not just money. Gordon used to interrupt his sermons for a variety of relevant stuff, but he would never stop preaching in order to dish out 10,000 dollars. The Apostles never did it, the Reformers didn’t, nor did Jesus. We pray that the ship on Lake will find port in the Word of God again soon, which is Lake’s legacy under men like Henry Hutchins (with whom my father served), Ray Ortlund, Paul Cedar, and Gordon Kirk. We thank God for Gordon and Patricia and continually lift them up in prayer, entrusting them to the Lord as He will soon reveal their next “Kingdom Assignment.”

  16. I completely agree with you in terms of Pastor Kirk. He is an amazing man who is on a mission to deliver God’s word to God’s people. He truly calls everyone to their greatness to fulfill their kingdom assignment. Its truly unfortunate that LAC didn’t realize the gift they had in him. Bening a member of LAC its been truly difficlut to come to grips with the treatment of such an amazing individual. Even know, it still appears that we (members) are expected to act like nothing has occurred and that we are to act as though Kirk was never apart of our lives. Authentic healing won’t ensue until the congragation is able to face (head on) what has occurred and devise concrete steps to make certain this won’t happen again.

    Its unfortunate how many souls lie in wake of what has occurred.

    I pray the best to the entire Kirk family!

  17. Hey Kasmin,

    Well said! It has been difficult for me to understand how people can completely no longer tolerate sound doctrine and that is what Gordon Kirk gave the people. Which is missing from somw pulpits today. Gordon is a man of integrity, compassion for Christ and the people, and heart and passion for the church. I had been comtemplating whether to join as a member or not. That I will have to take to the Lord. I pray that The Lord will lead Gordon to a church home that LOVES the Lord and His Word, where people can worship, truly worship, fellowship (No matter our ethnicity), listen to and be taught sound doctrine.

    We all should continually pray for pastor Gordon & Patricia Kirk.


    Janine Anderson

    P.S. If anyone finds out where Gordon will be teaching, please let all us bloggers know, okay!!

  18. Is there by any chance someone who knows where Gordon is preaching but would not want to disclose the information for fear of mass exodus at Lake? I for one no longer go to church but just downloading sermons from other churches’ web sites. I didn’t just miss Gordon but the entire worship experience after both Mark Portis and Gordon Kirk left. And before that I hadn’t gone to church for 10+ years. All I could say is church hurts.

  19. hello lake and former lake people. it’s interesting how many of you continue to find this blog post, so many months after i wrote it!

    sorry, i don’t know anything more current on gordon; but i’m fairly certain he’s NOT jumped into another pastoral role. he really needed some time off. he had a one-month pulpit-fill role at a church back in november, but i think that’s it.

  20. It has been truly difficult for us as a family to understand why this had to happen. Pastor Kirk spoke the true word of God, and it seemed to ruffle some feathers. To furhter demonstrate the integrity Pastor Gordon Kirk has, he did not rally those who were loyal to him to engage in anything other than keeping Lake on track as he moved on. I think anyone who listened to God’s word through Gordon Kirk had no choice but to follow the path the Word of God truly tells us to follow. By the way, we miss Mark Porits as well.

  21. Hi all,
    So sorry to hear about Gordon Kirk. He was my Senior pastor for eight years at Rolling Hills Covenant Church before the Lake Ave years. He is a great man of God and I learned so much under his teaching. I would really like to know where he ends up. Please send any updates.

  22. I attended LAC in the early 90’s and was shocked to learn about Kirk’s leaving. What happened?

  23. I remember when Pastor Kirk was hired and the excitement we all felt at his appointment to the Senior Pastor Position. He fulfilled every possible expectation we could have had and he even went above and beyond. My Wife and I were married at Lake. We have been members of a church that transformed into a model of what Paul had in mind for churches while Pastor Kirk was our Sheppard. We hope that he comes back to the role God so obviously equipped and gifted him to fulfill. When he does find a new church family if anyone finds out where -please post it-.

  24. >>Is there by any chance someone who knows where Gordon is preaching but would not want to disclose the information for fear of mass exodus at Lake?>>

    Belive me, there wouldn’t be a mass exodus. I know that I wouldn’t leave. Gordon is a wonderful man, but come on. Nothing in life is black and white. What happened, didn’t happen in a vacuum.

  25. The prevailing drift is that people want to know what’s up with Gordon & Patricia. As I write this, everyone at this blog knows as much as I do. That may change in the next couple of weeks. My wife & I have plans to see the Kirks. I will let you know whatever Gordon wishes to be presented here. Otherwise, you can email me.

  26. Marko, you’re right about Gordon wanting to change LACC in a forward-thinking direction. Perhaps the way in which he went about it contributed mightily to his departure. I’ve been at Lake since 1985 (and still am), and the following article from the Starnews in Pasadena, rings true to me.

  27. Lake Avenue Church was blessed for 14 years with with leadership of Pastor Gordon Kirk. Frank, I’m speaking to you now…. People who don’t appreciate good leadership often become critics and naysayers. It’s a shame the way Christians demand their own way in churches and when they don’t obtain it, lash out against their pastor. Commonly, people try to control the pastor and control other members. In the case of Gordon Kirk, here was a man who overcame adversity within his own congregation. For 14 years, he modeled Christ and preached the Bible faithfully to us. He’s the best pastor I’ve ever known. He lived above the criticism and loved those who leveled it at him.

    But I do thank you, Frank. Thank you for opening a window into the sour grapes. It’s easy to criticise. It’s harder to bring your hammer and nails and ask your pastor, “What can I do to help?” If more people had done so, we wouldn’t have lost a dynamic, penetrating, effective, compelling man of God.

  28. It is amazing to me that someone would have rooted their understanding of the events based on Pasadena Star News’ account and proudly quoted it.

  29. As promised, I have a brief update on Pastor Gordon to pass along…. The Kirks are doing well and appreciate all the support from friends. They are “trusting God and (are) confident for the future.”

    I realize this is minimal information. When and if I learn anything further, I will pass it along.

  30. My family and I are still grieving what’s happened at Lake. But we also think that the Lord could be moving Pastor Kirk into an opportunity where he’ll influence the entire nation.

    This is where you can hear him:

    August 20 through October 8
    Kindred Community Church
    8712 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road, Anaheim, CA 2808.

  31. I really miss Pastor Kirk. LAC is not the same. We have lost our sense of purpose and direction and our spiritual leader! His departure has certainly affected me spiritually at a time when I needed to be grounded. This is a huge loss for the Congregation as a whole. He ministered to those outside our comfortable walls just like Jesus asked us to do. Was that wrong???

  32. My husband and I are SO EXCITED that he will be at Kindred Church. ECSTATIC BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION!!

  33. Gordon is teaching at my church…Kindred community church in Anaheim Hills. Service is at 9 a.m. He will be teaching this Sunday and the following Sunday and is doing a 6 week study in Ephesians.

    God has special plans for him.

  34. Lake avenue was my home, now I am homeless. I never thought hypocritical and corrupt christianity would hit LAC. Oh well, there’s always Buddha.


  35. Pastor Kirk is teaching in Sanda Clarita!

    Grace Babtist Church
    22833 Copper Hill Dr.
    Santa Clarita, CA
    (661) 296-8737

    Dr. Gordon Kirk is Coming.
    He will join our Preaching Team November 11-12, …and will provide the bulk of the preaching over the coming months. While not a candidate for Senior Pastor, he is a gifted preacher of the Word who is eager to come alongside us. An info sheet about Dr. Kirk is available at the Information Center.

  36. Thank you for the opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings. I am still grieving this great loss. I hope that God will bring him back to this area and that He will use him to break down the still prevalent racial and economic barriers within the Body of Christ. Wouldn’t it be great if He could preach at one of the African american churches here just as the African american pastors did at Lake during his tenure??

  37. I had the unique pleasure of running into Pastor Kirk and Patricia Kirk this sunday at a restaurant. We had a great time chatting and it was certainly a blessing to see them both. He is at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita as per the previous e-mail from Ross Turner.
    Happy Holidays to all.

  38. Well, FYI if anyone reads this, Gordon was a “temp” at the Grace Church, while they look for a new senior pastor. Pastor Kirk was the best preacher I have ever heard, and I am a P.K.! (Sorry Dad!) To put an end to the “shock” of good pastors getting bullied and worn down by “well meaning dragons” as my dad called them, good people have to step up, and good people without egos the size of titanic. Men and women who have been powerless in life or work often get to the top of volunteer ladders, as there is no pay, only ego rewards (i’ve been the top elder for bla bla years!) and after about 10 they think they own the place. “Not how we do things, the last pastor didn’t do it that way, I think redoing MY ministry first that offers me more ego points with MY group of 60 year olds…” these phrases ring out at every church I have ever been at, no matter the pastor. Yes, there are men in the ministry that go off base, but guys like Gordon Kirk are hard to find, and are routinely driven away by these moronic oafs. So if you don’t want this to happen at your church, but you have said to yourself “I’m just to busy being resonable and raising my family, and Mr. too much time on his hands seems to be doing a fine job” your church is headed the same way. Write an encouraging letter, talk to your pastor, and actually show up to a church meeting and volunteer for something. You will find the “dragons” in a short time. Make it your job to point them out, and not let them boss your pastor or your church into a big fight. They want ego 9 times out of 10, not “God’s will” but they often don’t even know it. Call them on it. Stand up to them and ask them publicly to “pray” about why they are causing problems, delaying decisions, holding onto money, power, position.

    Bad things happen when good people stand by and do nothing but drink the coffee, eat the donuts and wonder why the pastor is leaving. Shocking.

  39. Gordon Kirk is interim teaching pastor at Grave Baptist Church, Santa Clarita, CA He is phenomenal!!

  40. Dr. Kirk is indeed preaching at Grace Baptist in Santa Clarita. He is our interim teaching pastor, while we embark upon a search for a new senior pastor (following the retirement of our previous SP) . We’re blessed to have a man of his caliber teaching and preaching.

  41. Does anyone know where Pastor Kirk will be teaching next after Santa Clarita????????????? Thanks!

  42. Hey Marko – Don’t know if you remember me but I joined the LakeAve worship staff as organist a few months before you went down to YS. I had heard about Gordon leaving Lake but only recently realized that it was because of politics with the Ministry Council – which doesn’t surprise me. I agree with you – I think Gordon is an amazing man of God. He has probably been one of the most impactful people in my spiritual life. I would have never considered pursuing ministry were it not for Lake Avenue and Gordon’s leadership at a pivotal time in my life. God’s blessings on him wherever he is these days. Miss him tons. – Brian Mann / Grace Presbyterian Church Houston (

  43. I am shocked and sadden of the news of Pastor Kirk.My family and I joined LACC in 1985 under the leadership of pastor cedar.pastor cedar was a good pastor, however it was time for LACC to change and embrace the diversity of the area.pastor kirk reached out to everyone and was truly a visonary. We attened LACC for 12 years and truly came to Christ through the teaching of pastor kirk. We now reside on the east coast and have been blessed with a wonderful Pastor Dr Alyn E. Waller of the Enon Tabernacle Church who reminds us of pastor Kirk. Lacc is in a free fall. We will pray for all involved. I will look for where pastor kirk is preaching when I come home for the holidays. I disagree with the blogger, there will be a mass exit !!

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