“I wanted to do what is best for this church and for this to be a strategic decision,” he said, noting that this announcement kicks off a search for the new pastor, whom he hopes will be in place by mid-summer.
Wood told the Shades congregation that he had been working on this for more than three years, trying to get issues with the facilities and outstanding debt dealt with so the new pastor could have a clean slate.
The upheaval of 2020 provided that clean slate in a better way than he would’ve imagined and positioned the new pastor to be able to dream and set a fresh direction for the church, he said.
“My goal is to pass the baton while I’m still running with full vigor and enthusiasm,” Wood said. “His hand was on us in 2020, and I’m confident even greater days are ahead — to God be the glory.”
A Birmingham native, Wood grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Auburn University with a degree in business marketing. He started his career with South Central Bell (now AT&T) in Birmingham and was a deacon and Sunday School teacher at Shades before being called as the church’s pastor in 1997.
In 1999, he earned his doctor of ministry degree from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham.
Over his years at the church, Wood has led the congregation to be among the state’s top Cooperative Program givers and has participated in numerous missions effort, including a nine-year partnership to have the Bible translated into the languages of multiple unreached people groups in Nepal.
In 2019, he also served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors Conference, which met in conjunction with the SBC annual meeting in Birmingham.
To watch the service with his announcement, visit https://www.facebook.com/shadesmtn/videos/244646430370720.