Lead Pastor Search

The Search Is Over!

Meet Our New Lead Pastor, Chad Manbeck!

We are so excited to announce that after a unanimous affirmation vote, Chad Manbeck is Richwoods’ next lead pastor!

Learn More About Chad & The Manbeck Family

October 7, 2020 Announcement Message

Hey Richwoods Family!

We are so excited to welcome Team Manbeck here very soon!

Their family will begin worshipping with us November 1st and Chad’s first weekend bringing the sermon will be November 15th!

Please continue reading for a message from our Elders as well as from our new lead pastor, Chad Manbeck!


Dear Richwoods Family,

Well, it is finally over!!! Our search is complete, and we have a new lead pastor. Praise God!

Going into this, we knew that the search would probably take more than a year, but we didn’t think it would take this long. Whew! It has been a grueling and difficult undertaking, but we believe the Lord has sent us a great leader and a great family to join our church family.

The elders want to thank the congregation for the patience and faith that you have shown us during this search. We also want to thank you for all your prayers over the last 27 months. The affirmation vote was an unheard of 177 in favor with 0 opposed. It’s hard to get complete unanimity on anything in this world. The elders realize that even though we provided significant background information on Chad for the congregation to study, this vote also reflects your trust in the elders and our nomination.

We would also like to thank the staff. The staff has soldiered on through some difficult and extraordinary times. They have worked as a team, maintained a good attitude, and overcome problems and issues that are totally unique. Please take a moment to thank them in person or with a special note.

We encourage you to continue praying for our church. The pandemic has and will continue to create difficulties for our church. Chad and the staff will have additional obstacles to surmount in the coming months. We have much to be thankful for; let’s intentionally encourage one another and project joyful enthusiasm when we’re together during these strange times.

Finally, we ask that everyone go out of their way to welcome Chad, Jenna, Luke, Jordyn, Trust, Ethan, and Selena. Please write them a note or several between now and when they get to Peoria, you can do that at the bottom of this webpage. Once they get here, don’t let up, let’s welcome them with love, kindness, and friendship.


The Elders of Richwoods Christian Church


Richwoods family,

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,”
Philippians 1:3-4

I can’t think of a better way to share my heart with you than with the words above from the Apostle Paul to his friends in Philippi. It was a dream come true to receive the call from the Elders that I get the privilege of becoming your next Lead Pastor. I am humbled, honored, and filled with anticipation to watch God continue to change lives in our community. I truly believe with all my heart that God is going to give us countless opportunities together to see people find and follow Jesus! I have been thanking God every day and praying for you with a joyful heart. Thank you for the kindness and encouragement that have already be shown to my family through your many texts, social media posts, and emails. There are not enough words to tell you how anxious we are to get there and begin living life with you! Praise God for all He is doing at Richwoods, in Peoria, and the surrounding communities that He is going to allow us to impact!

Team Manbeck is headed your way soon!

For His Glory,

Pastor Chad

Info & Updates

July 8, 2020  Even though it may not appear so, it’s been a very busy few weeks for our Lead Pastor search team. We were disappointed with the candidates we were getting from our original search firm so we interviewed and hired another company, the Slingshot Group. It appears they have better roots in and connections with independent Churches of Christ and Christian Churches so we are hoping for more and better candidates. In fact, they have already sent us a candidate who we have interviewed and will continue discussions with. They have also told us that they plan to send us one or two more candidates within the next week or so.

Due to the pandemic, our networking with guest pastors has stopped and we are trying to get those going again. Before COVID, our best candidates were coming through this initiative.

As always, we ask for your continued prayers for our team, our next lead pastor and their family (they’re out there right now!) and our church during this challenging time

May 26, 2020  Even though we have been in the middle of the pandemic, our search committee has been very busy.

For the sake of privacy, we usually provide very generic updates, but we felt it important to let you know that for the last four months, we have been interviewing and pursuing a candidate that we all believed would have made a great lead pastor for Richwoods, and he was interested in the opportunity. After several in-person meetings and much correspondence back and forth, we have mutually determined that his passion is in planting new churches and not in becoming the lead pastor of an existing church. Therefore, we are still looking.

Last week, we also made a major decision and canceled our contract with the search firm we have been using since August of 2018. After investigating options, we then hired a new firm who we are very excited about.  They have a deep connection to our spiritual heritage, and we feel confident they will provide us with truly excellent candidates that are just right for our church.

The pandemic has slowed our efforts, but we are committed and have not lost our sense of urgency. Please continue to pray for our committee and for the person and their family who will become our next Lead Pastor.

January 13, 2020 – Our search team has been very busy since our last update. We have reviewed numerous candidates, interviewed some and have tried to interest others in our position and our church. There have been many pastors interested in our position that we believe were not a good fit. There have also been several pastors that we would have been very interested in bringing to Richwoods that did not feel the position was right for them. We are also still talking to some who haven’t totally made up their minds.

To summarize it very simply, we are not looking for a superman, but we are looking for an exceptional preacher/teacher and a visionary leader. We believe Richwoods has the staff to provide the other talents and support required to be a healthy/growing church. Recently, we have asked ourselves and many of the Christian leaders that we trust the most if we’re being too picky and if our requirements for our next lead pastor are too high. These leaders have unanimously told us not to lower our expectations. They typically ask how long our search has lasted and then tell us that one to two years is not unusual to get the right person. In addition, our wonderful guest preachers continue to bring us names and good leads. We are confident that the right person is out there for us and the Lord will provide him at the right time.

August 29, 2019– As a reminder, our search team includes the elders as well as former elder Craig Kurtz. Tom Butler is also ably representing our staff in this effort.

From the beginning, our team has been convinced that Richwoods needs a good speaker/teacher/preacher who is also an excellent leader. This requires a special person. We continue to review candidates who submit resumes and we are actively pursuing prospects who are being recommended by our guest preachers.

Although this process is taking a long time, please be assured that we are being diligent and active in identifying and pursuing the next lead pastor for Richwoods. Our relationships with potential candidates are at a variety of stages in the process. We are encouraged because we find that many candidates and guest speakers are recognizing the excellent opportunity that exists here, but the competition for the best candidates is intense.

During this unique point in our church’s history, the elders are grateful for our church family’s awesome faithfulness in attendance, work for the Kingdom, and continued giving to support our mission of helping people find and follow Christ.

We are also delighted with the excellent work our staff is doing. Our next senior pastor will step into a church that is well-prepared for its next chapter of engaging and having an impact on the people who live in our community.

We are truly blessed!

June 26, 2019 – Our search team has some good news to share. Besides providing some great interim preaching, the main reason we have worked so hard to invite such a wide and varied group of leaders and speakers from large national Restoration Movement churches is to get the word out on our church, our position and to ask them for leads on possible candidates. This strategy is really starting to bear fruit!

Currently, we have received approximately a dozen recommendations. Many of these gentlemen may not even be currently looking for a new position, but we are going to research them and then approach them if we think there could be a good fit. This process is already underway. We continue to network with more contacts and believe additional recommendations will come our way. As always, our team asks for your prayers during this process.

June 10, 2019 – Two weeks ago, our search firm provided three candidates for our lead pastor position. After a thorough review of their resumes, sermon videos and personality profiles, our team decided that two of them were just not the right fit for us, but one of the candidates was certainly worth interviewing. Last week, we interviewed this gentleman for almost two hours. There were many things to like, but in the end, we just could not conclude that he was the right person for us either.

The good news is that we are starting to reap some possible candidates from networking with our guest preachers. Our team is now reaching out to these leads to determine if there is a mutual interest and fit. As you can tell, this is not a fast process but we are optimistic and know the Lord will provide if we are prayerful and faithful.

May 22, 2019 – Yesterday, our search firm presented our team with three additional candidates for our lead pastor position. In addition, the guest speakers we’ve hosted over the last couple months have provided us with several additional leads. The search team is currently reviewing all the available materials on these leads and candidates and trying to determine if further interviews are warranted.

As always, we ask that you remember the search and our team in your prayers. As we’ve always stated, we do not want our church to tread water as we go forth on this search and we ask that the congregation continue to enthusiastically support our mission to help our neighbors “find and follow Christ”. The church staff has been very busy and diligent in redoubling their efforts towards this goal and we ask that you support them and encourage them with your participation.

March 21, 2019 – On February 19, our team was presented with a second set of candidates by our search firm. After thoroughly reviewing their resumes, watching sermon videos and much discussion we decided that none of the candidates were a good match for our position. Since then, we have presented a list of changes we want to see from the search firm. These include:

  • Providing additional candidates on a faster schedule. We were disappointed that this round took nearly three months.
  • Changed some of the attributes that we felt the search firm was prioritizing. Their priorities seemed to be different than our team’s.

In addition, we have redoubled our efforts to get the word out and network in the Christian Church community to try and develop candidates ourselves. This effort seems to be bearing some fruit.

When we first started on this task, we knew it might take many months to find the right person. We are still determined to be patient and find the absolute right person. As always, our team still covets the congregation’s prayers.

November 26, 2018 –  The search team received and reviewed the first panel of four candidates. We delved into resumes and sermon videos, and spent a great deal of time discussing and praying.  We decided to do initial Skype interviews with two of the candidates, and although we liked them and think they have great kingdom potential, we felt led to ask Vanderbloemen for a new batch of candidates.  In the meantime we have updated our job profile and are actively sharing it with connected Restoration Movement ministers around the country.

If you’d like to help, please (a) continue praying for us and for this search, and (b) share our job posting with people who might be a good fit, or know someone who is!  If people are interested, they should apply through Vanderbloemen’s website.  The job profile can be seen here.  

October 30, 2018 – Our Vanderbloemen representative, Tracey Smith, presented their first batch of four possible candidates to our search committee last night. These four candidates were selected from the 105 people who expressed interest in the position. We watched introduction videos, reviewed their resumes and heard personal comments and notes from Tracey. The search team will now individually review candidate sermon videos, re-watch the introduction video, parse the resumes, fill out score cards on each candidate and then discuss the candidates as a group. Based on the results of that meeting, the search team may request Skype conferences with some of the candidates and possibly continue the process or decide that none of the candidates are a good fit and request additional candidates from Vanderbloemen. The hard work now begins! Please keep praying for our team, the candidates and Vanderbloemen.

October 1, 2018 – Our search firm, Vanderbloemen Search Group gave us an update today on the status of their work. Our Lead Pastor position internet posting went live on August 31stand has since recorded over 2900 page views. They continue to recruit and explore interest from others. In addition, Vanderbloemen has developed 75 viable candidates and started their review process. They hope to narrow down the list to the three or four best candidates and present them to our search committee by the end of October. Overall, they were very optimistic and delighted with the interest. Please continue to pray for the process and for our church as there are many exciting days to come.

August 15, 2018 – To help us speed up the process, and generate a larger pool of quality candidates, we are partnering with the VanderBloemen Search Group. VanderBloemen has a team of 36 people, a database in excess of 50,000 names, and they specialize in church staffing. Our leaders met with a representative of VanderBloemen on Sunday afternoon to discuss the job and lay out the process. Over the next 2 weeks we will be refining our Job description, putting together a recruitment video, and detailing the characteristics that we are looking for in our next Lead Pastor. Once this is completed, the job will be publicly posted on our church webpage and on the VanderBloemen site. In the mean time, we would ask you to be in prayer for our church, Pastor Jim, and the search process, as we seek God’s will for the future of Richwoods.