January 15, 2023 was Vision Sunday across the House. Founding + Lead Pastors, Randy and Maribel Landis, announced that this year marks The End of an Era—and that they believe the time is right to prepare for the passing of the baton to the next generation!
Thirty-three years ago, God brought Pastors Randy and Maribel back to the Lehigh Valley from Tulsa, Oklahoma to plant Church On The Move with 14 people, eventually to become Life Church. They never imagined that in the years to come Life Church would grow into such a thriving faith community, having a significant impact both locally and internationally. In 2019, Dr. Frank Damazio spoke a word over our leaders proclaiming, "What you're building is not for Pastors Randy and Maribel—it's for you and your children." From that moment, they began the preparation.
As Pastor Randy Shared—
…after much prayer and careful, thoughtful consideration… with the affirmation from the Board of Trustees, the support of our Executive Leadership Team and our exceptional Campus Pastors… Maribel and I have chosen Jon and Andrea Schwartz to step into the role of Lead Pastors effective Sunday, Jan 7, 2024! Almost a year from today, Pastors Jon and Andrea will assume the role of Lead Pastors of Life Church. We are not only handing off the role of Lead Pastors, we are entrusting Pastors Jon and Andrea with a tremendously rich, profound history from which to build upon. We are confident that Pastors Jon and Andrea will lead Life Church into all that God has in store—and will continue to build on this legacy! They have our full support to assume the role of Lead Pastors in 2024!
Pastor Randy emphasized that they have no plans or intentions of leaving Life Church. They will remain on the team, seated on the front row cheering on Pastors Jon and Andrea and our incredible team of campus pastors. They will assume the role of Founders, assisting with teaching and preaching, as well as pouring themselves into the emerging generation of leaders.
Over the next few weeks, we'll be talking as a church family about Biblical transition through our Vision Series. Join us in praying for Pastors Randy and Maribel and their family, as well as Pastors Jon and Andrea and their family. Join us in praying, also, for the Executive Leadership team, staff, and Life Church family.
Vision Sunday transition announcement: full video.
During 2023 Pastors Jon and Andrea Schwartz will step into their final step of development working closely with both Pastor Randy and Pastor Maribel as well as their leadership coaches. In addition there will be opportunities for the church to connect more personally with Pastors Jon and Andrea at each campus.
Over the next 12 months, each of us can play a role in the success of this transition by PRAYING for Pastors Randy and Maribel, Pastors Jon and Andrea, their families and our church.
Eight years ago Pastor Jon and Andrea along with their daughters Anabelle, Charlotte and Stella walked into the doors of our previous main campus 1401 E. Cedar Street in Allentown Pennsylvania excited to start a new season in ministry. They had faithfully served another house for 20 years as volunteers, leaders and staff. They were excited to be on the front row of what Jesus was doing in the life of Life. They were ready to serve and to lead with palms wide open with a desire to be put in the field and tend to the sheep.
Pastor Jon was born in Brooklyn New York and moved to the Lehigh Valley in 1992. He is incredibly proud of his heritage, born to a Colombian mom and a Jewish American dad. His family said Yes to Jesus in 1992 and from that moment on his passion for Jesus was ignited. Pastor Jon was prophetically called into ministry at 17 years old and knew that it wasn’t for that moment but for the future. He went to college and earned a Bachelor's degree in Accounting/Finance, with a minor in Art, from Muhlenberg College, and began a career at Deloitte. While working a full time job he served at his local church in different leadership capacities eventually leaving the business world and stepping into full time ministry (fulfilling the call on his life). He was able to take the years of accounting, finance, business and leadership experience and couple that with a pastor's heart to develop his unique pastoral and leadership style. Pastor Jon served as Life Church’s Executive Pastor of Finance, along with leading the launches of many of our new locations.
Pastor Andrea is born and raised in the Lehigh Valley. As a young girl her and her sister lived in Easton and eventually they moved to Bethlehem and Nazareth. Her roots are deep in the Lehigh Valley which has fueled her passion to see the Lehigh Valley changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastor Andrea began her career as a School Counselor working in both the Jim Thorpe area and finally many years at Bethlehem Area School District. She has a Bachelor's degree from Bloomsburg University in Psychology and a Master's of Education in School Counseling from Lehigh University. Pastor Andrea serves as Life Church's Executive Pastor of Family Ministries.
Pastors Jon and Andrea love people something fierce, have a desire to see people healed and made whole through the transformational power of God’s word, His Holy Spirit and authentic community. Over the last 8 years they have served as the Campus Pastors of our Nazareth Location. They serve as a family, with their three girls, Anabelle (14), Charlotte (11), and Stella (8), and are long time residents of the Lehigh Valley.
January 2023 to December 2023:
Pastors Jon and Andrea lead alongside Pastors Randy and Maribel. Pastors Jon and Andrea visit and preach at all locations multiple times. Local meet and greets will be held to give everyone an opportunity to connect with them and their daughters.
Life Church’s Board of Trustees hold the final vote to install Pastor Jon as Life Church’s Lead Pastor and CEO as well as a voting member of the Board of Trustees.
January 7, 2024:
Passing of the Baton Service (Installation of Pastors Jon & Andrea Schwartz as Lead Pastors of Life Church).
Below are answers to a number of FAQs related to the upcoming leadership transition. If you have additional questions, please direct them to your Campus Pastor.
When will the leadership transition occur?
Pastors Randy and Maribel will continue to serve as Life Church’s Lead Pastors throughout 2023 and will transition out of the Lead Pastor role to the Founding Pastor role effective January 7, 2024.
Is Pastor Randy transitioning due to any health-related issues or concerns?
No. Pastor Randy remains in good health and is not transitioning due to any health-related issues or concerns.
Does Pastor Randy plan to retire?
"After planting and pastoring Life Church since 1990, we feel led to pass the baton to the Next Generation sooner than later. Our ceiling has become their platform. We plan to fully support the New Lead Pastors and the team, providing wisdom, advice and counsel, preaching on occasion and sitting on the front row cheering them on."
—Pastor Randy Landis
What will Pastor Randy be doing after January 2024?
After Pastor Randy transitions out of his role as Lead Pastor, he will occupy the seat of Founding Pastor and will remain as the President of Life Church’s Board of Trustees. He will also work closely with Pastor Jon in an advisory/consultative role as well assist in coaching/mentoring of young leaders and ministers in Life Church’s network.
"Having served in the local church for 33 years, I desire to serve ‘the least of these’ in marginalized communities around the world for as long as I have strength. In 2020, we launched RINO Global Solutions—a multi faceted organization that assist local churches and nonprofits to expand their global footprint. After the loss of our beloved son Randall Landis, Natalie and I launched the RINO Foundation in memory of her brother.
Our entire family is excited about the future of Life Church and it’s been the honor of a lifetime to serve you as Senior/Lead Pastors for over three decades! Like Paul, we have fought the good fight, we have remained faithful and have finished the race." —Pastor Randy Landis
What will Pastor Maribel be doing after January 2024?
Pastor Maribel will remain on Life Church’s paid staff as the Executive Pastor of Creative/Worship working closely with Pastor Jon and the Executive Leadership to continue the rich history of raising up the next generation of worshippers.
Will Pastors Randy and Maribel continue to preach after the transition?
Pastors Randy and Maribel will absolutely have opportunities to preach at all Life Church’s locations.
Are there plans to appoint new Campus Pastors at the Nazareth location?
Pastors Jon and Andrea will continue to be the Nazareth Campus Pastors through 2024 supported by an incredible pastoral, leadership and preaching team.
Will Life Church change as a result of the transition?
Over the last 33 years under the leadership of Pastors Randy and Maribel Life Church has built a strong foundation. We will continue to build on that foundation while honoring the vision, mission and core values (DNA) of who Life Church is and has always been.
What does the future of Life Church look like?
The future is bright! We see a church that continues to thrive in the Lehigh Valley, Berks County and beyond.
What was the process for determining who would serve as Life Church’s next Lead Pastor(s)?
Over the last few years Pastor Randy has not only prayed for supernatural wisdom for the selection of the next Lead Pastors but he has received counsel from some of the most influential church leaders in the country. After a clear prompting from the Holy Spirit and affirmation from the Board of Trustees and other influential pastors/leaders and the support from the Campus Pastors, Pastors Jon and Andrea engaged in a comprehensive leadership/pastoral development process. They have been mentored individually and as a couple by some of the best of the best.
How can I pray for the Landis and Schwartz families, and for our church?
Pray for God's wisdom, direction, and guidance for our staff and leadership teams as we navigate this year of transition. Pray specifically for Pastors Randy and Maribel and Pastors Jon and Andrea—for God's hand of protection and favor to be on them. Pray for their marriages, and for their children and grandchildren. Pray for their spiritual, emotional, and physical health.