Bob Merritt, who has led Eagle Brook Church for 28 years, announced his plans to retire in March 2020.
He will retire on his 63rd birthday, March 1. In his announcement to the congregation Sept. 22, he said, “It's time for me to step aside and let younger people take over.” Merritt is not moving from his home in White Bear Township and plans to continue to be part of the church. He prayed about when to retire for two years. “No one asked me to leave,” he said. “I plan to continue to live here in retirement after March 1, 2020. I may do some speaking, writing and take more time for my family.” He also hopes to spend more time outdoors and with his dog, Blue.
Jason Strand, teaching pastor, plans to fill the senior leadership position. Merritt noted that Strand is an outstanding speaker, knows his Bible and has a wonderful wife and five children. Strand has already been recommended by the board and a church membership vote will be held Oct. 6, according to the church's website.
Eagle Brook is the eighth largest church in the nation, with eight campuses across the Twin Cities and a weekend attendance of about 28,000. The church's Rochester location launches the end of October.
Attendance was about 300 when Merritt began to pastor the church that began in White Bear Lake.
“I deeply love this church. Outside of my family, leading this church has been the greatest honor of my life,” Merritt stated. “What you and I are witnessing right now, is nothing short than a miracle from God. Many weekends, I end up in tears by what happens here. God continues to bless us and he’s changing lives every week. Look at what God has done—and we’re just getting started.”
Gene Johnson and Sara Marie Moore