John and Debbie Lindell have announced plans to step down as pastors of James River Church, the Springfield megachurch they founded more than three decades ago. The leadership transition to their children will take place over a four-year cycle that will see the Lindell’s sons and their daughters-in-law become co-lead pastors starting in 2027.
“One of the surprises in our ministry has been blessing and the joy of getting to work with our kids — David, Brandon and Savannah,” Debbie Lindell said. “When we started this journey, we honestly never imagined that it would be possible,” she told Charisma Magazine.
John Lindell said he has watched his children become “great leaders and skilled communicators” in the 12 years of ministry they have worked together. “What has been made clear is that God has prepared them, and is preparing them, for a new season of leadership,” he said.
The elder Lindells are not leaving ministry, however, because they plan to stay on staff and continue to serve the church.
“When that transition takes place, John and I will continue to serve right here at James River Church on the team in a new role to help move the vision forward,” Debbie said. “When James River was starting, we knew it was with a mandate to reach the next generation. Through the years, your willingness to embrace change has helped keep the church vibrant and its ministry effective.”
James River Church has amassed a weekly crowd estimated around 12,000 and has been the site of many declared miracles. Recently, a woman shared that her toes miraculously re-grew when guest speaker Bill Johnson of Bethel Redding asked if anyone was in need of a “creative miracle.” After Johnson’s inquiry, 46-year-old Kristina Dines, who lost three toes in 2015 when her now ex-husband, Stephen Thompson, broke into her home with a 12-gauge shotgun and shot her, spoke up saying she needed three toes to grow back.
“Inoperable brain cancer, deafness, muscle tears, rotator cuff injuries, migraines, nerve injuries,” John said. “People are coming from around the country to simply be prayed over . . . in some services we just have people move to stand in the aisle, and they’re being healed.”
Former James River Church staff members have started other churches, including Summit Park Church in Lee’s Summit.
–Alan Goforth | MV