Oak Hills Church Alamo Ranch went through a lead pastor transition in October 2020 and as a result, began an intentional search process to fill the role shortly thereafter. After much prayer, thought, deliberation, and more prayer, we are thrilled to announce that the OHC Alamo Ranch elder board has affirmed that Allen Thomas is called to be the lead pastor of OHC AR.
The OHC AR elders announced that affirmation on March 21st, 2021 to the OHC AR congregation and asked the congregation to join us in an additional 40-days of prayer and fasting.
We're thrilled about the future and the plans God has for our community of faith!
Elder Announcement | March 21st
During a trip to Ethiopia in 2007, Allen felt a call to ministry and attended Christ for the Nations Institute. He went on to earn a B.A. in Biblical Studies from The King’s University and is set to complete his M.A. in Theology and Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Over the past 10 years, Allen has held positions in various multi-ethnic and multi-generational churches. Prior to Oak Hills Church, Allen was part of a church planting network in New York City where he helped launch multiple local churches. He has grown to love San Antonio and is excited to see God’s hand at work in this city.
He resides in Helotes with his wife Crystal, son Ezra, and Madeline his daughter. In his spare time, you can find Allen changing diapers, watching documentaries, and working on his car.
Once we began the process of navigating a lead pastor search, the Alamo Ranch elders committed to taking the appropriate time to find the right candidate who they (and the candidate) felt was called to be the next lead pastor of OHC AR.
Simultaneously, and in partnership with the leadership of Oak Hills Church, a team of five individuals was developed with two purposes: (1) develop a revised plan for launching to independence (more here) and (2) develop a plan for hiring a new lead pastor. That launch team was comprised of: Greg Oefinger, Steve Green, Renee Navarro, Clarance Case, and Dan Snyder (in order: OHC Executive Pastor, OHC Elder, OHC Human Resources Director, Alamo Ranch Elder, Alamo Ranch Executive Pastor).
As the launch team was meeting, the leadership of Alamo Ranch approached Allen Thomas, asking him if he was interested in being considered for lead pastor. As a result of that initial conversation, Allen and Crystal (Allen’s wife) spent time praying and confirmed their desire and calling to lead OHC AR as lead pastor.
After a mutual decision to move forward, the Thomases and the AR elders entered a 40-day time of discernment through prayer and fasting. During that discernment time, the AR elders met with Allen Thomas in an interview setting. As a result of that interview, the AR elders and Allen sensed Allen was being called to be the lead pastor of AR. All parties agreed that an additional 40-day time of discernment through prayer and fasting with the AR congregation would be prudent. During that time the elders would allow for scripturally based objections to Allen being the next lead pastor of AR to come forward. Please submit all scripturally based objections to AR Executive Pastor, Dan Snyder.
Click here to read the lead pastor search proposal which was submitted by OHC AR executive pastor, Dan Snyder, to the OHC Launch Team.
Some of you missed the announcement from the elders on March 21st, and others of you have asked questions about the process. Put simply, the OHC AR elders unanimously agree that Allen is called to be the next lead pastor of OHC AR. That said, we believe it wise to spend an additional 40-days asking our community of faith to (1) pray for the Thomas family, (2) pray for our church, and (3) submit and scripturally based objections to the executive pastor, Dan Snyder.
I don’t know Allen that well
Allen has served at OHC AR for almost four years in the AR Worship Ministry and most recently, in Community Life. Despite his experience at AR, some of you may want to get to know Allen better. There’s a button to contact Allen below – email him, he’d love to meet with you so you can get to know each other!
Why no external search?
While in the 40-day discernment period, the elders discussed pausing the process with Allen Thomas in order to do a larger search process for the Lead Pastor position at AR. That said, the elders felt confident that Allen was being called to be the next Lead Pastor of AR and in order to be fiscally responsible and good stewards of OHC AR resources, the elders made the decision to forego an external search process which would likely cost OHC AR $15,000.
Who makes the hiring decision?
If, at the conclusion of the congregational 40-day period of prayer and fasting, the Alamo Ranch elders still sense Allen is called to be the next lead pastor at AR they will submit their recommendation to Travis Eades and Greg Oefinger the lead and executive pastors of Oak Hills Church. Ultimately, AR is still functioning as a campus of OHC and therefore, Travis and Greg have the final decision in whether or not to hire Allen as the lead pastor of OHC AR. Travis and Greg will also work alongside the Oak Hills Coordinating Board in the hiring process.
What about becoming an independent church?
We are still in the process of becoming an independent church as part of the Oak Hills Church Harvest Vision. In fact, we were supposed to become an independent church on September 1st, 2020 but postponed that launch date due to COVID-19 until January 1st, 2021. We then had a lead pastor transition so we decided to postpone the launch of our church indefinitely. More information will be shared about independence as it arises.
Who will make decisions under Allen’s leadership?
The topic of governance, eldership, and decision making at Oak Hills Church Alamo Ranch has been confused through the years. Let’s start with what we know. We hope and pray that every decision we make, from the type of garbage bags we purchase to the lead pastor of our church, is led by God – He is the ultimate leader of this church. Practically speaking, our staff makes the majority of day-to-day decisions at OHC AR. When there are decisions that need to be made involving theology, resources, or the future of the church the lead pastor is accountable to the elders. That leads to another question.
What is the role of Elders at our church?
The Elders are the overseers and shepherds of Oak Hills Church Alamo Ranch. They pray for our leadership, our congregation, and prayerfully consider large decisions mentioned in the previous section. They will often be the first to call, text, or visit you when you desire pastoral care. Lastly, the Lead Pastor is responsible and reports to the elders of OHC AR.
Tell us more about…
I am married to my beautiful wife Crystal and we live with our children Ezra, Madeline, and our Shar-Pei Mix, Bailey. Since getting married, we’ve moved across the country, had 2 kids (mostly Crystal), and lived in 4 different homes.
One of our biggest struggles in marriage was the news that our son Ezra would be born with a chromosomal abnormality known as Down Syndrome. While we initially felt unprepared to care for a child with special needs, we believe it is a calling that God has placed on our lives. Ezra has shown us there is a need for inclusion in the body of Christ. To care and love for those who are dismissed, ignored, and devalued by others is at the core of the Gospel message.
Your journey to America.
My family moved from India to the United States in 1998. Since then, I’ve lived in Houston, Dallas, and spent the majority of my time in New York. I’ve had the opportunity to serve the body of Christ in various contexts and look forward to all that God has in store for San Antonio, TX.
Hobbies: Basketball, cars, trying ethnic cuisines
San Antonio Restaurant: Sichuan House
Book of Bible: Romans
Person in the Bible, other than God: Peter
Movie: Remember The Titans
Current Album: Night Traveler Vol. 1
Sports Team: Brooklyn Nets