A grandson of Billy Graham has been nominated to succeed the late D. James Kennedy as pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A pastoral search committee on Jan. 18 gave the congregation its recommendation of the Rev. Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of nearby New City Church, as Coral Ridge's next senior pastor.
Tchividjian, the son of Gigi Graham, the evangelist's eldest daughter, seems ready to consider the position as long as he can bring his current church members with him.
"Because he is committed to his congregation at New City Church, he has requested, and the (pulpit nominating committee) has agreed, to consider merging the two churches," the Coral Ridge search committee announced on the church's web site.
The search committee considered more than 150 candidates to succeed Kennedy, who died in 2007 at the age of 76.
On his blog on New City's web site, the 36-year-old Tchividjian said the decision, which will be preceded by joint meetings on legal, financial and structural issues, will be up to God.
"Only if agreeable terms on all of these fronts can be reached and those terms approved by both church sessions would the two become one," Tchividjian said. "This due diligence process is not simply a formality to ‘close a deal' that's already been made. All of us are willing to walk away at a moment's notice if God says ‘stop.'"
Coral Ridge has given Tchividjian 30 days to consider the invitation, and if an agreement between the churches can be reached, he will preach at the church and then be voted on by the congregation.
Tchividjian, an author and radio broadcaster, is one of Gigi Graham's seven children. His father, Stephan Tchividjian, who is divorced from Graham, attends New City Church, said Lana Trombly, Tchividjian's assistant.
Started in 2003, New City attracts about 500 worshippers each week and meets in a high school in Coconut Creek, Fla. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
Coral Ridge has about 1,800 regular worshippers and is affiliated with another conservative denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America.