Todd Wright seeks to build up next generation of leaders as he transitions from Midway Church


VILLA RICA, Ga. — When Todd Wright was called to Midway Church in 1996, he was recognized as an effective and passionate preacher. He also knew that a pastor was responsible for carefully shepherding the flock of God. But early in his ministry Wright realized that an effectual pastor must be skilled as a leader.

Midway Church's growth during Wright's tenure is a testament to God's grace and Wright's leadership. In the 30 years that Wright has been the pastor of the Villa Rica church the average attendance has grown from 200 to 2,500. The average age has changed from 60 to 34.

In explaining the evolution of Midway Church, Wright said, “When I became pastor, Midway was a very traditional, all-white, rural church, but they had a vision and spoke openly about reaching the younger generation. Today, we have a multicultural congregation with a much more contemporary style of worship, but are still very evangelistic, mission-driven, and Bible-centered.”

Wright describes the reasons behind the growth of the church. “The simple answer, of course, is God’s anointing. However, if that is all that’s required, I believe most churches would be growing. Interestingly, God has chosen that a human element plays a key role in the growth of the church. Leaders must lead.”

To Wright, proper leadership is crucial in every aspect of life, whether in the home, church, business, or government. Church leadership specifically requires certain characteristics such as diligence, humility, intentionality, and vision. The pastor, staff, and other leaders must collaborate with a loving and flexible membership committed to following the ones who lead.

Wright stresses the importance of properly leading oneself as well as others. “I’m the most important person I will ever lead, and the most difficult. It is easy for a pastor to simply coast and draw a paycheck today, if the members enjoy the sermons and the music and are not asked to change in any way. As someone has said, ‘It’s easy to become keepers of the aquarium instead of being fishers of men!’ The constant temptation to ‘settle’ is a massive challenge to resist over the long haul.”

One resource Wright recommends for pastors is Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod E. Bolsinger. The book revolves around the explorers Lewis and Clark and their attempt to find a waterway that would allow them to canoe to the Pacific Ocean. They had not counted on the Rocky Mountains being a barrier to their smooth sailing across the continent. They had to leave their canoes behind and find new means of navigating towards their goals.

Wright contends that pastors and churches must adapt to the elements that define a culture, but always remain committed to Biblical truth. He admits that he “found it hard to reach a culture that was no longer my culture, but we have a population today that doesn’t even know they are lost.”

Like practically every church in the nation Midway experienced a reduction in attendance after the COVID-19 epidemic. During that health crisis, Wright and his staff continued to minister to the people by calling members on the telephone and contacting them via social media.

Once the majority of members returned to church, the staff continued to contact those who were absent. At last, Wright declared, “We are not going to spend any more of our energy trying to get our members to come back. We need to focus on those who are lost and in need of a Savior.” That decision resulted in the church growing from 2,100 to 2,500 in the last five months.

In 2022 Pastor Wright committed to a three-year co-pastorship with the next pastor, Dr. Kevin Rivers. That transition will conclude in August 2025.

Wright says the transition is going well. “Attendance, baptisms, and offerings are at an all-time high, and the church has continued to show me and my family love, honor, and gratitude while embracing Pastor Kevin Rivers as the new pastor.”

For Wright, it was important that the church recognize River’s leadership right away, so he gave the new pastor his office on the very first day. ”I am responsible for the church’s past, and he is responsible for the church’s future,” Wright explained.

Rivers already leads the church staff, while Wright has transitioned into new responsibilities. Wright describes his role as four-fold. “I embrace the new pastor’s vision, encourage Midway’s mission partners, mentor and develop church leaders at Midway and around the world, and preach according to the pastor’s will.”

Midway Church has granted Wright a one-year sabbatical following the conclusion of the transition in 2025. During that time, he plans to rest, write, and travel. At the top of his agenda is the writing of a book on leading church, which will include the concepts of leadership he has lived by over the years.

Wright is transitioning from a healthy church and believes the future of Midway is bright and beautiful. Reflecting on the changes Rivers has already brought, Wright said, “Pastor Kevin’s vision is like mine in some ways, but uniquely different in others. Even at 36, he is so much better than I am in some areas and will take the church where I cannot. Most importantly, he has God’s hand on his life, and he is a diligent, humble, intentional, visionary leader. The people can see it and are willing to follow him. We trust God to do the rest.”

By the time Wright has completed this transition period he will be 60 years old, the age at which he believes a person’s legacy years begin.

It’s the point at which he says one moves from doing to teaching. “It’s a season to invest in the next generation the things we have learned throughout our life,” he explained. “With that in mind, I’m available to encourage, coach, and mentor younger pastors, younger men, and churches. I’ll be starting Better Legacy, Inc. to help with that cause. Every pastor, man, and church will have a legacy. I want to make it better!

“I really want to help pastors. I am looking for the pastor that is looking for me, and I am trusting God to put us together.”