After founding one of the area’s largest churches and serving the community of Folsom for over three decades, Brad Franklin is stepping down from his role as lead pastor of Lakeside Church, after what most consider to be a very successful and blessed 36-year run.
“Serving as Lakeside’s lead pastor has been one of the great privileges of my life,” said Franklin. “I love this community and I love that Lakeside has been able to serve and touch this community over so many years.”
Franklin now passes the baton to Lakeside’s incoming lead pastor. After a nationwide search for Franklin’s replacement, Lakeside selected Brian Becker, former lead pastor of Willamette Christian Church in West Linn, Oregon.
“I can’t imagine a better person to lead Lakeside into the future than Brian Becker,” said Franklin. “He’s wise, compassionate, faith-filled, and looking for ways to bring the good news of Jesus to our community.”
Franklin founded Lakeside Church in 1987. The church got a unique start, with Franklin, his wife, Donna, and family and friends conducting a telemarketing campaign, calling 5,000 households to invite them to the new church.
From its first gathering in the Eagle’s Hall in Historic Folsom with 55 in attendance, Lakeside has grown and now sits on 28-acres in the center of town at East Bidwell and Oak Avenue Parkway. The church has a significant presence in the community, partnering with organizations such as Twin Lakes Food Bank, Folsom’s Hope, and Powerhouse Ministries; sponsoring events in Historic Folsom; and hosting one of the community’s most beloved summer camps, Summer Blitz.
“I am honored and thrilled to continue the work that Brad and the people of Lakeside have established here in Folsom,” Becker said. “I am drawn to their love for this community, welcoming people from all walks of life, and providing hope found in following Jesus. I truly believe the future is bright for both this church and for our surrounding communities.”
As Franklin bids farewell to his familiar pulpit, all the community are happy for his much-earned retirement. At the same time, in classic bittersweet fashion, it seems just about everyone is sorry to see him go as well. Folsom Mayor Rosario Rodriguez was one of the first to talk with Folsom Times regarding Franklin’s departure.
“As we bid farewell to Pastor Brad, we cannot help but express our profound gratitude for his 36-years of ministry to the City of Folsom. These are 36-years of unwavering service and the countless lives he has touched, and for the love and prayer he has showered upon our community,” said Rodriguez. “In the words of Matthew 25:21, I believe that God would say to Pastor Brad, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
In any type of retirement of a public figure, it comes with reflection of the time the individual served in the community. It also comes with a look ahead to what lies in the future. Rodriguez touched on that as she continued to reflect on Franklin’s impact on the community.
“His retirement may mark the end of an era, but it is also the beginning of a new chapter in his life. We wish Pastor Brad a retirement filled with joy, peace, and the knowledge that his legacy of love and faith will continue to shine brightly in our hearts. He will also be remembered for the lessons he has taught us – to love unconditionally, to serve selflessly, and to have unwavering faith, added Rodriguez. “Thank you, Pastor Brad, for being a shepherd of our souls, a voice of our faith, and the heart of our community. Your love, wisdom, and faith have left an indelible mark on our lives. May God bless him abundantly in retirement, and may his legacy continue to inspire us all.”
Longtime Folsom resident Taryn Grows is a regular attendee at Lakeside Church. She has been sitting in what is known as the “amen corner,” for a decade now at the church she calls home after walking away from church for what she described as a “significant amount of time.”
“Brad has always referred to himself as a storyteller of the gospels. He has this way of creating an audible journey that transcends a 2000 year-old-book, as some may see it,” said Grows. “Brad is both the grounding force when it comes to bringing people together, and simultaneously a catalyst of light when you are in darkness. Beyond a legacy of his 30-plus years in this community as a pastor, he is an advocate of the human condition and meeting people where they are. Folsom is lucky God called him to plant here.”
Folsom resident Samantha Davidson is another Lakesider who is sad to see Franklin go but happy for him as well. Davidson, a longtime resident and Realtor in the city is very involved in the community, which is something she praises Franklin for through the years as well.
“Pastor Franklin’s partnership with the city has been a blessing to our community. His leadership and Lakeside Church’s heartbeat has always been to invest in our community,” said Davidson. “Lakeside Church has served breakfast and provided a gathering spot for Community Service Day volunteers. The church is the location of the annual State of the City luncheon, Twin Lakes Food Bank annual gala, and winter shelter housing with HART. I am grateful to be a part of a church that has always done this and will continue his legacy to love not just the congregation, but also serving the people.”
Franklin will remain on staff for another month, supporting and encouraging Becker, before his official last day on October 15. Moving into his retirement, he isn’t finished just yet. Franklin plans to launch a ministry called Church Hope, providing pastoral coverage for churches when their pastors need a sabbatical, so they can return restored, refreshed, and ready to serve.
Franklin also hopes to continue writing books, after publication of his first book, Good for You. He is also looking forward to continuing his involvement with Lakeside, one that will come with a different perspective from what he has seen the last 36-years.
“On Sunday Brian will become my pastor, as well as the pastor of Lakeside. I’m so excited to see how he leads Lakeside into the years ahead.”
Lakeside gathers on Sundays at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m., 745 Oak Avenue Parkway, Folsom, CA 95630. Lakeside offers ministries, events, and activities for adults, kids, and students.