On Sunday, 11/3, in our services, we had the opportunity to hear from Riccardo about how God has been moving in his life and what the next season of his life will look like.

For those who were unable to attend, Riccardo shared that he will be transitioning out of the lead pastor role at Redemption Tempe to pursue a full-time career coaching football – hopefully at the high school or collegiate level.

Watch the recording of the announcement HERE.

Or continue reading below to read Riccardo’s story, a note from our elder team, and some FAQs.

From Riccardo

As you have hopefully heard by now, I am transitioning from my position as lead pastor of Redemption Tempe to pursue a career as a coach. Why, you might ask?

The short answer is that I have always had a dream to coach and develop young men in football at a high school or collegiate level and that desire is now outweighing the desire to pastor and lead. Football has been a primary vehicle that God has used in my life to provide opportunities in leadership, relationships, and development. In high school it was more simply a sport I loved to play, but by the time I began playing at the collegiate level, this changed and I knew I had the desire to someday be able to pour out and provide the same opportunities for formation and development that I had when I was younger.

My original career after college was teaching and coaching before I transitioned to full-time vocational ministry. After years of coaching youth sports, I began coaching high school football again earlier this year, and the way my wife Holly described it was “something that had been dormant in me suddenly came alive” and that was specifically to lead and develop through coaching.

God has provided me an amazing 13 years in full-time vocational ministry, and I have cherished it. However, over many months as I have processed with my family, a few close friends, and the Redemption Church executive leadership team – the group of lead pastors who help steer the vision and direction for all of Redemption Church – it has been made clear that God is calling me to this new endeavor over the next season of life. It’s sad, scary, exciting, and fun all at the same time, yet knowing that my wife is in full support has been a blessing.

While it hasn’t been an easy decision for me and my family to come to, I will add that one of the easiest parts of the whole process has been knowing that Redemption Tempe couldn’t be in better hands. We have been in a process of re-forming our leadership structure and I feel confident about the leaders who are in place here to continue to lead the church.

You will hear more from them over the next few weeks with more details about what’s next, but as for me and my family, you can pray for continued wisdom and direction, closeness to the Lord, that God would open up desired coaching opportunities, and for rest before we fully enter into the next season of life.

We love you, appreciate your prayers, and thank you so much for the opportunity to serve in this role over the last 8 years.

From the Redemption Tempe Elder Team

Our elder team here at Redemption Tempe is working closely with the Redemption Church executive leadership team – made up of lead pastors who lead the vision and direction for all of Redemption Church – to finalize the details of our leadership structure, but one of Riccardo’s strengths has been to build a strong and cohesive team at Redemption Tempe and we all feel very confident about the leadership we currently have in place, that God is continuing to lead his church, and about the continued vision and direction of Redemption Tempe. Riccardo is transitioning from his lead pastor role after this Sunday.  However, he will be preaching again before the end of the year and we will find other ways to celebrate him together as a church.

We have always seen Jesus as the Lead Pastor of our church, and he has been faithful to lead, guide, and care for us throughout our history, even through other major transitions in the past. We are excited about the future, and while we will miss Riccardo we are confident in the leadership team God has provided for us and look forward to seeing what God has in store for us in the season ahead. 

We will continue to communicate information as it’s available over the next few weeks on Sundays during service, through email to members, and via our blog.

However, for the immediate future,  we will be focusing on supporting Riccardo and his family in the transition out of leadership and honoring and thanking him for the legacy that he is leaving behind. We have always emphasized the reality that “all of life is all for Jesus” and, therefore, we look forward to seeing how God uses Riccardo in this next role. We love him a lot and will miss him immensely, but we are also very excited for this next season of life for him, his family, and our church.


What happens next?

Riccardo is transitioning out of the lead pastor role effective immediately, and our elder team here at Redemption Tempe will continue to work closely with the Redemption Church executive leadership team to finalize details on our leadership structure moving forward. We will continue to communicate these details as they are decided to keep you all updated.

Also, Riccardo will preach one more time before the end of the year and we will be coordinating opportunities for us as a church to celebrate him,  which we will continue to communicate through announcements during Sunday services, our blog, the monthly event card, and our phone app.

Who is the new lead pastor?

We are working closely as elders with the executive leadership team for Redemption Church as a whole to pray through and discern the next steps moving forward. We will continue to communicate these specifics as soon as they become available.

Did Riccardo do anything wrong?

No, absolutely not. And this also wasn’t because he lost a bet to a UofA fan. 😉 Moreso, he has been a phenomenal leader who has done a great job and led our church with high integrity. We are grateful that God has blessed us with his leadership as a church community for the past 8 years.

Why is this happening so fast?

Riccardo and his family made the final decision and he began informing our leaders on October 23rd. We wanted to let you know as quickly as we could after we found out, and will continue to communicate the relevant details as they become available. 

Why is Riccardo leaving?

While he has loved his time as lead pastor at Redemption Tempe, he has always had the desire to coach football at the collegiate level. He has made the decision to transition from being lead pastor to pursuing a coaching job because he feels – through prayer, talking to his family, and seeking wisdom and discernment from others – that this season of his life in full-time vocational ministry is ending and he is moving into a season of pursuing this coaching career.

I’m in or work at a high school and I want Riccardo to be my P.E. and intramural flag football coach – should I start a campaign to get him hired?