Dad Resigns from Southwest

Because my family is well known to many Omaha residents, it fits the purpose of this blog to mention that this weekend, my father resigned as Lead Pastor of Southwest Community Church in Indian Wells, CA. This resignation was due very simply to the elders’ determination that the church needed a new season of leadership. There’s no back story, no hidden conflict, no underlying issues… just a mutual decision that one season has ended and another is beginning in the leadership and direction of the church.

The Desert Sun carried a story on the resignation today that includes statements from Dad and from the elders at Southwest.


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  1. We have really enjoyed having your father Bob Thune as our lead Pastor. He is a great man and we are going to miss him on the weekends. Your mom is a great lady also. God Bless to Bob and Ruthie Thune, may he watch over them and their family with the direction God has for their lives.

    • Lorna and I live in the Vancouver area of BC,we go south every winter and always looked forward to Sunday’s at South West.Bob is a man of God’ the Lord gave him a gift of sharing the gospel in a powerful way.We are going to miss him a lot

  2. Thanks for sharing Bob. Looking forward to seeing where God will next call your parents to serve. It was nice to read his familiar benediction – I can still hear him saying those words with arms outspread.

  3. It is obvious to the congregation that Bob was unfairly “fired” by the board. The only question that remains is WHY?

    Many of us are NOT happy and do NOT support this decision.

    Bob is a great man, an extraordinary Pastor, and undeserving of this fate.

    • I agree that Bob Thune was unfairly fired. I am not happy over this decision. My wife have and I been helping support the church for a couple of years and were getting close to joining. We may not attend anymore.

      • We too were shocked and surprised to read in the Sunday morning paper about your Dad’s resignation. We were so upset we did not attend any of Sunday’s church services. The email sent to the membership by the Elder Chairman was vague and the question of WHY? was sent to the Elder members with NO response thus far. We are considering leaving the church also. We have attended Southwest since it’s humble beginnings on Hovley in Palm Desert. Bob & Ruthie you are in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless!

  4. Bob and Ruthie,
    Thanks for all the love, education and blessings you have been to us at Southwest over the past seven years.

    It seems only yesterday when you took the time to meet with each member of the staff privately to get to know them.

    May you both continue to thrive richly in the Grip of God’s Grace in watever He has planned for you in the future.
    Love and blessings

  5. We are so saddened to see your parents leave our church. They brought high moral standards, integrity, honesty, and most important made God and HIS word the foundation of SWCC again. Our prayers are with them and it’s our hope that God’s will is to let them stay.

  6. We will certainly be praying for dear Bob & Ruthie as they determine what the Lord has in store for them next. I know God will continue to use them for His glory! We send our love and prayers to them.

  7. We sure don’t like to see Bob and Ruthie leave up but they brought us out of a big dark hole in which we all are truly greatful. Warren and Nihra

  8. I was quite surprised to hear this news Sunday. I’ve visited the church since moving to the Valley in March searching for the place God has for me. Pastor Thune greeted me my first Sunday which really impressed me because I had no idea he was the senior pastor until he took the pulpit…seemed very genuine and down to earth. I’m sure God will continue to use him to HIS glory and not that of man….be blessed

  9. Pastor Bob and Ruthie are the greatest. As a member of Southwest Community Church I will continue to pray for them, and I will continue to support the leadership of SCC. God is in control!

  10. We were all so stunned by this news. A wave of sadness and shock fell over the congregation yesterday on the heels of this announcement. I have deep respect for the place Bob and Ruthie have taken Southwest during their tenure. They will be greatly missed.

  11. Pastor bob and Ruthie have been such a wonderful example of loving the congregation and sharing the “WORD”. RUTHIE HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN WOMEN’S MINISTRIE AND I HAVE TAKEN SEVERAL BIBLE CLASSES FROM HER TO MY BENEFIT. I do not know any details of why or how this all came about..It is our loss.
    I have been in Prayer since I received the word that they are leaving. I am so sad but will depend upon the Lord to guide and direct their decisions and be a comfort to them. Just want Pastor Bob and their families to know how much they have done for Southwest and how much they will be missed.We love them both very much

  12. Your Dad & Mom will be greatly missed. I’ve enjoyed the 7 years that he has been my pastor. He was a breath of fresh air that our church desperately needed. I thoroughly enjoyed his sermons and his style of preaching. My husband and I are both sad to see him go. We’ll be praying for him and the next lucky congregation he blesses next.

    • I know how you feel. He was my pastor for almost 20 years. He and Ruthie are an amazing couple and are still greatly appreciated for the many years they have ministered to me.

  13. My family and I love what Pastor Bob and Ruthie have done for the church. I do not feel that God is behind this decision and I really what to know what this “new season” means for our church. Leaving church on sunday was like leaving a funeral and I don’t feel like the Elders have taken into consideration how the body of the church feels about losing such and AMAZING bible preaching pastor. I wish them the best and I am very sad to see them leave.

  14. Helene and I as members of SWCC are extremely disappointed in the board’s decision.

    I think this is a mistake and am not happy that members were not given an opportunity to express their wishes. We feel betrayed. I’m sorry to say that but that is how we feel. This was a huge decision we should have been included.

    Bob Thune is a wonderful man of God and we love his preaching and teaching.

    Yes, we agree that God is in control and that it is His church but we also believe that God exercises both His perfect will and His permissive will. This seems to us to be permissive, ie giving in to the wishes of a board which is only made up of a few people and in this case doesn’t truly represent the will of the members.

  15. My time at SCC began shortly after Bob took over. He is the most inspirational pastor I have ever known. Thanks to Bob, I have been inspired to evangelize Jesus Christ by inviting dozens of people to attend SCC. Sadly, some have already started talking about “never going back to THAT Church.” I think we need a better explanation as to why the greatest church in the Valley just fired one of the greatest pastors on earth!

  16. We were not in attendance at church on Saturday evening. Our son texted us as we were returning from Arizona Sunday morning. He knew as soon as he read the morning paper that this did not feel right. We started attending the church full time last fall after attending another valley church for the past 23 years. Your father has been a HUGE reason why we’ve enjoyed getting to know the church and the people there. We believe he is a great lead pastor and know he has truly lead this church from their rocky past. We do hope this all works out for the best for your parents. We will truly miss them if they leave. Our desire is that HIS will be done.

  17. Of all the Pastors I have heard and there are many fine one’s in Southern CA, Bob Thune is my favorite. I look forward to my weekend trips to Palm Desert where I have had the privilege of attending a church where he is Lead Pastor. I will continue to follow Pastor Thune via the internet as many do now that I have referred.
    As for his resignation, it sadly looks like one of those political things that we hope is not part of a church. Of all the pastors, God brought Pastor Thune to Southwest seven years ago as a much needed stabilizing leader and within that time Southwest retired $13 million in debt. Now with a poor economy churches are feeling it as well. While Southwest is stable I hope the elders are not blaming Pastor Thune for not meeting their financial expectations and forgetting about how God has honored Southwest under his leadership and I’m sure would have continued to do so. While we all know things happen on God’s time it is easy to forget. Perhaps it is the large expansion project that is making some uncomfortable. While I understand being conservative especially during these difficult times, isn’t this when people need church’s with infrastructures that can support them the most? I feel Pastor Thune’s messages on this have been according to God’s will by praying and then see what God wants.
    Perhaps the reason(s) for Pastor Thune’s resignation is not related to any I have discussed but I do know that especially during time’s of uncertainty as we are now in, people need stability for than ever, not a season of change.

  18. As I said to you on Facebook, our loyalties should not be with either Bob of SCC. Our loyalty should always be ONLY to the Living God

    • Dave – Wouldn’t examining the decisions of your church leaders/elders (even retrospectively) – in light of the Gospel, for the good of the Gospel – not in a spirit of divisiveness, qualify as “loyalty to the Living God”?

      • Deanna, sorry I hadn’t seen your question before today. You are absolutely correct that the decision should be reviewed in that spirit. Last night, I attended a meeting with the Elder Board and received info on all the “Whys”, not necessarily agreeing with them. I still think that there is, hmmm….”rotten in the state of Denmark”. Not really that bad, there is still stuff not being revealed or discussed. I was amazed that the “interim” whatever was dressed the way he was, (disrespectful to those in attendance), and was very, very smoooooth.

        What God has in store for SCC or for Bob & Ruthie, remains to be seen. Pray, Deanna, pray.

  19. Seven years ago my wife and I experienced something special when Bob Thune delivered his first sermon. We immediately realized that this man was special. Through the years our lives have been nurtured by his ethics, morality, and the ability to deliver Gods word in an exceptional way. As a church, I believe that if there were any changes and or concerns as to the health and direction of SWCC, the congregation should have had some input. Transparency has not been at the forefront of the elders. We as a church need to come together with the elders and make it known that decisions of this magnitude would best be handled in an open, Godly forum. Southwest has ‘community’ in its name for a reason. Tell Jesus, Ghandi, and Nelson Mandela that one man does not make a difference. Bob Thune is OUR pastor. We did not choose to have him ushered out of our church. I agree that my loyalty is always with the Living God however, is this mans doing or is God convicting us to stand up for what is just? Realizing that Pastor Bob will probably never return due to his love and respect for the church, I have some sincere concerns about the backlash of so many broken hearts. We all wish Bob and Ruthie exceptional blessings wherever God leads them.

  20. My wife and I are snowbirds and only spend the winter in the Palm Springs area. Southwest is our church in the winter. The reason that we attend is because of Pastor Bob’s teaching. God has gifted him with the ability to communicate His word that can be understood by anyone in the audience. One of the things that I appreciated about Bob was that at EVERY service or public gathering at the church he would give an invitation to accept Christ. How often does that happen elsewhere? We were both shocked to hear the pastor Bob had “resigned”.

    We wish both Bob and Ruthie God’s blessing and direction.

  21. The pain expressed here is palpable and certainly understandable! I just now read a quote that Robert Murray M’Cheyne is reputed to have said to ministers: “What your people need most from you is your personal holiness.” Yes, yes. This is the mark of the Thune family that I know, and God gets the glory.
    My best advice to the distraught members of Southwest is to 1) THANK GOD for Bob and his part in the story of your church/life and 2) WAIT to see what God’s plan is next – hello, there is a plan! In the meantime, what is God teaching you?
    I’ll keep praying.

  22. Praying for where God wants Bob and Ruthie to be. I pray they feel the love of so many who care very much for them. God is in control and will put them where hearts are open. God bless them both and continue to bless all of the lives they have touched.

  23. I am in complete agreement with the messages on this page that express so much gratitude and respect to Pastor and Mrs. Thune… and the words of complete confusion as to WHY this has happened. This appears more about the will of a few men and less about the will of God. If there is another explanation that takes this to a place where it makes sense, then I wish someone would give it to us. Can you back leadership that tosses someone aside who has done so much? Can you back leadership that doesn’t appear to care about the impact of its actions on the church body? That is a big question for my family in the coming days. My faith is in God and I have to be at a church where I really believe HE is leading. Sometimes in life we are faced with choices we don’t want to make, but must choose to stay comfortable and wrong or take more difficult road because it is right. 11 years is a long time to be at a church, but right now I need to know it’s where we should be for another 11. God has big plans for the Thunes, I am absolutely convinced!

  24. We have been members of Southwest Community Church for 15 years and are stunned by Pastor Bob’s departure.
    Since our elders did not communicate any of their evaluation process to us we are in the dark.
    We love Bob and Ruthie deeply and our heart is broken.

  25. Coming from a season of growing, knowing that our Lord Jesus had sent Pastor Bob Thune & his faithful & God fearing family, Pastor Bob a man after Gods own heart, Leading our Church with integrity, and calling on the saints of our Lord Jesus, to read the word daily, serve, love one another … Most of all honor God, and trust him, no matter what… Isaiah 41:9-10…Amen I will seek the Lord who answers, and hears my cries out to him Jonah 2:2

  26. Bob, we have attended SWCC almost all of the seven years your dear dad and mother ministered to us here in the desert. We love them dearly. My take on this thing – “the Elder’s determination that the church needed a new season of leadership” just doesn’t make sense. First of all when taking in consideration the recently past season of slaying Goliath and the present season of a debt-free building program….. what more could we ask for? Usually leadership is removed and replaced after unsuccessful seasons, not after championship seasons as we have just enjoyed. I have a question for the Elders…..just what competencies for this new season are required that Bob does not possess”? If there are any, I’m sure through prayer and God’s help we could deal with them. A senior pastor cannot be all things to all people, only God can be that. Bob possesses so many qualities that are needed in his position. We will be hard pressed to replace his sermon preparation and delivery. He has truly been a God-send to SWCC. I’m sure that some fortunate church and community will scoop Bob and Ruthie up to help lead them just as they helped lead us. My prayer is that the members of the Elder Board will, indeed, help lead SWCC in “their new season”. Although it seems at this time a disservice has been done to Bob, Ruthie and SWCC. May God in His infinite wisdom help rectify this situation.

  27. We were members of Christ Community Church in Omaha when Bob and Ruthie were there. We moved and they moved and now we’re in the Washington DC area. I just wish that God’s plan would include moving Bob and Ruthie to the DC area so we could hear Bob’s wonderful, biblical, humble teachings again!
    I pray for healing for SCC and hope you can all dwell on the great lessons Bob shared and the pure joy that Ruthie brings to each interaction. While in their congregation my husband and I were baptised together at a Sunday night service. Their ministry will always be important to our family and God will continue to use them to touch so many more lives.

  28. I cling to the mid year resolutions that Pastor Bob gave us in his last escoop…

    Be it resolved that we:
    Trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6)
    Love one another (Galatians 5:13-15)
    Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)
    Watch our attitude (Ephesians 4:31)
    Let no unwholesome word proceed from our mouth (Ephesians 4:29)
    Be careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30)
    Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other (Ephesians 4:32)
    Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
    Give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
    Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

    Thanks for sharing your Mom and Dad with us, Linda

    hy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27).

  29. Still heartbroken over losing the finest Pastor SWCC has ever had. I know that a church is more than just the Pastor, but the seeming abruptness of his decision to resign is so hard for me to reconcile. What happened? I don’t feel closure in losing this beloved couple. I’m just to chalk it up to a “change of season”? Please pray for SWCC – especially now!

  30. Hello Bob! Was just made aware of the resignation of your dad from Southwest. Since moving to Michigan three months ago, I guess I was prone to get news slowly. I have kept up on the happenings of Southwest as I love to hear your father preach the Bible in a very informative and practical way. We sure missed him when he left CCC and know that God has used him to make a difference in Southern California. I know that God has big plans for your dad in His kingdom work in the future. Also, I know he left a great legacy with you and Jeff, as both of you are great leaders of your households and in the congregations you serve. Thanks for your faithful service to Coram Deo and to the community of Omaha. Please forward this onto your dad if you would like, as I would like to thank him for his continued service to the mission of Christ both locally, nationally and around the world.

  31. Like most of you, we came back from vacation to find Pastor Bob gone. We feel that as a body we voted Bob to be our pastor and we have the right to know why he was let go. We are taught every part of the body is equally important but this does not seem to be the case. If Pastor Bob felf the Lord leading him somewhere else we stand behind him. If it were a problem the body could pray for guidance and maybe find a solution. We will dearly miss Pastor Bob’s
    preaching. He had a great impact on our church and
    our community. This is like when I lose a pair of shoes to one of my kids, my husband says “they must have needed them more than you.” Where ever Bob goes, someone must need him more than us. I know God will use him where ever he is placed.

  32. We returned to the desert in October. This was the first Sunday at church. We were saddened to hear Pastor Bob and Ruthie are no longer with S/W Community!

    May God bless them in their continued service with the Lord.

    We would like to know where the Lord will send them, as we enjoy Bob’s teaching and want to be part of his ministry.

    Bob and Ruthie you’re in our prayers!

  33. We had been out of town for some time when we learned your parents resigned…we were very grieved.

    We are interested to know what Pastor Bob and Ruthie are doing now. We would appreciate any info u can provide…we continue to pray for them.

  34. Bob and Ruthie came to our house on a meet and greet the neighbors when they first came to Southwest and we immediately grasped how real they were. We watched Goliath shrink and disappear, watched the sanctuary fill and prosper. Two years ago we moved from the desert and now have heard of this abrupt departure, tried to find out “why,” and now find a politically correct silence that seems arrogant and cowardly. Elders, when you treat adults like children, don’t be surprised at a certain amount of departures due to the failure to respect your congregation. If we were still in the desert, we wouldn’t be attending SCC.

  35. I’m looking for a new church in the valley:
    Never a regular church goer, I was a very occasional attendee at Southwest and, otherwise, not a church attendee anywhere else other than, sporadically, Trinity Presybterian Church in Santa Ana, CA. Drawn to Southwest because of Bob Thune’s seeming intelligence and character(devoted to God, stable, humble and trustworthy, open, refined yet very approachable) and his relateable, interesting sermons, there is currently no impetus to travel from Palm Springs to Indian Wells on Sunday morning. Even though I am a senior citizen, I looked up to Pastor Thune as a father figure for guidance and leadership. Of note: I was very impressed with Pastor Thune’s ability to lead the church out of its huge debt…along with his many other duties.

  36. We, like so many others above, were in shock when arriving back to the Valley this fall. Our first Sunday 7 years ago, was the Sunday that Bob was brought on-board. Loved his messages and loved the congregation. We have continued to attend while here in the area over the winters. Since we have never “joined” Southwest, we were not involved in any mailing from the Elders. We are full-time RVer’s and would love to know if Bob and Ruthie have taken a church elsewhere. We felt like we grew spiritually from Bob’s teachings. Would love to be apart of any church that God has sent them to or at least visit when traveling. What a loss for such a wonderful church.

    • I was advised yesterday by one of the women at he purpose center that Bob and Ruthie have returned to Nebraska.

      Bob is unemployed.

      His former Church of 22 years is supplying Bob and Ruthie a place to live until he finds work.

      Hope of all you attendees are proud of SWCC and the Elder Board.

      I am NOT and no longer attend.

      Merry Christmas to all,


  37. Thank you for this update. We too are very concerned regarding the outcome of SWCC. If you find that Bob and Ruthie take another church, please advise us. Would love to see them both and with our RV, we have the ability to do this.

    Thanks again.

    Barb and Bill McConnell

  38. Six months have passed since we lost this dearly loved couple and we have been praying that our hearts would heal by now. They have not. In reading all of these messages many times, we know we are not alone. “New Season” and “New Direction”. Yes Pam, you are right in stating that all we have received is the Elders politically correct silence which we agree is arrogant and cowardly! I might add that so many attendees returned to the desert and were shocked at Pastor Bob’s departure. Isn’t it interesting that this was carefully calculated to take place in July, rather then when the majority of attendees were in town. We have repeatedly asked for the truth and received no answers. I decided to list some of the words and phrases used to describe Pastor Bob Thune in these messages.

    Man of God
    Man of Integrity
    High Moral Standards
    A Blessing
    Man after God’s own heart
    Down to earth
    Breath of fresh air
    Great Teacher
    Stablizing Leader
    Bible teaching preacher
    High Moral standards

    and the best one of all, “One of the greatest Pastors on earth”. These words describe what we have lost! After seven years, we are no longer attending SWCC. We pray that the Lord will keep Bob and Ruthie in His tender care and fill their hearts with His peace.

  39. I just attended SWCC on Jan 8th (I don’t live here full time) and it felt different. Then another individual got up and preached. I came home and googled to find my fear was correct. Although I wish Southwest the best as I do believe God is working there, I think Pastor Bob should consider planting another church in the desert. Can you imagine two powerhouses in focus in the valley. Bob was special and I know God will use him again.

    • WOW! The next church who welcomes Bob as their Pastor will be very blessed!! It is obvious that Bob and Ruthie walk with God.
      Dave & Kathy Anderson
      Bismarck, ND

  40. Now that the sea has calmed could we know the whereabouts of Bob and Ruthie. As we travel this country we would love to visit their new assignment. Former attendees of SWCC and now on the East coast.

  41. Bob – wondering if your Dad & Mom have landed in another pastorate and if so, where is it? I appreciated his ministry in Omaha and then in CA.

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