Pastor Fachman retiring from Meridian Baptist

By Jamie Schnell

Dana Fachman, the pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in South Knoxville, is retiring at the end of the year, after 35 years of service to his church and the community. Before that, he served at Leawood Baptist in Memphis for ten and a half years, making his total ministry tenure 45 years. Pastor Fachman started at the age of 23 and has served in only two churches, which as he says, “created stability” for his family.

Originally from Memphis, he and his wife Charlotte, whom he has known since he was 12, attended and married at the same church 46 years ago. On their honeymoon to East Tennessee, they “fell in love with the mountains, the area, and the people,” moved there and Pastor Fachman began serving at Meridian Baptist, which was established on Chapman Highway in South Knoxville in 1953. Charlotte has also been involved in the church nursery, missions, education in discipleship coordination, and Women’s Ministry, and, according to Pastor Fachman, has been the “perfect pastor’s wife.”

When asked what contributed to his longevity in ministry, Pastor Fachman shared, “Gracious people, good and loving people.” He further explained how the community has been a second family supporting them and their three children since the beginning of his ministry at Meridian Baptist.

“As a pastor, I let them know I have the same battles as they do as I walk with them. God has transitioned me into the role here as a pastor shepherd, a teacher of the word, an educator with encouragement, and to speak the truth in love. And I hope that’s what I did.”

Regarding his upcoming retirement, the pastor plans to “take some time” but has a list of things he wants to do and to stay active in the community: invest in writing, continue to do bible studies, travel, photography/photo restoration, hike, scuba dive, study family history, and watch his grandchildren play soccer.

“The toughest thing about stepping away from ministry is it has been the center of our lives; our family is here, my children and grandchildren. This will be a major transition for my immediate and spiritual families here.”

A committee, made up of church leaders the pastor “trusts implicitly,” has reviewed over 140 resumes to find a new pastor. “I’d like to see someone who is younger, of integrity, and has the perspective of seeing the potential in the church. God continues to bless us, and there’s great potential for growth here to reach more people, a lot of room for a new pastor to come in and grow”, said the pastor.

“It will be quite a transition. But I hope, in 35 years, I’ve touched some lives. Ministry is not growing a facility; your ministry is people, and you hope that the influence you’ve had in people’s lives will continue and then multiply to other people. I’ve enjoyed watching people grow up in the Lord and mature and see their families grow.”

The church is hosting a retirement reception to honor Fachman and his wife Charlotte on Saturday, November 11, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. in the Meridian Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, and a special service of Gratitude and Thanksgiving honoring them will be held on Sunday, November 19, at 10:50 a.m. Both current and former members and friends are invited to attend these events.