After more than 25 years of leadership, Chris Dolson has announced that he will retire from his role as Senior Pastor of Blackhawk Church, culminating in the summer of 2021. Watch his message above.

Over the past several years, Pastor Chris, his wife Becky, and the Elder Board have proactively planned his succession. The Elders unanimously recommend that Matt Metzger, Lead Pastor of Blackhawk Downtown, transition to the role of Senior Pastor, subject to a congregational vote on March 8, 2020.

Chris would continue to serve as Senior Pastor in the meantime, while entering into a more strategic mentoring process with Matt to fully prepare for succession. The plan is for Charles Yu to move into the role of Lead Teaching Pastor under Matt’s leadership.

While we will all miss Pastor Chris very much, we are grateful to have this time of leadership transition with him. We celebrate his tremendous impact on Blackhawk and Madison. As a church, we embrace a bright future together as we continue to build a community that follows Christ in order to reach our community and the world with Jesus’ love.

A Conversation Between Chris and Matt


Pastor Chris and Matt reflect on ministry together over the years and discuss the leadership transition plan.


Join us at one of the following sessions to learn more about this leadership transition, get to know Pastor Chris, Matt, and Charles better, and have your questions answered. You may attend any session, regardless of which site you normally attend. Questions may be sent in advance during the registration process, or by email to

Sunday, Jan. 26 at 7:00 pm
Upper House, 365 E. Campus Mall
Event Complete – Registration Closed

Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 7:00 pm
5935 Astor Drive
Event Complete – Registration Closed

Brader Way
Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7:00 pm
9620 Brader Way


All are welcome. Please note that only members in attendance may vote (our bylaws do not allow for absentee voting). Learn about membership here.

Sunday, March 8 at 7:15 pm
Blackhawk Brader Way

You May Be Wondering

How did the decision for this leadership transition come about?

Is there more to the story?

Why a succession plan rather than an external search?

Why are we voting?

What is the plan for Downtown?

Tell us about Pastor Charles’ new role…

About Matt Metzger

Matt grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, while his wife Rachel grew up in Madison, attending Blackhawk Church from a very young age. They met at Wheaton College in Illinois, got married at Blackhawk in 1994, and then worked together in youth ministry at Matt’s home church in Ft. Lauderdale. Before moving to Madison, they served for three years at Peak 3, a high adventure ministry in Colorado.

Matt joined the Blackhawk staff in September 2000 as the College and Young Adult Pastor and began his role as Lead Pastor of Blackhawk Downtown in 2010. Rachel is on staff part time with the Weddings and Marriage Ministry. They enjoy using their gym membership, as well as staying active through doubles beach volleyball, wake surfing, and hiking. Matt and Rachel are both big fans of UW sports. They love spending time with their daughters Hannah and Leah, but also look forward to starting a new adventure together as empty nesters this fall.

About Charles Yu

Charles spent his early childhood in Taiwan and immigrated with his family to Southern California when he was ten. At UC Berkeley, he met his wife Serena and received a B.S. in electrical engineering. As they sojourned in Vancouver, British Columbia, Charles got his Master of Divinity at Regent College and worked as a minister to Chinese-Canadian college students. After moving to Madison in 1997, Charles  began attending Blackhawk and received his Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitics (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible) at UW-Madison.

Before coming on staff with Blackhawk Church, Charles enjoyed a teaching ministry with InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministries as a Campus Theologian. Serena currently teaches English in the Madison school district. They have two daughters, Kirstin and Nikki. In his spare time, Charles enjoys reading books on military history and barbecuing in his backyard.

The future is bright at Blackhawk. We honor Pastor Chris’ 25 years of devotion and look forward to God’s continued blessings in the months and years ahead.

For more information, email

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Middleton, WI 53562
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