Pastor Andrea Beyer served as a TIM Associate Pastor at West Heights United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas from 2013-2015.
It is hard for me to believe, but I am nearing the end of my first stage of the Transition into Ministry program. It seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago that I started here at West Heights UMC as an associate pastor, and yet here I am, already making my preparations to leave in just a few short months.
I have learned a great deal about ministry in my time here, and have been mentored by an amazing senior pastor as well as the entire staff and congregation. They have allowed me to learn and grow, and have been supportive along the way. Looking back at my first sermon here, and looking at my most recent, I certainly have come a long way. My congregation has been quick to let me know all about that in recent weeks! I appreciate that they endured my first shaky sermons, gave me gentle and helpful feedback, and have allowed me to grow into who I am as a pastor.
My goal in joining the Transition into Ministry program was to gain hands-on pastoral experience within the context of a supportive congregation and with supervision and mentors to help me as I learned and grew. I left seminary almost two years ago now with a lot of great theological and theoretical knowledge, but without much practical understanding of what full time pastoral ministry really is. Now that I am on the cusp of moving on to be a solo pastor, I feel far more ready to lead a church than I did a year and a half ago. I also recognize that I still have room for growth, but I am now prepared to go forward and lead well.
Through the TiM program I have met a great deal of people from all over our conference, and in their many different roles. I have a much greater understanding of what our “connectional system” means, and how to utilize that for the benefit of the church at large.
I am currently working on finishing well here at West Heights UMC, and am looking to begin well at Paola UMC in July. I have been working with my current senior pastor, staff, and congregation to set the path for whoever will be following me while also beginning a series of goodbyes. I am working to make sure all the ministry areas I am involved in will transition smoothly.
I am also working with my new church and the outgoing pastor there as he ends well so that I can enter and begin my ministry there strong and with good foundation. I already appreciate the clear and direct communications we have had, and look forward to continuing those conversations, in person, by phone, and by email, in the months to come. I appreciate having been contacted in regards to our summer Vacation Bible School plans so that I can participate in my first few weeks knowing already what I have been signed on for. The outgoing pastor was gracious enough to share information with me early on, and allowed me some say in when VBS would occur, and how I would participate so that I wasn’t surprised come July. I look forward to more of these conversations as my start date and his end date nears.
Transitions are by their very nature stressful times in our lives. I appreciate the Transition into Ministry program and how it has helped me transition well into what I hope to be a lifetime of ministry. I strongly believe that with it, I am now and will continue to be a better pastor. I appreciate the outgoing pastor leaving well so that I may start strong and lead well as I enter my first full-time solo appointment. I hope and pray that I can continue to follow the lead of the pastors who have mentored me and continue to grow, continue to lead well, and continue to end well whenever I transition out of any appointment.