Pastoral Transitions

Each summer brings a number of transitions in the Great Plains UMC. Clergy are appointed to new congregations and, likewise, congregations receive new pastors. Moving brings forth many goodbyes for the pastors themselves, their families, and the churches they’ve served. But it also creates opportunities for each to start again. Isaiah 43:19 (CEB) speaks words to all those in transition: “Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?”

Moving resources

Moving terminology, tasks and tips
How to pack like a pro
Hazardous materials
Suggestions for pastors and PPRCs
The right start
Items to leave for arriving pastor
First 100 days plan
New appointment checklist

The transitioning process isn’t just up to the pastor. Leaders in churches also contribute to making a smooth transition process for the church and prepare the way for the newly appointed pastor to begin well. All transitions ought to be experienced with much prayer by all involved. They truly can be periods of time where seeds of new life are planted. The first several months of a new appointment often set the whole trajectory of one’s ministry in a new congregation.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best resources that we’ve found on pastoral transitions, for both clergy and for congregations, for saying goodbye and saying hello. We’ve also recorded two conversations that took place in the context of the Transition into Ministry program. The videos (below right) include a presentation by Bob Potter, church administrator at Emporia (Kansas) First UMC, about best practices by clergy from the perspective of the church members remaining in the congregation and a panel discussion moderated by the Rev. Nancy Lambert, director of Clergy Excellence and assistant to the Bishop of three clergy speaking about their experiences with transition.

 

Creating a Transition Team in your Local Congregation

The importance of starting well cannot be overstated: the first three months of a pastor’s appointment to a new congregation often set the tone for that pastor’s whole ministry in that church. A crucial aspect of this transition is the relationship between the pastor and the lay leaders of the church.


Download video.

One way to build this relationship is by creating a Transition Team made up of church members whose purpose is to strengthen the pastoral transition by providing insight, advice and support to the pastor through the first year of ministry in a new congregation. This FAQ sheet can provide some guidance for the formation of a Pastoral Transition Team for your congregation in the months ahead. View a sample agenda for your first Transition Team meeting.

We have provided a 20 minute video that can be used to introduce the vision of the Transition Team. It can be used at the first meeting or viewed by team members prior to the first meeting.

For questions about best practices related to Transition Teams, contact the Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford at aalleycrawford@greatplainsumc.org or 402-464-5994, ext. 117.


Resources

Videos


Final sermons prior to moving *

Ending Well
Start with a good ending
Acknowledge loss
The 4Ps
Ending well *
Starting well *
Final sermons prior to moving *
Discerning when to move *

Balancing current and new churches *

Uncertainty
Facing uncertainty
Starting well by asking questions
Questions and answers
Transition teams
How long does uncertainty last?
Discerning when to move *
Balancing current and new churches*
Dealing with inherited issues *
When to take time off *

Starting Well
Facing uncertainty
Starting well by asking questions
How long does uncertainty last?
First Impressions
The 4Ps
The beginning
Early interactions
Establishing relationships
Starting well *
Balancing current and new churches*
Dealing with inherited issues *
When to take time off *

* denotes panel discussion

 

About Appointments

What, exactly, plays into the decisions the bishop and cabinet make when appointing a pastor to a mission field? Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and the district superintendents have provided a document to explain the factors they consider as they do their best to match up clergy with churches. Download the document.

For clergy

For congregations

For purchase

Scripture for a season of transition