Leading Topics: Paving the Way for Smoother Pastoral Transitions


Paving the Way for Smoother Pastoral Transitions

The transitional time when one pastor is leaving a church and another is picking up the mantel of their leadership is a critical chapter in the life of any congregation. It is also a key juncture in the ministry of any pastoral leader. Both outgoing and incoming pastors and the congregations they serve can make these transitions smoother if they recognize the opportunities and pitfalls that can accompany this transition. In this fifth Special 20th Anniversary Edition of Leading Ideas we share material from our extensive archives to help congregations welcome new pastors and help new pastors get off to a good start.

Honoring the Context of a New Ministry Setting

People meeting the new pastor

Lovett H. Weems Jr. says incoming pastors tend to see everything through the lens of their own experience, vision, and interests, rather than learning how things got to be the way they are. Good leadership is always about the group, not the leader, says Weems. So it’s important for new pastors to take time to understand the pulse of a new congregation. Read more now.

11 Questions for Getting to Know a New Congregation

People getting to know each otherRobert Harris suggests 11 proven questions to open meaningful dialogue so a new pastors can get to know their congregation. Read more now.

7 Suggestions for Welcoming New Pastors

Welcome signBarry Howard outlines ways a congregation can prepare spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally for the arrival of a new pastor to make the most of a new beginning. Read more now.

Letting Go of This Pastor and Preparing for the Next

Welcome matChurch consultant Susan Beaumont shares four leadership practices that can help a congregation prepare when their pastor is getting ready to leave. Approaching the situation honestly and communicating openly can help a church understand that times of loss, experienced openly and fully, lead into times of promise. Read more now.

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50 Ways to Welcome a New Pastor

50 Ways to Welcome a New PastorIf a new pastor is in your congregation’s future, be sure to check out 50 Ways to Welcome a New Pastor. This free resource shares tips and strategies for saying goodbye to your current pastor in a healthy way and best practices for welcoming your new pastor. Read now, share, and download free.

Discover tips and strategies on more 50 Ways topics.

The Right Start: Beginning Ministry in a New Setting

Moving, Pastor?If you’re a pastor preparing to begin ministry in a new setting, “The Right Start” Video Tool Kit leads you in ending your current ministry well, developing a personal transition plan, and making the most of your first days, weeks, and months in your new congregation. Available in Pastor’s and Group Training Versions. Learn more and watch a video preview.

Discover more video tool kits plus adult Christian studies.


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The Lewis Center staff has assembled and edited this material.