This is the week in most annual conferences in the United States known as “transition week.” Pastors who are moving to another assignment typically begin on July 1. There is a period of welcome and adjustment to a new environment, a new group of people, a new place to live and all the million things that go into a move.
Many pastors have spouses and children who transition with them, so it is not just the pastor who has many adjustments to make. Churches too have new things to get used to as they welcome new pastors. And there is often a bittersweet mixture of “good-byes” and “hellos” in the hearts of church members.
I ask that you do the following things listed below. (These suggestions are based on concerns that come up every year during transition week.)
Remember to pray for our retired pastors who may not be assuming a pastoral assignment in retirement. They are starting a new journey of life and need our support as well.
The itinerant system of moving pastors is not perfect, but it has many advantages. The gifts of pastors vary greatly. With pastoral changes churches get to enjoy a variety of expressions of worship and styles of ministry that can bring health, strength and imagination to our congregations.
The most important thing is to keep the goal of preaching the gospel and making disciples as the driving passion of the church. God will lead both pastor and church into new, potentially exciting opportunities for spiritual growth and outreach.