The Four Stages of a Pastoral Transition
A time of transition for a pastor can be both exciting and terrifying. The possibility of a new start with its challenges and opportunities brings anticipation. Yet leaving the known for the unknown also brings anxiety. Such transition is more complex than may be immediately apparent. As pastors are dealing with both personal and professional transitions, there are also congregations going through their own transitions.
What we know about clergy moving from one setting to another is that all pastors have the best of intentions, but many do not give adequate thought to those best practices for leaving and beginning that can help ensure a good transition for everyone involved. In planning for a transition, it is helpful to think of the Stages of a Pastoral Move and what is needed for each stage to go well to advance the mission of all churches involved.
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has provided training and resources for pastoral transitions for a number of years. Drawing on these years of research and training, the Lewis Center has just released two new resources:
It is our prayer that these resources (see details below) will contribute to an excellent transition for pastors and congregations alike. We hope pastors can celebrate and offer thanks for a ministry that is ending, in order to begin in a new setting with both confidence and humility, always remembering that this move involves the pastor — but is not primarily about the pastor. It is about how the pastor and the congregation together can fulfill God’s purpose through the church. May God bless all of you who are changing churches or pastors in these important days.
Lovett H. Weems, Jr. The Four Stages of a Pastoral Transition