District supervisors are pastors to local church pastors in their districts. For this reason, they are closely engaged in transitions within the churches under their care. We asked our district supervisors their advice on transitioning well. Here are the top seven tips they shared.
1. HONOR | Nurture an atmosphere of honor on both sides of the transition, including honoring of the community by listening for a season before making changes too quickly.
2. COMMUNICATION | Transition within a church community is smoother when the outgoing pastor sets up expectations, and encourages the church on being open to change and God’s leading.
3. VISIBILITY | Keep in mind that we are all interim pastors. When the outgoing pastor champions the incoming pastor, the church community has a front row seat to cooperation and grace within the church’s leadership.
4. PERSPECTIVE | Anchor and view changes and transitions within the larger narrative of God’s story.
Nurture an atmosphere of honor on both sides of the transition, including honoring of the community by listening for a season before making changes too quickly.
5. RELATIONSHIPS | Build relationships between the incoming pastor and church ministry members. Include opportunities for laughter and fun, prayer and dreaming.
6. COOPERATION | Create cooperation and trust between pastors by allowing them to work together on some changes, and reserving enough time for both leaders to share the pastoral role.
7. SCHEDULE | Create a memorandum of understanding that includes an agreed-upon schedule: beginning/end dates; dates of retirement and celebration of outgoing pastor; date of installation and celebration; length of time away for outgoing pastor (if he/she plans to stay in the community); shared preaching through the transition; weekly meetings for the two pastors and monthly meetings with spouses; financial considerations for both pastors; any other special considerations relative to each church.