The period between pastors is treated by many church members as the “hold things together, keep things going” period. For nominal church members it is likely to be the “wait and see” period. Other church members who only attend Sunday morning services may use it as the “I’ll just stay home since my preacher left us” period. Prospective church members often treat it as the “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, look elsewhere” period. With effective transitional leadership, the period between pastors can be very productive – a time of growth in personal and congregational awareness, renewal, and celebration; and a time when people are attracted by congregational worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and personal and family ministries of the church.
The tendency of a church during a time of transition is to move too quickly. Churches passing from the leadership of one pastor to another may be well served by transitional pastors who help the passage be as positive and constructive as possible, gaining momentum and productivity in the process of changes.
Each church without a pastor is unique in its circumstances and particular needs. Transitional leadership must be uniquely qualified and willing to master the challenges.
LifeWay Christian Resources develops methods, resources, and training for transitional pastors.
LifeWay provides kingdom-focused, denominationally relevant resources to churches in the period without pastors. This support includes:
- Identifying, training and certifying transitional pastors
- Informing churches of transitional pastor services and how to access them
- Providing information about potential transitional pastors
- Providing in-process consultation to transitional pastors
- Evaluating transitional pastor effectiveness
- Helping transitional pastors keep their skills.
A DVD on Transitional Pastor Ministry is available from the Pastoral Leadership. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a copy.