United Methodist pastors move around every few years in a system of itinerancy. As a staff member, I’ve witnessed my share of senior pastor transitions. In fact, we are in the midst of a change at my current church. While changing pastors is all very normal if you know the United Methodist system, children, youth and their families may need a bit more explanation. Christian educators can play a key role in explaining the upcoming change, saying goodbye to the leaving pastor and introducing the new pastor to the children. Below I’ve shared a children’s time for saying goodbye to a pastor. I recently shared a children’s message for the announcement of a change. Look for a children’s message to say hello in the next week. Be sure to like Bless Each One on facebook or sign up for emails to receive Part III.
A children’s time for saying goodbye to the pastor:
When do we stop growing? We stop growing taller around high school. We grow older. Our hair keeps growing, our fingernails keep growing…. What about our brains? Do they keep growing in knowledge? Yes, if we continue to learn things. What about our faith and our relationship with God? Does that keep growing? Yes, as long as we are praying, worshiping, loving, and serving others.
Once Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” (take a ball of yarn and begin passing it around, so that everyone in the church is touching it.) Like a vine, we are connected by Jesus. That vine goes all the way out the door and around the world. Does it go to (wherever pastor is moving to)? Next week, Pastor _____ is going to be going to _____ (place). Even though we won’t see them her/him on Sundays, he/she will still be connected to us. She/He will still be growing and we will be, too.
Gracious and Holy God, we thank you for ________ who has helped us to grow. Help us all to remember that we are still growing in faith. May we always remember our connection through Christ. Aaaaamen!