Moving On: Resources for Leadership Changes #UMC

The United Methodist Church’s appointment system is rather unique. On July 1, many pastors will begin at their new “”charge” or church. I’ve served on staff with 5 UMC pastors and currently serve with 3 PCUSA ministers. I can tell you from experience that the person in charge of Christian education has an important role to play in making the transition as smooth as possible (see the four tips below). In previous years I have offered helpful resources for times of change:

  • Changing positions or adding staff? Use this checklist to ensure you have everything in place.

Children’s Messages for Pastoral Changes:

Part I: Announcing the change

Part II: Saying Goodbye

Part III: Welcoming the new pastor

Four Suggestions for the Christian Education staff member during a pastoral change:

  1. Be welcoming. Encourage your congregation to welcome the new pastor well. Here are 15 ideas from Discipleship Ministries.
  2. Be informative. Don’t assume the new pastor knows how your church as always done it. Share church expectations with as clearly as possible. Once you’ve offered your perspective, be sure to step back and let the new pastor make their own choice. Thoughtful changes are ok!
  3. Be patient. It will take a few months – even a year – for a new pastor to get to know your congregation. They will have mounds of things to do and learn at the start. So be graceful if they don’t have, for example, the Advent series title yet. 
  4. Be positive. Every single pastor I have worked with has a unique and God given set of gifts. I learned from each of them. People in your congregation will ask your opinion (or offer their own). I have found it is both calming and helpful to be able to name the gifts and blessings the new pastor brings to the congregation. God is good!

Grace and peace to you in this time of transition.

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