We’re in the midst of a 4-week-long series of me writing on pastoral transition. I’m personally in the midst of transitioning from one church to another.
Here are seven things to remember when thinking about pastoring another church:
1. Don’t run from something; run to something.
You have a problem at the church you serve? You’re going to have problems at the new church, too.
2. The grass is not always greener on the other side.
I listen to Thom Rainer’s podcast weekly. He has repeatedly stated that when grass is greener, there is often a septic tank nearby to make that happen.
3. Pray. Pray. Then, pray some more.
Are you considering leaving without prayer? Are you crazy?!?! Get on your knees before you get out your résumé.
Get on your knees before you get out your résumé. (click to tweet)
4. Err on the side of confidentiality.
We live in a time where confidentiality is significantly under-emphasized. It is truly the business of very few people if you are thinking about pastoring another church. Few things can be helped as a result of you telling people about a possible transition, but many bad things can come.
5. Focus on your current ministry until the day you turn in your keys.
The Sunday before I preached in view of a call at Brushy Creek, I officiated the funeral of a church member’s un-churched sister, then visited a shut-in on my way home. I don’t say this to brag, but to show an area where my dad pushed me.
My dad told me, “You better serve Highlands with all of your heart until you turn in your keys.” I’m so glad he pushed me in these last few days here.
Colossians 3:23 urges us to work heartily for the Lord. God is glorified when you work hard until you’re no longer the pastor of that church.
6. Only consider leaving when it is in a season of the church’s life where they could transition smoothly.
This may be the most confusing point. I struggled with how to word it. Here’s what I mean: If the church is in the middle of a building campaign, it’d be messed up to leave during that time. If the church is in the midst of a construction project, or just incurred a chunk of unstable debt into which you led them, it’d be messed up to leave them.
I got a call from a large church in my home state of Texas just 2-3 months after I kicked off a building campaign at Church of the Highlands. If I would’ve gone to that church, it would’ve been really inconsiderate and unhealthy for both Highlands and my family.
7. Understand the changing landscape of pastoral transitions.
Search committees and church members will look at every little thing you’ve ever put on the internet. Be wise in whatever you’ve put online.
Furthermore, understand that a major part of the shift in this landscape is in pertinence to search firms. Particularly for larger churches, it is almost a rarity if they don’t use a firm. Whether you like it or not, they are here, and are probably here to stay.
Do you have any additions you’d make to this list, when thinking about pastoring another church? Let me know in the comment section below.