Our Next Engagement

I am pleased to announce that Lucy and I will be moving to Temecula, CA to be the interim pastor at Rancho Baptist Church (RBC). Our ministry with this great body of believers will start January 16, 2017.

Being on-site at RBC will limit my availability to coach other churches in person, but I can still schedule being a virtual interim. For more information on how Transition Resource Ministry can come alongside as you face pastoral transition, please contact me at: rick@interimpastor.org.

Shepherding Change -Part 2

What to do when the sheep act like cats

Regardless of the “why” behind a senior pastor leaving a church, the transition unleashes a powerful tsunami which impacts everyone. But not everyone responds to change in the same way. What often puzzles and befuddles the leadership team is that the reactions by those in the church are all over the board: the sheep are acting like cats!

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Shepherding Change -Part 1

What to do when sheep act like cats

It’s an understatement to say that a church will face change when there is a turn-over of their senior pastor! Yet most church leadership teams underestimate the impact.

To use the word ‘change’ can easily keep pastoral transition at an unemotional and detached level, as if the church simply changed the color of the paint on the wall (though that has often been a very emotional experience in some churches!). (more…)

How to Avoid Getting Sideways in Pastoral Transition

When even best intentions can’t keep you out of trouble

bewilderedClassic Yogi Berra wisdom, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up some place else.”

Solomon put it this way, “Ponder the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure.” (Prov.4:26)

How many church leaders, when trying to help the body of believers they serve navigate pastoral transition, suddenly find things have gone sideways? It’s not going as planned, and the potential outcome appears to be getting worse.

After the initial quiet and sober reaction to the blunt news that the senior pastor has, or is, leaving -now tempers are flaring…accusations are being hurled right and left…trust in the leadership team has evaporated…key volunteers quietly mention they are thinking of taking a break…key families haven’t been seen in worship for weeks. The mood around the church feels tense! (more…)

Pastoral transition is not a problem to solve, but a season to shepherd.  -Rick Foster

Do You Want to be Told or Shown?

The Powerful Impact of an Intentional Interim Pastor

unsplash.com (Jean-Frederick Fortier)Last week I had errands that took me into two different “big box” stores. I wasn’t sure where to find what I needed since I was unfamiliar with the layout of both stores.

In the first, I asked an employee where the item was located. He was very knowledgeable, friendly, and immediately informed me of the right aisle to go to.

In the second store, when I asked the same question, that employee responded by saying, “Come on, I’ll show you.” They personally took me to the aisle and pointed out where on the shelf the item was located. They also mentioned several other options that I might consider depending on my needs.

What a difference between being told and being shown. And it just feels different, doesn’t it?

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How to Sabotage Your Pastoral Transition

sabotage-train-tracks-with-shadowWhen the lead or senior pastor of a church exits, powerful rip-tides are unleashed! Those on the leadership team, tasked with handling this transition, often face intense pressure without any advanced preparation or training.

In addition, most pastoral transitions occur abruptly, leaving a church with a mosaic of emotions. So not only is the leadership team trying to deal with their own emotional reactions to the pastor leaving, but as shepherds the church needs help with theirs! (more…)

When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2011)

when-the-word-leads

Chris does a fantastic job of helping search teams keep in mind what they are really doing. They are looking for a man who has been deeply shaped by God’s Word: his character, his vision and his preaching. Especially helpful are the forms so that search team members all critique candidate’s sermons from the same perspective.

Search: The Pastoral Search Committee Handbook (Nashville, TN: BH Publishing Group, 2016)

Search book image

This recently published book is a great guide for churches in pastoral transition. The search process for a senior or lead pastor is an exciting adventure, but the journey has significant pot-holes to avoid. Vanderbloemen’s book shows the way and even has a rich Appendix of sample forms.

We Jump First!

How Intentional Interim Pastors lead

Penguins jumping with shadowAn intentional interim pastor is one who leads by jumping first. He fights organizational paralysis, because the tendency among the leadership team at this time is to think, “Let’s leave well enough alone”. It’s the mindset of not wanting to stir-up trouble in an already stressful time. After all, if you don’t move the furniture, you won’t see the cockroaches scatter. That’s classic risk-avoidance!

Yet the interim period is a time for strategic initiative, for proactive work in a few key areas that will set-up the church well to receive their new pastor and launch into a future of Christ-honoring ministry.

That’s why the leadership of an intentional interim is to jump first: to take the church where it might otherwise be hesitant to go. (more…)