Most high-level church leaders are not prepared, or trained, to handle the abrupt departure of their senior pastor due to an affair. At the very moment, when feelings of inadequacy are overwhelming, the church they serve needs wise, loving, and godly proactive leadership. Yet who is competent for “such a time as this”?
When a church leadership team first considers bringing in an interim pastor, at some point they will wrestle with the question of value or worth. What value will an interim pastor bring to the table? Is it worth having an interim pastor during this season of transition?
What should the leadership team look for? What expectations are appropriate for how an interim will fulfill his role in the life of the church during the strategic transition season?
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!
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…)
Classic 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…)
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?
When 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…)
An 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…)
Photo by Gabriel Pico, courtesy of freeimages.com
When a church enters pastoral transition, the crying need often overlooked, is to gain a fresh look, a new perspective. Why?
Andy Stanley, in his book Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend, states it this way,
“The longer you’ve served where you are and the longer you’ve done what you are currently doing, the more difficult it will be for you to see your environments with the objectivity needed to make the changes that need to be made. The shorter version: Time in erodes awareness of.” (p.159)
I’ve started wearing my five finger shoes again. The change of seasons and warmer weather is just the encouragement I needed to put them on.
The change of seasons is a part of life we accept. We may prefer a certain season of the year but we can’t stop the others from coming. So we “adjust” to the change as it alters our wardrobe, our recreation, our yard work and even the tires on our car.
So it should not surprise us that churches go through seasons. They are not as predictable or evenly spaced as the dates on a calendar but they do come. Each church season has both advantages and difficulties. The key is to adjust and work with what the Lord has brought. (more…)