Five Fingered Shoes and Pastoral Transition

The Changing Seasons in a Church

I’ve started wearing my five finFive Finger shoesger 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. 

Some resist the season their church encounters, especially when it involves pastoral transition. Their behavior is as bizarre as wearing shorts and flip-flops in a Colorado snow storm. And then there are those who don’t want the inconveniences of a particular season. Like snow-birds heading to Florida or Arizona for the winter, they move to another church in pursuit of a better climate.

The transition time between pastors is a unique season for a church. It is not down-time, rather it is strategic time. It’s not a time to be avoided but embraced. Now it’s typically not a season where the focus is on reaping or even sowing, rather it’s a time for tilling the ground and preparing it for future use.

Like a farmer’s perspective in winter, he knows the fields are bare but not barren. There is a season of rest before the explosion of growth. He doesn’t fight it, but works in rhythm with it. As the wise writer of Ecclesiastes 3:1 put it, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Few church leaders know how to take advantage of the season of pastoral transition in a church, because they’ve never prepared for it, and it feels so uncertain and threatening. But it is possible to have a vision for maximizing this period of time so that the church actually thrives. All it takes is engaging with an intentional interim.

Question: If your church is in the season of pastoral transition, what needs to be addressed before the next pastor comes? Leave a comment below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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