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)


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.

Click the title above to purchase through Amazon.

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.

Click the title above to order from Amazon.

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…)

You Gotta Get Fresh Eyes


Photo by Gabriel Pico, courtesy of

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)


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.  (more…)

What a Herd of Deer Can Teach Church Leaders about Pastoral Transition

mule deerNot too long ago I was sitting on our back deck enjoying my coffee and watching the sunrise light up the front range of the Rockies with a pink glow. That’s when I noticed a herd of deer trying to cross the 4-lane thoroughfare behind our home.

Now I’ve observed lots of deer near roadways before and I could tell they were skittish. They weren’t quite sure which way to go. They would look back from where they had come and then nervously watch the cars go by. Finally a big buck darted across the road and all of them followed to the “safety” of a big field on the other side.

But then they saw a man walking his dog nearby and that caused them to scatter. Some ran back across the road, others took off across the field and one doe went it alone down the sidewalk. (more…)

16 Questions Church Leaders Must Ask

concernedWhen a church enters a period of pastoral transition it is a crucial time for the leadership team to ask some tough questions. The transition that lies ahead can get rocky. It will help for everyone to be on the same page by having a candid conversation to gain a clear view of the life and health of the church. These are not easy questions to ask because they demand honest evaluation, and they will reveal any elephants in the room. But the answers to these questions will help the leaders guide the church through this challenging period.
So fasten your seat-belt and work through the following together: (more…)