Church Leadership
Pastoral Transition: Setting Your Church Up For Ministry Success After You're Gone
The church was here long before us, and it will be here long after us. Let's leave it better for the next pastor.

That includes, but is not limited to...

  • Preaching and teaching scriptural principles, not our personal or political biases
  • Training people to read and teach the Bible for themselves
  • Prioritizing hands-on ministry over sit-and-listen attendance
  • Helping people recognize and follow God’s vision for their lives and their church, not just the pastor’s vision
  • Living more like Jesus, not just knowing more about Jesus

3. Be A Leader, Not The Leader

While the role of pastor may be over-elevated in our current church climate, that doesn’t mean that human leadership doesn’t matter. It does.

But the pastor should be a leader in the church, not the leader.

One of the primary reasons pastoral transition is so dangerous is because it often leaves a total leadership vacuum when the current pastor departs.

Great leaders don’t make followers. Great leaders make more leaders.

4. Equip The Saints

The prime pastoral mandate is not to do ministry for the church members, but to equip them to do ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12).

An equipped church is healthy enough to weather the challenges that come with a pastoral transition.

An equipped church is healthy enough to weather the challenges that come with a pastoral transition.

This is one of the reasons it’s so frustrating and wrong that longer pastorates make for harder transitions.

If the pastor has been fulfilling their calling of equipping the saints, the longer they’re pastoring the church, the more equipped they should be to carry on with effective ministry whether the pastor is there or not.

5. Start Now

Whether you’re in your 25th year or your first year of pastoring, it’s never too early or too late to start preparing the church for when you’re gone. After all, none of us really knows how soon that could be.

The real measure of a pastor’s success is not the great things that get done during their tenure, it’s how much of a foundational legacy they leave for others to build on.

We all need to have the humility to remember that it’s not our church. No matter what position we hold, or how long we’ve held it.

It’s Christ’s church. Let’s put him first, be good stewards, and pass it on to upcoming generations in better shape than we found it.

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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

April 27, 2017 at 12:16 AM

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