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Helping Your Successor Succeed

Practical strategies for easing a major transition

Every recently arrived pastor feels the presence of the preceding minister. This can be a positive or a negative feeling. A pastor leaving a church can provide several categories of information to make sure his or her legacy is a positive one


The membership roll should be up to date. It should include:

• Name of each member

• Current address

• Date of membership

• Method of membership (baptism, confirmation, transfer, or reinstatement)

In several denominations these records are kept by a lay volunteer. In most large congregations membership records are maintained by a paid staff member. Nevertheless, the departing minister should check to be sure that the membership roster is in order. A constituent roster should include persons who identify with the congregation but are not carried on the membership roll. This list may be nearly as long as the membership roster.

If a picture directory has been prepared, a copy of the two most recent editions should be given to the ...

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