Establishing Church Goals During Pastoral Transitions

  • 10 April 2017
  • Cam Taylor

Times of pastoral transition are windows of opportunity for a congregation to experience turning points towards health and renewed ministry. Welcoming a new senior pastor into a healthy, functional, and spiritually-renewed church community is a goal worth pursuing!

There are two approaches to pastoral transition―a more traditional approach or an intentional-transitional approach. There was a day when a "hold-the-fort-until-the-next-pastor-arrives" mindset worked, but this is less effective today.

The Intentional-Transitional Approach

The intentional-transitional approach focuses on seeing the time between pastors as a season of opportunity, and a time to facilitate meaningful and sustainable change. In this model, the transitional leader is a trained specialist and prepares the congregation to eventually do their search from a posture of health, prayer, and readiness.

The Five Benefits to the Intentional-Transitional Model

Why is it worth taking the time and trouble to engage in a well-planned transition? Let me give you with five of the benefits: 

1. During transition, you can create an atmosphere that fosters positive change and healthy adjustment. 

2. During transition, you have the opportunity to bring in outside specialists who are equipped to facilitate change―a luxury you often can’t afford during seasons of regular ministry.  

3. During transition, the focus on overall church health sets up the search process to be conducted from a place of strength, clear identity, and vision.  

4. The intentional-transitional model allows a congregation to work systematically through a process that recognizes key milestones and gives opportunity to involve new people. 

5. The transitional model gives the opportunity to deal with unwanted sacred cows and elephants too difficult to tackle during seasons of normal ministry.

Eight Transitional Goals

Below are descriptions of the eight transitional goals you seek to achieve during the transitional process. There is flexibility in how to achieve these goals, but the principles are fixed. 

1. Facilitating Closure 

Closure involves dealing with the past so as not to hinder what God is wanting to do in the future. A transitional leader serves as counselor and skilled listener―helping individuals relate to and deal with their past so it does not negatively impact God’s plan for the future.

2. Facilitating Preaching

5 Ways to Motivate More Effective Board Meetings

  • 6 October 2016
  • Keith Reed

board roomThe “life” of a non-profit board exists in its official meetings. The time that a board has to experience this “life” is extremely limited (perhaps 30-40 hours each year), which means that board leaders have to plan meetings that enable the board to derive the most value during these scheduled interactions. Ineffective meetings—those that hinder a board’s ability to advance the agency’s mission by making good decisions—generate board dysfunction and affect the health of the agency. So investing wisdom in developing quality meetings and board experiences pays immense dividends.

Experienced, non-profit board leaders rely upon five key principles to ensure that their board meetings are productive and healthy:

1. Leverage the link between meetings and mission

Understand the essential relationship between effective board meetings and achieving the key outcomes necessary to advance the mission. When board leaders and the CEO fail to perceive the inter-relationship between well-planned board interactions and the ability of the agency to fulfill its vision, then insufficient attention will be given to nurturing the “life” of the board. The inevitable result will be poor planning, mediocre leadership, and risky decisions. 

2. Develop an annual agenda 

Board leaders serve the board and its members. This can only happen if board leaders understand the role and responsibility of the board, have a clear perception of the work that the board has to accomplish annually, and know how to pace the work of the board to fulfill its responsibilities effectively and efficiently. Developing an annual agenda will accomplish these purposes in the following ways: 

  • It will ensure that time-sensitive decisions are scheduled appropriately
  • It will require the board to have the necessary information in hand to make such decisions
  • It will empower the board to handle unanticipated issues without upsetting its rhythm

3. Nourish the culture

How to Avoid the Summer Collapse

  • 8 June 2016
  • Keith Reed

Dads and grads receive a lot of attention during the month of June. But this is also the season when many church programs near their finish line. For some ministry leaders, this means added responsibilities. This can also mean more hours and more stress. 

June might feel like the final leg of your ministry marathon and your lungs might be screaming for you to stop. You might find yourself dreaming of a post-marathon collapse, but if you choose to jump off the treadmill before cooling down, you will feel the effects of this decision for the rest of the summer.

Cooling down is essential for the well-being of yourself and the people around you. The discipline of gradually slowing yourself to a stop will help you recover from what you just completed and also prepare you for what’s next. The result is better short-term health with the added bonus of long-term sustainability.

Your mind, body, and spirit need adequate recovery time and slamming on the brakes after exiting the highway is a dangerous idea. I’m not suggesting that you cancel your vacation plans or ignore the urge to recline your chair. These are critical components to the leadership cycle. Just make sure that you ease into your recovery time so that when you fully disengage from your ministry responsibilities you can recuperate more restfully. 

Here are some suggestions for your cool down cycle:

  • Use your rear-view mirrors 
    Look back on the past season of ministry. What went well and why? Did you reach your goals and accomplish your ministry objectives? What will you do differently next time?

  • Check your blind spots
    Is there a critical issue or challenge that will require additional attention over the summer? Think of scenarios like leadership needs, technology changes, new initiatives, or approaching deadlines.

  • Express your gratitude  
    As you evaluate the past season, pay attention to the contributions that your team members have made. Find creative ways of thanking them and do this in ways that they will most appreciate.