The search committee has finished, the deacons have reviewed and approved the recommendations. We have a NEW Senior Pastor! Over my lifetime I have seen 12 pastoral changes and 18 new bosses. How can we as a church help our new senior pastor and their families during their huge transition?
Here are 5 ways we can help a new pastor in their transition:
1. Pray For Them Daily
The Apostle Paul often asked churches to pray for him, and I am doing that on behalf of your new pastor and his family. Pray for them by name every day because there will never be a day when they are not the enemy’s #1 target in your church and community. Remember God has called him to BV Church.
2. Give Them Some Space
This is not just a ministry transition, it is a life transition. Some of the most emotionally exhaustive transitions happen at the exact same time: a new career, house, school and church. This can collectively be quite overwhelming.
Don’t expect them to say “yes” to just about every ministry opportunity that comes their way. We don’t want him arriving home each day so exhausted that he has absolutely nothing left to give my family.
3. Encourage Their Friendships
This is the other side of the ministry coin. Pastors do not need to choose between suffocation and isolation. Since isolation is Satan’s greatest scheme against our pastor, he and his family must be encouraged to develop friendships outside of the parameters of the new pastorate.
Some enthusiastic church members will innocently assume that their friends are his. It does not mean “the more the merrier.” We unrealistically expect to be their new pastor’s best friend. Friendships usually happen naturally and slowly, and between people who are experiencing the same life-stage.
4. Protect Them From Over-Exposure
I eventually have understood that “few” good activities are a good thing. Remember most ministry couples will not be made of two extroverts, so don’t presume anything from your experience with former staff and spouses.
Members in the church can help their new pastor and pastor’s family by protecting their need for privacy and friendships. A pastor must shepherd his own flock first, and for him to do that successfully, both he and the other leaders need to make sure his schedule is not too full on the front end.
5. A Note About The Former Pastors
I am experiencing a very strong sense of joy because my church now has a shepherd who will love, lead, and feed us well. The best thing I can do for him is to cheer him on from the balcony…which I do enthusiastically, every time he calls me.
The key to our relationship is that he calls me, not the other way around. I make it my business to stay out of his business. He is not like any of our former pastors. Some members struggle with that because they won’t let the past go.
Remember you are call to be his cheerleader and supporter in God’s work.
(Jim Willis, Facilities Manager)