CHURCHES IN PASTORAL TRANSITION
The search for a new pastor may be the most crucial decision a church ever makes. Pastoral terms continue to decrease with churches changing pastors as often as every two or three years. The effects on the churches and pastors are often very difficult.
Why is this happening? A number of reasons could be noted. The expectations of the pastor or church may be unrealistic. A mismatch of gifts and ministry style is often realized. There are many additional reasons and contributing factors.
How can the church avoid recurring pastoral difficulties?
Some of the difficulties can be avoided by making the time without a pastor a time to clarify objectives. Thus, enabling both the church and a new pastor to be better able to work toward the same objectives.
The Value of a Consultant
"In the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14). Churches going through pastoral transition can benefit from the counsel of others.
BBM offers workshops and consultation ministries to come alongside churches during these times of transition. A goal is to help churches form a basic outline of a vision for the local church. Defining priorities before affirming a new pastor can help to make for a smother transition and enable the church to grow with "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).
The approach is not to present a program but to enable the church to discover it's uniqueness and potential.
Pastoral Transition Workshop Topics Include:
Examining biblical principles related to pastoral transition
Evaluating the strengths and needs of the church
Exploring the potential for the future of the church in light of a changing culture
Explaining the diversity in ministry styles and goals
Expectations of the pastors and the church
A Pastoral Transition Workbook
Church leadership and congregational profiles
Pastoral profile including personality, spiritual gifts, abilities, and experiences
Pastoral assessment questionnaire
The seminar/workshop and consultation is scheduled to meet the needs of the individual church. Usually a preliminary informational session is held with the search committee and/or board of the church.
Dr. Gary R. Becker has more than twenty-five years of experience in pastoral ministries. He has pastored churches in a major evangelical association and an independent church. Educationally, he holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Theology degrees from Northeastern Bible College, a Masters in Theological Education from New Brunswick Seminary, completed courses at Luther Rice Seminary, and has earned his Doctorate in Practical Theology from Masters School of Divinity. He is the president and executive director of Biblically Balanced Ministries, Inc. This ministry gives him an opportunity to share his experience in coming alongside churches and pastors.