5 Ways To Approach An Upcoming Ministry Transition
As a search specialist at Vanderbloemen Search Group, I have the opportunity to regularly speak with pastors and leaders who are in the midst of some kind of transition. One of the most common transitions I see is church leaders sensing that their time in a particular ministry is coming to an end. This could be children’s ministry, youth ministry, or even outreach; regardless, they feel at peace with the closing of a certain season and are eager to jump into the next.
Through these conversations, I’ve seen some common trends among those who manage this transition well. If you find yourself sensing a transition ahead, below are five pieces of advice to approach it well.
1. Seek wise council.
In an abundance of counselors there is wisdom. If you sense a transition on the horizon, I would encourage you to seek people you trust to discuss it with. Maybe they will help you see that you’re just having a bad week, or perhaps they will affirm that God seems to have something else for you. Either way, having that kind of support and sounding board will give confidence and clarity as you explore a possible transition.
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2. Strive for excellence.
Transition happens in seasons, not overnight.
Perhaps you will sense the need to transition in a single moment, but the actual process of moving to another ministry will take time. As such, it is important to be faithful to your current ministry and strive to make the most of it while you can. It’s easy to “check out” once you know your time is coming to an end. However, it is crucial to continue pouring into your current ministry for the sake of your team and what is coming next.
3. Prepare for the next season.
As you explore the coming transition and sense where God might be calling you next, invest in that direction. If you are feeling led to an executive pastor role, read books on management. If you feel called to step into a teaching role, study your favorite speakers and find opportunities to sharpen that skill.
You should not expect to learn how to do your next job once you’re there, but rather be prepared to step into the role with a set of skills to offer.
The best way to handle a new season is to prepare ahead for it.
4. Talk with your leadership.
Once you have clarity about your next season, it’s vital to discuss it with your leadership. Again, this will be a chance for them to potentially affirm what you’re sensing and explore if there is a place for you to step into that role in the church. If not, it could spark a conversation about how to best handle that transition as you seek opportunities elsewhere.
The timing of these conversations depends on your unique context. However, you should be confident in the direction of God’s calling and feel prepared to step into that role before you have these conversations, as they will often begin the transition process.
5. Look for opportunities with patience.
When it comes to searching for a new ministry opportunity, patience is truly a virtue. It is better to wait and find an opportunity that lines up with your passions and convictions than to jump into a culture that you don’t fit just because the job title matches what you’re looking for. If this is what God is calling you toward, there will be many opportunities available, although it may take time for the right one to come along.
While the transition process can be frustrating, scary, and uncertain, take courage and trust that God is working in the process!
How have you navigated a ministry transition in the past?