Pastoral Transition Resources

Many blessings on your church and your community as you enter a time of pastoral transition. Below are some links, resources, and information to assist pastors, leadership teams, and Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committees as you journey through this season of simultaneously saying “goodbye” and “hello” to your pastors.

Kay Kotan and I have included a chapter on maximizing the potential opportunity for congregational impact during a pastoral transition in our book IMPACT! Reclaiming the Call of Lay Ministry.

S/PPRC Annual Timeline This ARUMC timeline shares expectations for the appointment/assessment cycle and suggested topics of discussion for a full year of monthly S/PPRC meetings. (See the shorter 2017 S/PPRC Annual Timeline )

Checklist for Pastors in Transition   The Center for Vitality checklist should be included in the transition packet that the outgoing pastor gives to the incoming pastor. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but it will help the current pastor and the lay leadership begin to gather the basic information that will help the new pastor during the transition.

Outline for a “Baton Passing” Meeting  The included questions on this Center for Vitality resource are designed for a “passing the baton” handoff meeting between the incoming and outgoing pastor. They may be in writing, or included as part of the handoff meeting and church/parsonage tour. If needed, the SPRC Chair and Lay leader may need to be included in this or a similar meeting.

ARUMC Pastoral Transition Covenant (1 Page PDF)  This covenant was approved by the 2014 clergy session of the annual conference and shares expectations that clergy should have of one another during an appointment transition

50 Ways to Welcome a New Pastor   The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has provided a list of “50 Ways to Welcome your New Pastor” that offers suggestions like offering childcare during the move, cutting the grass, stocking the parsonage kitchen with staples, providing gift certificates to local business and restaurants, and handling all repairs before the moving van appears on the horizon.  This two-page list also offers several ways to help your new pastor get to know the congregation and the community.

50 Ways to Improve Pastoral Transitions This document from the Lewis Center, written from a pastoral point-of-view, offers several tips to help your congregation say “goodbye” and “hello” well.

Great Plains Conference (UMC) Pastoral Transitions Webpage The Conference Staff has compiled a list of some of the best resources that they have found on pastoral transitions, for both clergy and for congregations, for saying goodbye and saying hello.

Book Recommendations

for Pastors and Congregations in Transition


Book Resource: Your Best Move by Bob Kaylor

The announcement has just been made: the pastor is moving! Whether you are the pastor making the move or part of a congregation receiving a new pastor, transition is a time full of both anticipation and anxiety. Your Best Move: Effective Leadership Transition for the Local Church is designed to help pastors and congregations develop an intentional transition plan for those first critical months of ministry together. The key transition tasks outlined in this book will help you create momentum and move the focus of pastor and parishioners toward a great future together for the work of God’s Kingdom. Dr. Bob Kaylor is Lead Pastor of Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church in Monument, Colorado, and the Senior Writer for the preaching journal Homiletics. He leads workshops on clergy transitions and preaching.


Book Resource: The Changeover Zone: Successful Pastoral Transitions by Jim Ozier and Jim Griffith

The Changeover Zone addresses a critical and perennial need in the church: the process of handing the baton of pastoral leadership from one person to the next. Authors Jim Ozier and Jim Griffith offer practical, clear instructions and guidance for both clergy and congregations. They provide detailed sections especially for clergy who are taking over from a founding pastor and for those replacing long-tenured pastors. The book is packed with real-church examples, helpful tips and tactics that have been proven successful. This resource will expertly guide pastors, supervisors, and congregations in nearly any church setting or denomination.