This is a series of blog posts I’m going to write fairly often, hoping that they hit many of you right where you need it today. Maybe you’re reading this shortly after I wrote it or stumbled on it from a Google search months later … I hope it is at just the right time. Maybe you’re not in this situation now but need to forward this to someone who is. Maybe you need to print this and drop it in the bottom of your desk in the church office for the time when you will need it. Either way … READ THIS.
READ THIS: When your senior pastor quits
Don’t freak out. OK, freak out just a little. This is going to be a difficult time for the church, and you’re going to be part of the glue that holds it together. Whew … OK, now what?
Stop the stories
First off, stop gossip in it’s tracks. When someone leaves a ministry position, especially a high level spot like a senior pastor, stories begin to fly. Rumors of moral failures, secret meetings, longstanding rivalries thrive on this type of situation. If your senior pastor is leaving well or leaving under a cloud, your job is to help the congregation heal, look forward and be Christ-like even under duress. People show immediately know you’re NOT a safe person to gossip around.
Offer to step in to lead however needed
You don’t need to be pulpit supply for the outgoing minister, but know that there is certainly going to be more added to your plate in this season. Some of the weight of the church is going to land on your shoulders. Be willing to take some of it on, and make sure you’re spiritually prepared for it. This will be heavy, so you’ll want to make sure you connection with God is a close as ever.
Be a part of the search committee
If you’re staying … more on that below … be a part of finding the next leader God has for your church. Reflect on your networks and gather resources to help your church make a wise decision. Think critically about your church’s culture, needs and style and use the interim time as a chance for examination of where you’re headed as a church. Transition is the easiest time to make a significant chance, who you select will lead you in that new direction, so make sure you’re a part of helping select that person!
Be willing for God to lead you … here or elsewhere
In the old days of youth ministry (not that long ago, actually, and in some places it is still the case) it was customary for the staff to resign along with the senior pastor so that the new leader could either “rehire” or bring in his or her own team. The brutal reality of a time of transition like this is that you may not be around in the future. Whoever is brought in may have a conflicting vision or have a style of leadership you can’t live with. When a senior leader resigns it is a good chance for everyone to ask God where He is leading them, back to this ministry or on to the next.
Know that time make everything better
The resignation of a senior leader is truly the end of an era, and know that you play a central role in celebrating the past and helping your congregation move forward in the future. In time, the church will be back to it’s old self and you be able to return to your normally scheduled youth ministry.