With my upcoming transition from one great church to the next– here are my seven tips for managing the period between pastors well.
1. Don’t Waste this time. Use the pastoral interim time to seek the Lord. Pray. Really Pray. Fast even. Your church needs you to use this time to call out to God for your new pastor, his/her family, those young in their faith who are experiencing the first pastoral transition, and those older in their faith who may be reluctant to change. Prayer should be your first priority.
2. Don’t Watch from the sidelines. Be ready to involve yourself in the ministries of the church. Step in. Volunteer. Ask one of the remaining pastoral staff how you can help.
3. Don’t Warp the truth. Refuse to fall into the temptation of murmuring, gossiping or allowing any unwholesome talk to come from you. Keep your heart and words focused on God’s heart and truth.
4. Don’t Wander from home. Sometime sheep take this time to check out other pastures. That’s Baaaad (I apologize for the poor sheep humor). Your church is a community– stay near it. Draw closer. Don’t walk away when God’s people need you more than ever.
5. Don’t Wallet your tithe. The bills go on even after the pastor has left. Tithing is not giving your hard earned money to the pastor or any institution. Tithing is the faithful response to the blessings that God has given you. So why stop responding in faithfulness just because the pastor has left?
6. Don’t Wish for yesterday. The recent past may have been great, but the future can be even greater if you believe in the God that taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come on earth (in your home town) as it is in heaven.” The town where you live might be wonderful, but it’s not heaven. God’s will isn’t being fully realized in your home town as it is in heaven– not yet anyway. There is still work to be done and lives to be changed. All this to say, with God’s leading– don’t look back– He is making all things new! The best is yet to come!
7. Don’t Worry for tomorrow. Jesus asked it, “Does God take care of the lilies and the birds?” Of course! Then God will take care of his church. It’s not my church or your church– it’s God’s church and He will take care of it. So why worry? He’s got this one! Deuteronomy 32:4 says it best: The Lord is a mighty rock, and he never does wrong. God can always be trusted…! (Deuteronomy 32:4 CEV) Trust God as your church transitions from one pastor to the next. Trust Him it’s His church!