Pastoral Transition: Setting Your Church Up For Ministry Success After You’re Gone

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The church was here long before us, and it will be here long after us. Let’s leave it better for the next pastor.

Following a long-term, successful pastorate is one of the hardest callings in ministry.

It should be one of the easiest. After all, if we’re doing pastoral ministry right, we should set up the next pastor for an even greater level of ministry success than we had.

Instead, pastoral transition is one of the most dangerous moments in the life of most churches. And the longer and more successful the pastorate, the harder it tends to be when they leave.

Certainly, losing a beloved pastor is a time for sadness. But it shouldn’t be as devastating as it so often is. Instead, every pastor should do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for the next pastor and the church to do great ministry after we leave.

Here are five points pastors can work on to help that happen.

1. Think Long-Term – No, Longer

For too many pastors, long-term thinking means next month. For some, it means a five- or ten-year plan.

But in certain ways, we need to be thinking even longer than that.

I am currently in my twenty-fifth year as the pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. And I’m thinking at least that far into the future. I want to do everything I can, with God’s help, to set the church up for successful, kingdom-building ministry for generations of long-term pastorates after I’m gone to be with Jesus.

That means everything I touch, from the building, to programs, to discipling believers, to finances must take long-term consequences into account.

No, I can’t anticipate everything, and I wouldn’t want to. But the church was here long before me, and it will be here long after me. I want to be sure that the legacy I leave will be a blessing to generations who will never have any reason to know my name.

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Karl Vaters