Training Offered For Pastors, Laity Preparing For New Appointments

Haywood to Sewell

Donny Haywood took time out from his farewell tour to pass the baton to Valleri Sewell at Fenoglio Boot. Sewell will take over at First UMC Nocona on July 1. 

July 1 will bring many leadership changes for NTC churches

In the yearly life cycle of United Methodist churches, June and July offer the biggest season of change.

New pastors generally begin their new appointments on July 1, so several churches across the North Texas Conference are preparing now to welcome new pastors while also celebrating and saying farewell to pastors who are moving on.

To equip pastors and lay leadership with tools for this transition, the Center for Leadership Development and the Center for Church Development co-sponsored two virtual Pastoral Transitions Trainings — on May 24 for pastors and May 25 for pastors and laity — to provide valuable insights about how to pass the baton well. 

Content was provided by two noted authors and speakers: Kay Kotan, founder of You Unlimited and author of more than a dozen books, and Rev. Dr. Bob Kaylor, Lead Pastor of Tri-Lakes Church in Monument, Colo., and author of Your Best Move: Effective Leadership Transition for the Local Church.

Key takeaways included:

  • How to handle the transition while halfway through a church’s budget and programming year
  • How incoming pastors can use MissionInsite as a way to get to know their new mission field.
  • For the outgoing pastor to create a transition team of key laity — beyond the Staff Parish Relations Committee — that could help in the handoff process. Then, the new pastor can continue to use that group as a consulting team throughout the first year of a new appointment, to get to know the priorities of the congregation and to have a sounding board as the new pastor considers any future changes she or he may want to make.

Participants also were given a resource compiled by Rev. Dr. Owen Ross, Director of the Center for Church Development, which includes scriptures to pray with, links to articles and podcasts and a series of checklists for information to gather and tasks to complete as pastors and laity work through the transition together.

Pastor transitions are a team effort. One participant in the training noted, “I really appreciate the inclusion in the training of the laity that will be working with the transitioning pastors. Hearing this information together allows opportunity to work and plan together early in the relationship.”

Another communal aspect of leading well through transition highlighted in the training is clergy coaching. The Center for Leadership Development offers one year of free coaching to incoming pastors in either one-on-one or cohort settings.

For churches looking for ways to help your new pastor feel at home, visit our SPRC Tool Kit on the Center for Leadership Development’s page to read “50 Ways to Welcome Your New Pastor.” There, you will also find a helpful resource titled “Suggestions for Churches with a Young Pastor” that may be applicable to your church now.

Published: Wednesday, June 9, 2021