Getting a New Pastor?


welcome-pastor-cake-white-690x353Excerpts from a Feature by Joe Iovino* Here are some hints for churches and their members who are expecting a change: Saying goodbye Saying goodbye to your current pastor may be emotionally challenging, but it is a significant first step in the transition process. Pray. The first thing you can do is to pray for your current pastor, the new pastor, and your congregation. Surrender your anxiety and trust God to work through the process. Lend a hand. Soon after the District Superintendent announces that your pastor is leaving, look for ways to be helpful. Your pastor and his/her family will need boxes for the move and might like help packing, taking apart bed frames, or loading the U-Haul. Ask where you might be helpful. Give an appropriate gift. It may be as simple as a gift card that will help with moving and travel expenses or a picture of a time you shared together. Attend the farewell. Take time to celebrate this season of pastoral leadership as it ends. Eat, laugh, cry, celebrate, and tell stories with your congregation. Don’t miss out on this important time. Say a personal goodbye. “For me, as a pastor,” Kaylor said, “one of the things I really have appreciated was when people took the time to sit down and write a note, expressing their appreciation for that time in ministry together.” He continued, “I keep those with me as I move to the new place… There’s no greater gift than that." Saying hello Go to church that first Sunday. Invest in the continued success of your congregation by supporting your new pastor from the very start. Give a good gift. Welcome your pastor not only to your congregation but also to your town. A gift card to your favorite business, restaurant, or local home improvement store will be welcome, and helps the pastor and family get to know your community. Give space. Pastors and their families have a lot to do when they first arrive—unpacking boxes, getting the kids signed up for school, finding a new doctor, and so much more. This might not be the best time to drop by the office or parsonage. Take the initiative. Attend a meet-and-greet, join the pastor’s Bible study, or invite her/him to coffee. "Make the effort to get to know the pastor,” Kaylor said, “because he or she is not going to have time to invest in every single parishioner—particularly in a large church—in the way that they would like to. So take the initiative to go be with the pastor… That's really, really critical." Resist quick judgements. Stressed, tired, nervous, uncertain, worried—your new pastor is feeling all of this and more. Look “beyond first impressions because sometimes that first impression can be difficult,” Kaylor said. “Extending grace…is absolutely critical, and saying we're going to give this time and we're going to really invest in getting to know this pastor and so learn how we can be in ministry together." Expect the best. Things are changing. This is a new season in ministry. “Ask yourself as a congregation member,” Kaylor said, “What gifts do I have that I can invest in the success of this new season of ministry?” Read the entire article and take a look at other media at: We’re getting a new pastor! What can I do? *Joe Iovino works for at United Methodist Communications. Contact him or 615-312-3733.

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
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