Bishop Mueller and the Cabinet lead a Q&A session at the 2017 PIT Workshop

Pastors in Transition Workshop

The Pastors In Transition Workshop is an annual event, usually held in May, for clergy and congregations experiencing a change in appointments.

Attendees will:

  • Be introduced to tools for increased vitality during the unique opportunity that is a pastoral transition
  • See how your move aligns with the ARUMC trajectory
  • Be equipped and provided time to plan toward your pastoral transition
  • Experience the Connection through Loving, Learning, and Leading

The 2017 Pastors in Transition shared these learning from the Workshop


2017 Pastors in Transition Workshop

The 2017 workshop, held May 15 at St. James UMC in Little Rock, was an effort led by the Center for Vitality in conjunction with the Episcopal Office and the Appointive Cabinet.  The 2018 Workshop will be Monday, May 14, 2018.


We utilized these resources:

NW District Pastors Passing the Baton of Leadership

Agenda & Notes Pages

PowerPoint from 2017 Workshop Online Polling Results

Supplemental Handouts

MissionInsite Sample Workshop Packet

Bishop’s Mission Plan

ARUMC Worship Counting and Vital Signs Instructions

ARUMC Vital Signs Weekly Tracking Worksheet

Leaders & current pastors can help resource the incoming pastor with information


Transition Packet


Resources gathered from the Center for Vitality:

Bishop’s Mission Plan


ARUMC Annual Timeline for S/PPRCs (2 Page PDF)

This timeline shares expectations for the appointment/assessment cycle and suggested topics of discussion for a full year of monthly S/PPRC meetings.


ARUMC Pastoral Transition Covenant (1 Page PDF)

This covenant was approved by the 2014 clergy session of the annual conference and shares expectations that clergy should have of one another during an appointment transition


Checklist for Pastors in Transition & Outline of “Baton Passing” Transition Meeting (4 page PDF)

The checklist should be included in the transition packet that the outgoing pastor gives to the incoming pastor. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but will help you begin to gather the basics that will help the new pastor during the transition.  The included questions on the second two pages are designed for a “passing the baton” handoff meeting between the incoming and outgoing pastor. They may be in writing, or included as part of the handoff meeting and church/parsonage tour. If needed, the SPRC Chair and Lay leader may need to be included in this or a similar meeting.  This list and the recommended questions are adapted and expanded upon by Dr. Blake Bradford from the excellent resource found in the appendix of Your Best Move: Effective Leadership Transition for the Local Church by Robert Kaylor, Asbury Seedbed Publishing.


Theological Reflections from Dr. Michael Roberts:

It’s Biblical: The Sending of Pastors 

It’s Biblical: Women in Ministry 


Resources from the Cabinet:

2016 Parsonage Change Reminders

2016 Parsonage Damage Report

Bishop’s Mission Plan and Next Steps 

I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form (If not already on file for the pastor)



Additional Resources from Around the Connection

Guidance for Pastors in Transition from Bob Kaylor:

Free download from Seedbed Publishing for pastors in transition


Ideas for a “Transition Team” From Great Plains Conference:

Downloadable Fact Sheet from Great Plains




Lewis Center Ministry Transition Resources

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership, located at the Wesley Theological Seminary campus, provides a plethora of tools for clergy and congregations experiencing a change in clergy leadership.


Lists & Easily Shared Resources:

50 Ways to Improve Pastoral Transitions PDF

50 Ways to Welcome a New Pastor PDF

Suggestions for Churches with a Young Pastor PDF

Suggestions for Churches with a Single Pastor PDF

Suggestions for Churches with a Clergywoman PDF    See Also It’s Biblical: Women in Ministry by Dr. Michael Roberts  (ARUMC created document)


Lewis Center Articles:

Why First Impressions Really Do Matter

Lovett H. Weems, Jr., says people’s first impressions are often shaped by assumptions and stereotypes. And the early information we get about a person influences how we interpret and remember later information, simply because in dealing with so much input our minds default to cognitive shortcuts.


Digital Transitions When Pastors Change

In our modern digital world, pastors and congregations have more things than ever to consider when facing a pastoral transition. Will Rice explains how with a little planning, websites, emails, data storage, and other digital platforms can be maintained with integrity through the change of clergy leadership.  This material is adapted from “A Guide to Comings and Goings in a Digital Age” issued by the Rio Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church


How to Make a Good Entrance

About this time each year, many clergy prepare to begin new work in new places with new people. Some of it will feel familiar. Some challenges will catch us off guard. There will be unexpected blessings. Nothing will feel as overwhelming as it does on the first day, but it will not be as easy as we might like either. Over the years, Hannah Adair Bonner has had the opportunity to enter many dramatically different places with a continually changing array of new faces. Here are some bits of wisdom she has picked up on how to make an entrance.


Four Key Challenges in Pastoral Transitions

What challenges are most commonly faced when pastors move from one ministry setting to the next? Lovett H. Weems, Jr., says four key challenges are dealing with family and emotional issues, paving the way for one’s successor, understanding the culture of the new ministry context, and saying goodbye in a way that provides closure.


How Incoming Pastors Can Navigate the Changeover Zone

In a relay race, the two runners exchanging the baton run in tandem in their changeover zone lane of 20 meters. For most runners, this distance is covered in about seven steps while the receiving runner grabs hold of the baton and sprints out on the next leg of the relay. If you are an arriving pastor entering into the changeover zone, Jim Ozier believes that these six specific behaviors will increase the odds of a smooth and successful transition.


Eleven Questions for Getting to Know a New Congregation

Robert A. Harris believes that one of the most important gifts a new pastor can give to the congregation in the first year and beyond is to be clear about not knowing. Be open and curious. Lead with questions. Learn as much as you can.


Ministry Transition Resources & Books

Book Resource: Your Best Move by Bob Kaylor

The announcement has just been made: the pastor is moving! Whether you are the pastor making the move or part of a congregation receiving a new pastor, transition is a time full of both anticipation and anxiety. Your Best Move: Effective Leadership Transition for the Local Church is designed to help pastors and congregations develop an intentional transition plan for those first critical months of ministry together. The key transition tasks outlined in this book will help you create momentum and move the focus of pastor and parishioners toward a great future together for the work of God’s Kingdom. Dr. Bob Kaylor is Lead Pastor of Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church in Monument, Colorado, and the Senior Writer for the preaching journal Homiletics. He leads workshops on clergy transitions and preaching.



Book Resource: The Changeover Zone: Successful Pastoral Transitions by Jim Ozier and Jim Griffith

The Changeover Zone addresses a critical and perennial need in the church: the process of handing the baton of pastoral leadership from one person to the next. Authors Jim Ozier and Jim Griffith offer practical, clear instructions and guidance for both clergy and congregations. They provide detailed sections especially for clergy who are taking over from a founding pastor and for those replacing long-tenured pastors. The book is packed with real-church examples, helpful tips and tactics that have been proven successful. This resource will expertly guide pastors, supervisors, and congregations in nearly any church setting or denomination.  


Webinar Resource: Leadership Transition – Pastoral and Key Leadership Changes by Jacqui King, Director of Leadership for Congregational Vitality, Discipleship Ministries

DATE RECORDED: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 DURATION: 50 min PRESENTER: Jacqui King, Director of Leadership for Congregational Vitality

When leadership change happens, both laity and clergy must be prepared to manage the transition process. As the SPRC chairperson, you are preparing to share the news of a pastoral change.  At the same time, the pastor and church council chairperson may be identifying new leaders to help move the church forward while they are developing people to complete unexpired terms. This webinar will help all leaders gain insights about praying for the pastor, leaders and the congregation as they transition into a new leadership season.  This webinar will also help participants develop ministry actions plans and identify dates when the congregation can bid farewell and embrace new leadership in healthy ways.


Book Resource: Making a Good Move: Opening the Door to a Successful Pastorate by Michael J. Coyner.

Though the early months and years of a new pastorate can be stressful and difficult, they can also be particularly fruitful. These new beginnings can be among the most rewarding times of a pastor’s career, especially if the minister seizes opportunities for establishing and strengthening relationships with church members and plans carefully for the transition out of the initial “honeymoon” period. Drawing on years of experience as a pastor of local congregations as well as extensive work supervising pastors, Coyner provides solid, sensible guidance on making a good move into a successful ministry.


ePub Book Resource: A Change of Pastors … and How it Affects Change in the Congregation by Loren Mead.

Twenty years after Critical Moment of Ministry was first published, Loren Mead returns to his groundbreaking work on one of the most important times in a congregation s life the time between one pastor s leaving and another s arrival. In this revised edition, A Change of Pastors, Mead shares the wisdom he gained from 35 years of studying congregations, wisdom that he hopes will allow congregations to take full advantage of this extraordinarily pregnant moment during which incredible congregational change can happen.




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