What Do I Need to Know When Considering Transitional Ministry?


The following wisdom emerged from a dialogue of approximately 10 Transitional Pastors at a Transitional Pastors Network meeting in the CPD. These were in response to a question posed by someone considering Transitional Ministry: “What do I need to know about transitional ministry?”

  1. It’s not for everybody.
  2. Lack of church home – on the road, distance to your spouse
  3. Not enough connection in the church family may affect both you & your spouse.
  4. One hour of transitional ministry is more intense than one hour of regular pastoring.
  5. Less margin in your life, thus self-care is v important.
  6. Financial cost – self employed but lose the clergy deduction.
    6.1 Self-employed, serving as a consultant/contractor creates a more peer-to peer relationship with the board. (This can help break past unhealthy patterns of how leadership relates to the lead pastor.)
  7. Board sits up straighter when you present a contract.
  8. A lonely work – not as wide a circle of friends.
    8.1 They know you are leaving, so the relationships are more shallow.
    8.2 Most relationships are with board members (and staff) as they are the ones you are meeting with the most.
  9. Crisis solving is a key feature.
  10. You have to be innovative, operate with an altered schedule.
  11. Have a love of fixing things.
  12. Leave no footprint. Don’t impose a philosophy or pattern of ministry based on your preferences and personality.
  13. Dealing with people’s assumptions: what’s wrong with you, what’s wrong with us? 13.1 A metaphor is physiotherapy for a period of time, then you move on.
  14. When called to it, it is awesome!
  15. Ford Ad: Job 1. In a transitional role job 1 is to prepare the church for next chapter 15.1 A surgeon who works on a body, sometimes minor, other times significant (hurts the body to heal the body)
    15.2 You can become the throwaway – isn’t it great the new pastor is coming?!
  16. Deep conviction & love for the local church – that it makes a difference, advances the cause of the Kingdom. 16.1 Willing to put your life on the line for it. Bringing hope.
  17. Have to have a funeral – walk away from it – it was for a season.
  18. You will never become the pastor! (repeat over & over)
  19. It is a calling!
  20. Financial insecurities – some may not have understanding or appetite for it.
  21. Doing this later in life with other sources of income can work – but add some $ cushion.
  22. Come as a consultant, people do take you seriously. 22.1 Often glad to have you, you can be objective, speak into situations, be very practical (e.g sermon on how to treat a pastor).
  23. A kind of John the Baptist ministry.
  24. Some transitional workers feel they have completed more in one year than in 5 years ministry as a regular pastor.
  25. The church does not fully appreciate it all until you’ve gone – accolades are minimal at the time.

Interim model = a bridge between 2 admins
Transitional model = an analysis of the bridge (engineer)
You could save a lot of years of grief for a church.

2 thoughts on “What Do I Need to Know When Considering Transitional Ministry?”

    • And thanks for your input into the building of this list, Ed. It’s nice that transitional ministry has enough practitioners that we can begin to recognized some of these common themes.


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