The Right Start in the Era of COVID-19
The arrival of a new pastor is a critical juncture in the life of a church. A pastor’s successful transition lays the groundwork for a fruitful tenure. The Lewis Center has helped many pastors navigate this important time of transition with resources to plan a smooth departure from one ministry setting and an effective entry into the next.
The COVID-19 crisis raises many questions about how to transition from one congregation to the next because of the unusual circumstances it creates.
Many congregants are sheltering in place, many churches have suspended in-person worship, and normal patterns of engagement and activities are disrupted.
In late April 2020, the Lewis Center surveyed a trusted group of pastoral leaders and judicatory leaders to gather their ideas and thoughts about making a successful transition in this challenging time. Their recommendations are summarized in this document.
The challenges of the day demand creativity and flexibility. We hope these ideas will help pastors and congregations meet the moment with hope and confidence. But even in this unusual time, the fundamental practices that make for a good transition are still relevant. Indeed, they are more important than ever. So, these suggestions are offered as an addendum to the time-tested advice in The Right Start: Beginning Ministry in a New Setting.
Lovett H. Weems, Jr.
Senior Consultant, Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership, Wesley Theological Seminary