Still relishing the warmth of my blankets, I am snuggled among my down pillows willing the sun not to rise. I need time to slow down. I need a chance to catch my breath. My life is moving more quickly than I can keep up, it seems.
Although my husband and I felt God calling us to begin a new ministry, Courage To Lead, long ago, the details of our transition have piled up all at once, and my mind is spinning with all that I want to say and do here at Mountain Lake Church in my final days.
Passing the baton of leadership for the church we planted isn’t easy for us or for our church family. A myriad of administrative details must be addressed, and choosing our successor feels like choosing a new parent to raise our child. Our top priority in this time, however, has been the spiritual health and outlook of our church body and our ministry team. Transitioning from one lead pastor to another has its challenges, and churches sometimes suffer through the process.
With that in mind, Shawn and I want the people of Mountain Lake Church to be prepared! So, allow me to encourage and challenge you with the same tips I gave my own team of pastor’s wives. Check them out!
5 Ways To Manage Your Emotions Through A Transition:
- Stay calm. God is not wringing His Hands as He wonders what will become of His church. He has a plan; He has all along. Don’t allow your mind to panic as you fear what the future could hold. Remain calm. There is no better place to be than in the Hand of God.
- Stay confident. How many times has God proven Himself in Scripture? In your life? In the lives of those around you? Has God – even one time – ever let you down? Ever lured you out to the middle of the ocean only to let you drown? NO! So, stay confident. This church and our ministries belong to Him, and He is in control.
- Talk to your spouse. Share your feelings and worries. God will use those conversations to embolden both of you.
- Serve. Now is not the time to shrink back from serving God! If you want to hear from Him, move closer to Him. Join Him in His activity!
- Pray. Talking to God (and listening!) strengthens us. God encouraged me with this verse: “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”” Daniel 10:19 NLT
5 Ways to Pastor The Church Family Through A Transition (if you serve in any area of volunteerism, YOU are a leader! These tips are for YOU!):
- Be present. Stand in the lobby for 15 minutes after attending a weekend service in order to mix and mingle. Being available for questions, hugs, prayer, and warm conversations allows people to feel secure during the transition.
- Serve. Continue leading by example in worship and in ministry areas. Model the way for people and recruit them to serve, as well. Be diligent in helping others use their gifts to build a strong church!
- Smile. Be mindful of our facial expressions and allow our personalities to show on our faces! Remember, we are helping to foster a safe place for people to connect with God and others. Be a stellar host!
- Encourage. Catch people doing what is right and celebrate it! Write notes, fist bump someone, compliment a volunteer in front of others, thank people for serving, celebrate a life that God has changed. Never squander the opportunity we have to encourage others to keep fighting the good fight of our faith. Be a proactive encourager!
- Leverage social media. Post a Scripture, a reminder for an upcoming church event, a picture of people enjoying fellowship, or a snapshot of worship. Use social media to motivate excitement for God and for the church. People ALWAYS need to be reminded that God and His church are good!
Of course, we have prepared our Team with far more instructions, but I wanted to share these with my entire church family, especially our leaders in volunteerism! Serving at Mountain Lake Church has been the highlight of my ministry journey. God has breathed on this place, and I have been privileged to see so much of His activity. I stand amazed. Our next lead pastor is getting quite a gift from God to be called here. I know our church will honor him well!
I’m praying for you, Mountain Lake Church! I love you!