I have been serving as an interim pastor for the past few months. The congregation recently extended a call to a new pastor who will be on the field in a few weeks. It is an exciting time for the church family and their new pastor. The church leadership recently distributed some suggestions to the congregation regarding how church members could welcome their new pastor and his family.
The suggestions were grouped in four broad categories—Be Patient, Be Positive, Be Prayerful and Be Proactive. The suggested in the “Be Patient” category reminded church members about the many decisions, transitions, and tasks that have to be completed by their pastor and his family as they make to the move to a new community and church. This includes getting to know the names of the new church family. The suggestions included being patient and giving the new pastor and his family time to settle in.
The suggestions in the “Be Positive” section included not expecting the new pastor to “fix” all the current problems when he arrives. Members were encouraged to express appreciation for their church and its ministries. They were also urged to be considerate of the pastor’s family.
The “Be Prayerful” section reminded members the new pastor cannot do his job on his own. Pray for God’s blessing upon his ministry. Pray for church leaders who will work with the new pastor.
The last section on the list—Be Proactive—encouraged members to write a welcome note to their new pastor. They were urged to volunteer to be helpful in the transition. Once when I arrived at a new pastorate a church staff member volunteered to take me to all the community hospitals showing me their locations, where I could park, and how the hospitals were organized. It was a very helpful introduction.
As I read through the list of suggestions for welcoming a new pastor, I realized that many of the suggestions were be appropriate for any pastor. It is so easy for a congregation to grow to depend upon their pastor and church staff. Sometimes we forget how important it is for us to express appreciation and care for them. Don’t forget to “Care for Your Pastor” whether he is new or a familiar friend.
This article was written for the e-newsletter of Churchnet: e-current.