Why it is critical to equip churches for pastoral transitions

According to the 2006-2007 National Congregations study, 50 percent of congregations have a new senior clergy member in the last seven years (HT: CT).

Given that local churches are as much God’s plan for this age as the Ark was for Noah’s, and that if this trend holds, half of churches will experience a transition in the next seven years, it is critical that churches be equipped to  be Word centered in those transitions.

Do you think most churches are prepared for a pastoral transition?

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2 Responses to Why it is critical to equip churches for pastoral transitions

  1. Not at all, particularly churches who do not do a good job of raising up leaders from within the congregation. Because they don’t do it, they don’t realize how vital it is to find a new pastor who places a priority on identifying and training up men for Christian ministry, whether vocational or otherwise.

    Additionally, I don’t think many churches and their members really know what being “Word-centered” means, so they let the search lead them to who “feels right” or who is a change of pace. If churches instead placed a priority on the correct, Jesus-centered preaching of the Bible, I think we would see a revolution in the American Church. Being Word-centered requires more work, though, particularly with regards to listening to sermons. Chris, does your book talk at all about how to train a congregation to listen to a sermon actively instead of just being a passive recipient? I think that would provide tremendous benefits to a congregation when searching for a new pastor. One of the most troubling things to me about modern evangelicalism is the fact that most sermons could be preached at a synagogue or a mosque or even the most liberal protestant church. If people don’t know to expecting something different from pastoral candidates, that trend is going to continue.

  2. Chris Brauns says:

    Chris Blackstone,

    Thanks for your comment. I spend quite a lot of time equipping congregations to evaluate preaching in a way that requires active participation.

    I agree – – I think churches need help understanding what it means to be Word-centered. Of course, most churches would say that is a priority. Do they really know how to go about being Word-centered?

    Chris Brauns.

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