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For Churches

Pastoral Transitions

For Churches

Photo by Dakotas Conference.

Each summer, many United Methodist clergy and their families move to a new ministry setting. At the same time, congregations say goodbye to their pastor and get ready to welcome a new pastor. Prayer is needed for everyone involved.

In the United Methodist Church, all clergy are appointed to their places of ministry by the bishop for one year (July 1-June 30). The majority are reappointed to the same church multiple times. A variety of factors are considered in making an appointment, including which gifts match which ministry setting. (Click here for more information about the appointment process.)

According to the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, there are four stages of a pastoral transition. Such transitions can be a bit scary for the pastor and the congregation, but they allow for great new opportunities for both. To make for an effective and enjoyable transition, it’s important to embrace the journey and the changes that accompany it.

Below are a variety of excellent and free resources to help local churches and pastors as they make this transition—along with scriptures that relate to a time of transition.


For Congregations:

For Clergy:

Scripture for a Time of Transition

  • I Corinthians 1: 3-9: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
  • Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  • Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
  • 1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
  • Matthew 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


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