What is a Lead Pastor Transitions Team?

What is a Lead Pastor Transitions Team?

by Rev. Jessica Moffatt & Rev. Dr. Thomas Hoffmann

We are now into our second month with you at Church of the Servant! The time has quickly flown by. This is due not only to your hospitality, but also because of your demonstrated faith in Christ and love for your church. What a joy it is to be your Lead Pastor Transitions Team for a season.

“For a season.” How long is that? And what about our unique title: Lead Pastor Transitions Team? What does this mean? We’d like to unpack this, starting with our title.
“Lead Pastor” may make sense to you. Lead Pastors typically take on most of the duties of Senior Pastors. We are also a Lead Pastor “Team.” Having flexibility of responsibilities and the ability to equally share ministries is very helpful. “Team” is also a frame of mind for us. We take a team approach to almost everything we do. This includes how we work as part of Servant’s larger staff. This also includes you: your thoughts about your church are always welcome. Your testimonies of “God-sightings” are needed. Your stories and experiences enrich us—so please share them!
The word “Transitions” remains. This lets you know that we come to Servant as persons trained in transitional and interim ministry, along with additional facilitation skills. Many denominations have discovered that when a local church is going through transitions of many kinds, one of the most helpful things can be the appointment of a specialized interim or transitional pastor. Why? Transitional pastors are not seeking a permanent place at that church, allowing them to completely focus on the unique needs of the congregation. Transitional pastors do not come to cast a vision for the congregation, but rather come to help the congregation live out the vision that God is already giving them. Transitional pastors look for places of hurt, anger, and frustration, and invite safe places for healing to happen. Transitional pastors try to stay free from the content of internal church debates and disagreements, and instead focus on the way that sisters and brothers in Christ speak to each other, listen to each other, and forgive each other—even when their personal opinions still differ. They remind the church that both the path and the destination of the Christian journey must always be the same: the sacrificial love of Jesus.

Now we can come back to the phrase, “For a season.” If we are not appointed as your longer-term, “settled” pastors, how long will we be with you? The answer for transitional pastors is always the same: “We will be with you until you as a congregation have successfully navigated some of your most important transitions. We will be with you until you are ready for a new chapter of love and service in Christ’s name.” Here at Servant, we may be with you at least through October of this year.

As your Lead Pastor Transitions Team, we make these commitments to you:

  • Each and every day, we will work toward your greater well-being and wholeness.  
  • Each and every day, we will pray for you.
  • Each and every day, we will be faithful in supporting and strengthening Servant’s ministries and mission.
  • Each and every day, we will offer you God’s healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
  • Each and every day, we will lift up Jesus Christ our Lord in all that we say and do.
  • Each and every day, we rely on your prayers.

Together, and with God’s help, we might just discover that this “in-between, liminal time” at Servant is one of the most important and fruitful seasons of our Christian journey.