It is that time of year. The bishop and cabinet are making new appointments. Pastors, Staff Parish Relations Committees, and congregations are learning about new appointments and churches are learning about new pastors. For many, this time of year is the beginning of a transition.
Most annual conferences, Rio Texas included, have some policies and guidelines for helping in this transition. These guidelines help churches move one pastor out and another pastor in. And they help pastors with their own transitions. They cover topics like moving, preparing a parsonage for a new resident, taking care of financial matters, saying goodbye and saying hello.
Most of these guidelines have been around for a while. Many things have not changed. However, in the digital age, there are some new things that pastors and churches need to think about. I know first hand. The lack of preparation around this topic leads to many frantic phone calls and emails from pastors and churches. Lost passwords, mysterious domain hosts, and other missing information can be a source of great frustration.
So, I am sharing my first thoughts on a guide to pastor transition in a digital age.
A couple of notes on this work in progress:
- I realize one size doesn’t fit all. Some of our churches have I.T. and/or communications staff. Sometimes, in these churches, the pastor has very little contact with these issues. However, it is still a good time for the church to review policies and procedures. On the flip side, some of our churches don’t have any of these things. In other cases, the pastor is expected to be the chief technology expert.
- For my non-Methodist friends, the Pastor Parish Relations Committee, sometimes referred to as the Staff Parish Relations Committee is basically the personnel committee. They are often referred to in shorthand as the PPRC or SPRC. The reason the policy focuses on this team is that they are heavily involved in pastoral transitions. Some of the work mentioned may fall under the purview of the church’s Board of Trustees, Finance Committee, or staff.
- I imagine I am missing something. I have served in three churches and consistently work with pastors, staff, and lay leaders of congregations on tech-related issues. However, there are many unique situations out there.
- This work is focused on the technical side. I could, and maybe will someday, write some best practices for communications during a transition.
This is a work in progress and feedback from pastors, and church leaders will be very helpful in completing and clarifying. I hope you find it helpful and I hope you will chime in with your thoughts!