Transitioning between ministers

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by ScottEmerson, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
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    Hello, all! For those of you who I've conversed with, many of you know that right now I am working as the Director of Middle School Ministries of my church. Due to some various issues with the Student Minister, he is resigning his position effective next month. The Personnel committee has already met and has offered me the position of Interim Student Minister. After 3 months, if everything goes as it should, I will be presented to the church as the full-time Student Minister. We have about 250 high school and middle school students on roll. I just turned 25, and this will be my second position where I am the leader of an entire ministry. As you can imagine, I am filled with both excitement and a little bit of fear. I have seen God work in the middle school ministry and I am convinced that our church will see Him work in the high school ministry as well.

    Here's my question: Have any of you dealt with such a transition? I don't see too many students or parents who are fiercely loyal to our current student ministry as far as that goes - people who would be considered "troublesome" like that. There will be several things that will be changed, and I've got a big job ahead of me. However, what do any of you think about specific situations to be aware of when transitioning from one way of doing ministry to another?

    Thanks, all!
     
  2. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    Scott, I can't offer any advice on this ministry, but I wish you God's speed and every blessing in this all important ministry. Look after the youth and the church will progress as it should. Let the youth suffer, and soon there is no flock to tend.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. gb93433

    gb93433
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    My opinion is be humble. Listen a lot and don't ever criticize the former student worker.
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    IF you make a lot of changes in your first months there (before confirmation as permanent) you will find that there IS opposition and some conflict.

    I'd advise taking time to bond with the leadership (steak fry out, weekly e-letters to keep all in the loop). Focus on THEM, not on the students or on the program. Let those run as usual.

    With the leadership tight, you can then S-L-O-W-L-Y begin to make some changes.
     
  5. ScottEmerson

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    One of the benefits is that I've already been here at the church for a little over a year. I have some strong supporters. For the last nine months, people have quietly (and no so quietly) been asking for a change.

    I have a good relationship with about 75% of the student ministry leadership. That's helpful. Personally, I am working on a vision of student ministry. My plan is to cast that vision among the leadership and among the students and hope that people will want to jump on board. A lot of it has to do with having a ministry that isn't just about "fun." I've seen too many of those. I believe that an effective student ministry is focused upon worship, discipleship, fellowship, and engaging the church in ministry and the world in missions. (Yep, the same principles as purpose-driven.) However, unlike a purpose-driven student ministry, I want to really focus upon the families of the students, and create something of a familiy-based student ministry (Devrees has written a great book about that.)

    But, yes, I'll move slower and more purposefully than my initial thoughts. I've got a good relationship with our senior pastor and senior associate pastor, so I'll be bouncing plenty of ideas off of them. We have one of those churches where if the pastor is behind an idea, most of the congregation will be behind it as well.

    Thanks for your suggestions and advice! Any more?
     
  6. David Ekstrom

    David Ekstrom
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    I can only pray that my daughter has a fine youth pastor such as yourself when she's that age! You've said some very good things. I think that church leaders need to focus on casting vision for the fundamental needs: worship, edification, and evangelism. Programs, per se, are only vehicles to fulfill those needs. Too often, we're trying to railroad a particular program through without transferring vision as to what we're really hoping to achieve. Change for change's sake is the great temptation for leaders. It makes them feel like they are in charge and gives them a tangible marker of success. The most important aspect of leadership is the touchy-feely stuff that guys tend to want to avoid. But the fact is, you are the one they follow, not a program. Let them know you love them and be a man of high integrity and have a strong work ethic. Be humble and build them up. Keep your eye focused on the fundamentals. Don't be afraid of being criticized. Your critics will tell you what your friends won't. Empathize and listen when people gripe. They're probably right even if the way they say it is all wrong.
     
  7. ScottEmerson

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    Thanks so much for the encouragement, David!
     
  8. GODzThunder

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    Isn't that true with all ministry, Amen!
     

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