I’ve discovered that during times of transition the wisest action I can take is to actually take a break from action. For me, it’s tempting to jump in with both feet as soon as I get in a new position. I see areas that obviously need fixing, and I want to get in there and fix them. However, I’ve learned the hard way that jumping in and fixing everything isn’t always the best initial action. Instead, I believe we should take three steps when we transition to a new position: pray, observe, and evaluate.
In seasons of transition, the first thing we should do is pray. We want to make certain that we are spirit led – asking the Lord to show us what our new role will be, who we need to reach out to, that we will have favor with these new people, that our children will flourish in the transition, and on and on – so many things to pray about! We wouldn’t want to try to go through a transition without the Lord directing every step!
Secondly, we should observe. Go beyond first impressions. Take time to watch people, to drive around your new surroundings if you are living in a new place, read social media profiles of new people in your life, ask questions, etc. Imagine you are a scientist taking field notes of your new ministry or church.
Lastly, after you’ve observed for a while, evaluate the information you’ve gathered. Try to determine which areas need your attention and which areas would be a waste of your time. Every place is different. Perhaps in your former church you served as the women’s ministry leader, and you were very effective in that role. That doesn’t automatically mean that’s the role you’ll fill in your new church. Maybe this new church already has a wonderful women’s ministry leader. Maybe you led a ministry at your former church that wouldn’t work at all in the culture of your new church. Then again, perhaps your role will be exactly the same in this new place. However, don’t assume that it will be the same. Be flexible and willing to be used in whatever way the Lord needs to use you in this new place.
Transition is tough. If you are moving to a new church, that can mean that the minister’s spouse has to find a new job, you have to find a new place to live, and the kids have to change schools. Don’t rush in and make rash decisions about what your new role in this place needs to be. You may get some pressure to immediately do everything the former pastor’s wife did. If that happens, just let those dear people know that you are taking a moment to pray, observe, and evaluate what your role needs to be before you jump in and get to work. May the Lord bless you in your season of transition!
Taking a Moment While in Transition is the launch for our blog series on Transition in Ministry featuring the mentors of our Let's Come Alongside mentoring opportunity, now available. Join us next week for more insight from an LCA mentor right here at Sanctuary.
Martha Fouts and her husband, Kevin, of 23 years have three boys, ages 17, 16 and 14. Her primary passion in ministry at Discovery Church (Yukon, OK), where the couple are lead pastors, is to serve wherever she is needed, from women's ministry to hospitality. But her personal passion is to write. With four books to her credit, as well as a blog, Martha has a wide variety of offerings for the female reader. When she manages to find free time between her taxi services to three active boys, Martha loves to go shopping or snuggle up with a good book. Looking for a new book to read? Find her works at Amazon or your favorite e-book retailer.