I thought this might benefit any of our fellow clergy packing up and heading to new places of ministry. Originally posted 5/7/07
In the Guidelines for Pastoral Transitions packet I received from my conference there was a section entitled the Ten Commandments for Moving Pastors. I thought I would post them to help others making transitions or make some feel glad they aren’t. Tip of the hat to Nancy Burgin Rankin, director of Congregation Development for the WNCC, for writing these.
- Thou shalt pray daily for thy successor and for the pastor you will follow that both may be blessed with successful ministries.
- Thou shalt leave well, saying appropriate “good-byes” and assuring thy people that all will be well with you and they.
- Thou shalt leave thy house in order with all records updated, lists of homebound and people needing pastoral care, and all keys properly identified for thy successor.
- Thou shalt speak from the pulpit about God’s good plan for change, of how your successor will bring people a blessing, and how you go forth to serve in a new vineyard.
- Thou shalt refrain from returning to thy parish after you have moved, especially during the first year, so that your successor can become the people’s pastor. Even then, make return visits rarely, and only upon proper invitation from your successor.
- Thou shalt prepare thy family for the move by listening and valuing their anxieties. Be the pastor to them you are famous for being to others.
- Thou shalt leave thy parsonage in immaculate condition even if thou must pay someone else to get it there. Report any thing that needs repair. Do not dump this on your successor and jeopardize his/her beginning with your people.
- Thou shalt be diligent in your prayer life and through therapy if needed, so as not to pack in one’s bag bitterness, anger, resentment, and hurt to take your new appointment and inflict on innocent people.
- Thou shalt stop the blaming of others for the faults we must claim as our own.
- Thou shalt rejoice and be glad for our God comes to us new every morning. The same God who calls us goes with us wherever we go.