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Transitional pastoral ministry training offered by LifeWay

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Training and certification for transitional pastors is available from LeaderCare, a ministry of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“Year after year, approximately 10 percent of Southern Baptist churches are without pastors,” said Neil Knierim, manager of LeaderCare. “Each church without a pastor is unique in its circumstances and needs. Transitional Pastor Ministry is designed to provide leadership uniquely qualified for those challenges.”

A recent pilot project for the new ministry resulted in 17 certified transitional pastors. Knierim said the goal is for 400 certified pastors to be available to churches in five years.

“The period between pastors is treated by many church members as the hold-things-together, keep-things-going period. For some it is a wait-and-see time. Some may stay away while the church has no pastor,” he observed.

“With effective transitional leadership, the period between pastors can be very productive — a time of growth in personal and congregational awareness, renewal and celebration. And [it’s] a time when people are attracted by congregational worship, evangelism, fellowship and personal and family ministries of the church.”

Knierim said churches that make smooth transitions might need help in dealing with grief from the loss of the pastor, fear accompanying the uncertainty of change and developing trust in new pastoral leadership. Others may have difficult transitions and may need help with conflict resolution if relationships and trust were damaged after the previous pastor left. Crisis transitions may result because of circumstances surrounding the pastor’s departure and remaining leadership who are unprepared to guide the church through emotional healing.

The training is limited to 40 persons who have been selected following an application and screening process. The next opportunities for training are Aug. 20-23 at LifeWay’s Nashville offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Sept. 10-13 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo. Sessions are from Monday night through Thursday night. Costs are limited to participants’ individual travel expenses, lodging and meals.

Additional information for retired pastors and others who wish to apply for an invitation to Transitional Pastor Ministry training may be obtained by calling Knierim at (615) 251-2490 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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  • Charles Willis