ISO Transition Experts

Blooming in Transition

Imagine you are a church whose pastor has just moved on/retired after over ten years of ministry (much less 30 years of ministry.) You need a transition plan.

What you don’t need is:

  • A quick search for a “permanent” new pastor to relieve every anxiety about instability and slowed momentum.
  • A place holder who has a lovely persona but no skills at shifting an organization into a new reality.
  • An aversion to taking a long hard look at who you are and where you are going as a spiritual community (today, not 20 years ago.)

What need as a person trying to serve congregations is a multitude of angels  transitional pastors who:

  • Are skilled in calming anxieties, shifting paradigms, and being a 21st Century cultural tourguide.
  • Are less about finding a job during retirement/unemployment times and more about being called to this kind of ministry.
  • Are seasoned enough to know how to deal with Church World (e.g. rogue personnel committees, piled up administrivia) but with the energy to Work Very Hard with people in transition.
  • Can see clearly in cloudy times and able to guide a congregation through the fog to clarity.

This is essentially a recruiting post for my PCUSA colleagues across the globe.

Please –

  • if you have been ordained for at least five years and have proven yourself effective in parish ministry,
  • if occasional job insecurity doesn’t freak you out,
  • if you like systems work and can love people without making it about you . . .

 – consider becoming a Transitional Pastor (also called an Interim Pastor although that job title seems to freak out congregations, probably because they’ve endured lame Interims in the past.)

If you want me to coach you or convince you or beg you, please send me an email and we’ll talk.  Increasingly – since Every Church Is In Transition – every spiritual community needs excellent transitional ministry.

I am in search of this.



5 responses to “ISO Transition Experts

  1. I applaud this effort. You inspire me to try to do the same thing in the Episcopal Church which has shifted to a negative regard for trained, intentional interim priests at the moment when aggressivly developmental transitions are greatly needed for dying congregations.


  2. Andrea ( aka rokinrev)

    Please please take the training. Please please read “Incest in the Organizational Family” , long out of print but can be found through Amazon and Powells. We in the UCC are trying to support trained interims because someone without training in this particular aspect of ministry can do more harm than good.


  3. I am a young clergy woman halfway through the training and feeling such a call to this work. Thanks for the reminder that we younguns are needed!


  4. Jan, you’re singing my song! As a Director of Transition Ministry in the Episcopal Church, I can attest to the fact that trained transition specialists are critically important. Ones who have gifts and experience in dealing with parishes that have suffered from trauma or misconduct are particularly important. Our interims have been trained by IMN, the Center for Congregational Health, or the Clergy Leadership Institute. The first is the grandaddy of interim training, the second is IMN 2.0 and is very, very good, and the third follows the Appreciative Inquiry Model. Yup, sometimes the word “interim” gives folks the fantods – sometimes I use the beautiful term “temporary shepherd” although that doesn’t reveal the transformative work that interim pastors do – but whatever they’re called, they are essential. Age is not the issue – a gift for this specialized ministry is not age dependent. One of the most gifted interims we have in our diocese is barely thirty.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for reiterating how important this is!


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