Transitional Ministry Reprise

My inbox overfloweth.

After posting this love letter to Transitional Pastors, I heard from quite a few of you. In fact, I received over 60 private texts, DMs, emails, and phone calls about the state of Transitional Ministry and Transitional Ministry Training in the Church. Here’s the problem: nobody wants to shame or blame their colleagues and yet changes need to be made. Among the comments I heard over and over again:

  • My transitional ministry training was a waste of time.
  • The transitional ministers teaching the course I took are not themselves effective transitional pastors.
  • Some of the faculty who taught my class have never been transitional pastors.
  • My recent training prepared me to be an interim pastor ten or twenty years ago.
  • The supposedly trained transitional pastor at my church before I was called and installed there did nothing but preach old sermons.

It’s not easy to tell a beloved colleague that their transitional ministry gifts are weak. It’s not easy to share with my colleagues who teach Transitional Ministry Training that their faculty and methods are not preparing leaders to be effective transitional ministers in a late 21st Century, post-pandemic, overwhelmingly divided and anxious culture.

There are some good training offerings out there and there are some stellar transitional leaders out there. I shared one training in particular that I’ve found to be excellent. If you’ve checked them out, please do so again to leave your contact information. (Now there’s a black and white tab to click at the top of their website if you want to be on their mailing list.)

These times demand excellence in the way we serve the Church of Jesus Christ. It’s a critical time when we need about five times more gifted transitional leaders than we currently have. Please consider if God is leading you to be trained for this particular calling. Thank you. And thank you, colleagues, who are questioning if you should continue to serve as or train transitional leaders. It might be time to let some fresh leaders serve in this way.

4 responses to “Transitional Ministry Reprise

  1. David Rollins

    My wife has been doing transitional ministry for over 20 years. She has also been teaching for much of that time. I have had the training, but have never served in a “transitional” role. Having been ordained for over 25 years and been through numerous seminars, retreats, and continuing education experiences including a DMIN degree, I believe we tend to pull from our training the amount of effort we put into it. Sure some of it is better than others, but the key for each of us is to continue to grow, develop, and evolve. To do less would short change the one who created us. Thanks for your writing, Jan.


  2. Andy Casto-Waters

    Hi Jan.

    Thank you for these. In addition to the one you mentioned, I found the Center for Congregational Health Training to be very helpful and thorough. This. Training gave me a clear plan and action steps for proceeding with a congregation in transition, as well as the theoretical insights that were really valuable. It was a one week intensive (40 hours) with a 6 month practicum (2 hours each month with presentations by participants). Here is the link:

    Thank you for these posts. I find them to be really helpful in my thinking and practice.

    Peace, Andy Casto-Waters


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Spot on. As an interim minister with a specialization in deeply conflicted congregations, I’m tired of hearing about interims simply slapping another coat of paint on a boat with a gaping hole in the hull.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 2 people

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