What do you do when your pastor retires or accepts a call to another place of ministry?
Peggy Johnson, member of FBC North Kingston and Past President of American Baptist Churches USA, shares their story, “When our former pastor at First Baptist of North Kingstown, R.I. retired we decided to use the ABCUSA Transition Ministries program. Within 3 weeks of Rev. Dr. Leonard Thompson Sr.’s arrival the question being asked by many of the church members and friends was “can he stay?”!
The congregation felt they were being provided with pastoral care, inspirational messages, encouragement and visitation to all folks in hospitals or under hospice care as well as just a friendly visit to members and friends, i.e. the larger church family.
Pastor Len participated in the various outreach and ecumenical functions the church is involved in without missing a beat. In fact, we have experienced growth through baptism and an increased weekly attendance. In addition to providing ongoing support and pastoral care, he has provided guidance navigating through this time of transition and moving into a promising future.
I personally would recommend this program as it provides continuity for the congregation during transition. As a result, the transition period, for us has been an uplifting time as we continued our established ministries of ecumenical community, outreach and prayer. Nothing was overlooked and Bible Study was added to our programs. Meanwhile, the Pastoral Search committee has been able to take the appropriate time needed to find our next settled pastor because they don’t feel pushed to rush the process, due to the excellent support of ABCUSA Transition Ministries,” said Johnson.
The Transition Ministries program was developed in response to the expressed needs of churches and the gifts of trained and seasoned pastors, recognizing the unique opportunity that exists between settled pastors. Intentional interim ministers serving through Transition Ministries help churches make the best use of this time in ways that make a difference in moving into a fruitful future.
Churches that desire to be part of this program can contact their Region as well as Transition Ministries (610-768-2070 or Joyce.Lake@abc-usa.org) to receive more information.
For pastors interested in becoming intentional interim ministers, there are two upcoming training events:
ABC of New York State
May 6 – 8
Stella Niagara Conference Center, Lewiston, N.Y.
Level II certification
ABC of Indiana/Kentucky and ABC Greater Indianapolis
June 10 – 12
FBC Columbus, Columbus, Ind.
A third for Level 1 certification was held April 8 – 10 at Canonicus Camp and Conference Center in Exeter, R.I.
Your gifts to United Missions make this ministry possible. Transition Ministries ABCUSA works to partner with regions in resourcing churches during times of transition in a way which enhances their ministry and empowers them to journey into the future as vibrant missional congregations.