LEADING THE CHURCH THROUGH THE STAGES OF TRANSITION
Stage 1. Viewing the Church’s History through the Eyes of Christ
Stage 2. Affirming Biblical Principles for Church Growth
Stage 3. Focusing on Kingdom Results
Stage 4 Establishing Church Practice
Stage 5. Allocating Resources to Support Effective Church Practice
Stage 6. Finding a Pastor to Lead in Fulfilling God’s Future for the Church
Stage 7. Helping the Pastor Get a Good Start in the Church and Community
Preparing to Lead through the Stages of Transition (First 8 weeks)
Refer to the 1st and 2nd months on the Sequence of Process provided on pages 55-56.
Leadership in the first two months should focus on getting prepared to lead the church
through the stages of transition. The level of preparation will influence the level of
success in the crucial change oriented decision-making activities during the next seven
1. First, familiarize yourself with the Church Leadership Team.
Familiarize yourself regarding the church’s schedule of events, elected leaders,
community resources, and, if new to the area, its denominational resources. Give
particular attention to the Church Leadership Team. The Church Leadership Team,
sometimes called Church Council, is composed of leaders (chairmen, directors, and
coordinators) of ministry and service organizations such as deacon ministry, Bible study
(Sunday School), discipleship training, music ministry, and finance ministry. The team
assists in coordinating and promoting activities essential to the applications of biblical
principles in church practice. If the church you serve does not have a Church Leadership
Team, contact LifeWay Christian Resources for copies of the Church Leadership Team
Handbook to use in introducing the concept in the church.
2. Then, select Transitional Pastor Prayer Partners.
Select from among the church’s members four to seven men, depending on the size of the
church, to serve as Transitional Pastor Prayer Partners. They will serve the transitional
pastor, at his request and without being elected by the church, as legitimizers and spiritual
accountability prayer partners. They must be spiritually healthy and not participants in
any power struggles in the church. It is helpful for them to be experienced in a variety of
occupations such as financial administration, education, marketing, personnel
management, and such from which they gain insight about issues that may confront the
church. The Transitional Pastor Prayer Partners will meet with the transitional pastor
individually or collectively at his invitation.
3. Convene a Transitional Focus Group drawn from:
Church Leadership Team (Church Council)
Transitional Pastor Prayer Partners
Strategic committee (or ministry team) chairmen not in the first four groups
If a pastor search committee has been elected, include members of the committee
not on the Transitional Focus Group by virtue of another office
Strategic committees or ministry teams include, but are not limited to, those serving in
the areas of prayer, finances/budget, properties, and personnel.
That means the number of Transitional Focus Group members will be according to the
size and needs of the church. Members may serve in more than one of the positions.
Therefore, the number of Focus Group members will not equal the number of positions in
the church’s organization chart, but the number of persons serving in those positions.
As study and research progresses, the Transitional Focus Group will be organized to
manage each of the following tasks.
A group will compile and review responses from adult and youth classes:
“Measuring Spiritual Transformation” and “Evaluating the Church’s Commitment to
Each member of the Transitional Focus Group will be assigned to subgroups needed
for completing the Church Practice Action Plan (pages 94-95) using information
found in the Church Practice Assessment (pages 91-93). The Transitional Focus
Group will study the assessment and recommendations of the subgroups, revise them
as needed, and recommend them to the church for approval.
Each member of the Transitional Focus Group will be assigned to one of the three
resource allocations subgroups: (1) leadership utilization, (2) facilities utilization, and
(3) finances utilization. Each subgroup will develop and recommend appropriate
changes in the allocation of resources to support improved church practice that has
been recommended to and affirmed by the church.
4. Schedule a LISTEN UP! Workshop for Month 2.
Resources to conduct a LISTEN UP! Workshop experience designed to help church
leaders improve their listening skills is provided in the tab by that title.
5. Schedule a Viewing the Church’s History Workshop for Month 3.
Guidance for this workshop is found on pages 59-62.
6. Ask lots of questions.
TRANSITIONAL PASTOR MINISTRY
SEQUENCE OF PROCESS
Before 1st Month 1. Build a Covenant of Relationship Between the Transitional Pastor and
2. Call and install a transitional pastor.
1st Month 3. Get acquainted with the Church Leadership Team (see page 50).
4. Select a Transitional Pastor Prayer partners (see page 50).
5. Enlist the Transitional Focus Group; provide orientation (see page
6. Schedule a LISTEN UP! Workshop (see page 51).
2nd Month 7. Conduct LISTEN UP! Workshop.
Stage 1 8. Schedule a Viewing the Church’s History Workshop.
9. Preach on the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3.
3rd Month 10. Conduct Viewing the Church’s History Workshop (see pages 59-62).
Stages 2 & 3 11. Preach on The Great Commission: God’s Purpose and Plan for His
4th Month 12. Lead the Transitional Focus Group in studying Kingdom Principles for
Church Growth, especially chapters 5 and 6 with special attention to
the Great Commission, five functions, and four kingdom results.
13. Provide adult and student (high school) Sunday School teachers with
“Growing a Church God’s Way” study guides (pages 68-70) and two
response forms: “Evaluating the Church’s Commitment to the Great
Commission” (page 71) and “Measuring Spiritual Transformation”
14. Over two weeks, all adult and student Sunday School classes study
“Growing a Church God’s Way” involving class members in
completing the two forms. Teachers return completed forms to the
church office for use by the Transitional Focus Group in preparing
recommendations to the church.
15. Small group from the Transitional Focus Group reviews the forms
submitted by Sunday School classes and reports findings to
Transitional Focus Group.
5th – 6th Months 16. Transitional Focus Group reviews Kingdom Principles for Church
Stage 4 Growth, chapters 5 and 6 with special attention to Open Groups,
Closed Groups, Corporate Worship, and Ministry Teams.
17. Communicate the Kingdom-Focused Church Strategy to the Church
through sermons, leadership meetings, church publications,
congregational dialogues, and other avenues.
18. Transitional Focus Group completes Church Practice Assessment and
Church Practice Action Plan (pages 90-95).
19. Next to Last Sunday: Present a 12-month Church Practice Action Plan
to the church for prayerful analysis.
20. Last Sunday: Church asked to affirm recommended church practices
and celebrate the church’s commitment to the Great Commission.
7th Month 21. Before 1st Sunday: Leadership Resources Subgroup determines
Stage 5 leadership required to implement affirmed church practice actions.
22. 1st Sunday: Preach on Biblical Foundations for Leadership (see page
23. 1st Sunday: Inform church of leadership needs; distribute Leadership
Volunteer Form (see suggestions on page 97).
24. 3rd Sunday: Receive and analyze Leadership Needs Volunteer Forms,
make tentative assignments, make enlistment contacts.
25. Last Sunday: Recommend leadership changes for church approval;
schedule leadership installation.
8th Month 26. 1st Sunday: Preach on using God’s property effectively.
27. 1st Sunday: Conduct Guided Prayer Walks seeking discernment about
using facilities in the most effective way to support church practice.
28. 2nd Sunday: Facilities Resources Subgroup begins preparing a facilities
29. Next to Last Sunday: Transitional Focus Group present facilities report
to the church for prayerful consideration.
30. Last Sunday: Request church affirmation of facilities recommendation.
9th Month 31. 1st Sunday: Preach on biblical stewardship.
32. 1st Sunday: Financial Resources Subgroup begins preparing a
recommendation for budgeting financial resources according to
approved church practice.
33. Before 3rd Sunday: Transitional Focus Group analyze proposal of
subgroup, revise, and approve a recommendation to the church.
34. 3rd Sunday: Distribute Transitional Focus Group’s financial resources
recommendation to the church for information and prayerful
35. 4th Sunday: Request church affirmation of recommendation. If the
report is affirmed, lead the church in celebrating what God has done
among them during the past 9 months. (If not, lead in revising so that it
will be affirmed and present the revised recommendation).
36. Celebrate God’s leadership in the church resulting in a clear and
compelling vision of what God wants the church to be and do in the
Stage 6 37. Lead church to elect a Pastor Search Committee and begin the search
or to release the Pastor Search Committee previously elected to proceed
with their assignment using the Great Commission/Kingdom Growth
plans the church has adopted in finding the pastor the Lord has
prepared for the church. Plan to lead them in a study of the Pastor
Search Committee Handbook.