Shepherding while in transition between pastors

I recently had the opportunity to consult with elders who are striving to develop a shepherding ministry though they are in the search for a new senior minister. Some might think that they should wait until the new pastor arrives. Don’t wait! This is exactly the right time to begin a shepherding ministry. In fact, there is no better time to initiate regular contact with the sheep than when members might be concerned about the continuity of care without a pastor in place. You will probably preclude some of the straying away that happens whenever a pastor leaves a church.

Shortly before Phil Ryken left Tenth Presbyterian Church to become President of Wheaton College I had the opportunity to have lunch with him. Our conversation included Phil’s confidence that the flock at Tenth would be well-cared for in the time of pastoral transition due to the elders’ commitment to maintain regular contact with its 1200 members. So it was that member care did not miss a beat in the year between Phil’s departure and Liam Goligher’s installation. By the way, if a pastoral candidate isn’t happy that you have developed a shepherding plan before his arrival, that should raise some eyebrows. He should rejoice that he will be partnering with other shepherds in caring for the flock.