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Transitional Ministry: A Time of Opportunity

Church Publishing, 2009

 RRP $34.95

 Reviewed by Karyl Davison, Rural Ministry Coordinator, Presbyteries of Mary Burnett and Central Qld

 A presbytery minister said of Intentional Interim Ministry (IIM) recently said, “We don’t need that stuff!”

 And yet, time and time again we see congregations carry baggage from one ministry placement to the next, often to the detriment of the ministry and mission in that place.

 So while IIM has the reputation for being something congregations endure when there’s been serious problems, it shouldn’t be that way.

 Each and every time there is a change in ministry agent (among other things) is a time of major change.

 What happens in the time of transition which follows will contribute, either positively or negatively, to the future health of the congregation.

 Change and transition will always be a normal part of church life, but done well, it can be a time rich in growth and preparation for the future.

 Transitional Ministry sets out what we mean by transitional ministry, and why it benefits congregations in the midst of change and transition.

 It gives an overview of the tasks of interim or transitional ministry, and includes some very helpful practical guidance to those involved in church leadership in that situation, including presbytery officers.

 There is also a chapter dedicated to the work of “after pastors”, those people who go into a congregation after change of a particularly serious nature, such as unethical behaviour by clergy.

 Experience has taught us that going into a new relationship immediately after the breakdown of a marriage is often a disaster.

 So it is with the church.

 Calling a new ministry agent immediately after the departure of the previous one can lead to disaster – both for the congregation and the new ministry agent.

 Transitional ministry can help the congregation undertake the necessary steps of grieving and moving on so that the congregation’s ministry continues and grows.