An Open Letter To Churches in Transition . . .


Sooner or later every church experiences a change in pastoral leadership.  It is not always a simple matter to negotiate these seasons of change in church life. During these times of transition churches have a golden opportunity to take a step back and reflect to see how they can prepare for effective ministry in the future.

Our vision in the Western Canadian District is for every church to thoughtfully hire a new Lead Pastor from a posture of spiritual health and clarity of vision and mission.  We want to help churches thrive through transition in preparation for a greater missional impact in the future.  There are some important things to keep in mind about transition:

  • The reasons for a Lead Pastor’s departure and the way the time of transition is managed will have significant impact on the present and future life and vitality of the church.
  • The temptation is to move immediately into a pastoral search process. There is great value in taking the time to find closure to the former pastor’s ministry and doing a re-evaluation of the church’s mission, vision and health before engaging in pastoral search.
  • With good leadership, transition can be a time of opportunity for your church to experience renewal of vision, purpose and spiritual vitality.
  • Most transitions include eight major phases — Closure, Regaining Stability, Assessment of Church Health, Developing a Transitional Plan, Preparing for the Pastoral Search Process, Conducting the Search, Hiring the Pastor, and evaluation.
  • The length of the transition varies from church to church – it is not uncommon for a season of transition to last anywhere from 6 months all the way up to 24 months.
  • We have discovered one of the best ways for a church to navigate through a season of transition effectively is with the help of a Transitional Pastor or Coach.

We recognize it can be a real challenge to lead through a season of transition.  We are committed to assisting you by providing the resources and support that address the unique needs of churches in transition.  Our District personnel along with our network of Transitional Pastors and Coaches are committed to help each of our churches through times of transition.


Rev. Brent Trask,
District Superintendent
Western Canadian District,
Christian and Missionary Alliance



Additional Resources