A Prayer for Pastors and Churches in Transition
On the one hand, change is exciting. New pastors mean new ideas. New churches mean new people to develop relationships and share ministry with.
On the other hand, change is really hard. Some pastors are leaving great churches filled with many close friends – friends who have shared life’s ups and downs. Some churches are losing pastors who have meant a great deal to them – pastors who have shared life’s ups and downs in a variety of ways.
Central Church will not experience a change in pastors until July 1, 2016 when Pastor Wayne retires. Although pastors are frequently moved between local Churches by the Conferences in the United Methodist Church, the transitions are not without a tinge of pain and sadness.
Knowing in advance that we must say goodbye to our pastor in just 12 months makes us more mindful than in most years to what many congregations – and their pastors – are experiencing with pastoral transitions this year, and we share this prayer written by Bgosden for all pastors and churches who are experiencing transition.
We give you thanks for you constant presence. Through seasons of constancy and even change, you are with us – calling us into deeper waters, calling us together in your spirit of unity, calling us out of ourselves into the world to serve others.
Grant that those pastors bring called into new waters might hold fast to unending love and mercy as a buoy – a love that promised to hold onto us even as we go where your Spirit leads us. May the Churches that receive them be communities of mercy and grace.
May the Churches experiencing loss and change hold fast to the promise that your mission is bigger than any single pastor, local Church, or annual conference. Grant that such a promise would bring both comfort and discomfort – comfort in a season of change and discomfort as it drives us all to love you and each other more.
Strengthen us to be your Church in all times and seasons of life – a place where all are truly welcomed and embraced in your love (even new pastors and Church members); a place where we find ways you are active among us and calling us to join in your saving work (even in communities that weren’t our top choice to move to); a place where the story of your love and grace and mercy are embodied (even if it comes in shapes and sizes and languages that are new to us).
We offer our prayers in the name of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.