Five Enduring Principles that Help Us Navigate Transition and Change

Just because a church has agreed to an intentional interim process does not mean they are ready for all that goes with it. 

It takes wise and thoughtful leadership to navigate the transitional process. Healthy transitions don’t just happen but require spiritual discernment, competency and wise leadership to navigate. 

As you and I work with congregations in transition, we need to keep in mind some basics. For many of you, these ideas are not new but if you’re like me, I need reminding because I forget things.

This is your reminder of some basic principles to keep standing on as you lead and work with congregations in transition. Please send me yours to add to this list.    

Five Enduring Principles that Help Us Navigate Transition and Change

1. Communicate a Compelling Transitional Vision

 Vision comes in all sizes. There is the long term overarching vision a church needs. There’s also the shorter term transitional vision.  This...

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Don't Get Your Hopes Up

There’s a time and place for leaders to speak the words: “Don’t get your hopes up!”

I’ve heard doctors say those words. After my motorcycle accident, I asked my surgeon if I’d be able to run again in a few months. He said in so many words, “Don’t get your hopes up!”

I couldn’t believe he was so negative!

You find yourself talking to a board about how long their transition will be and they tell you that 3-6 months should be enough time. You carefully say to them, “Don’t get your hopes up!”

What are we saying when we say “Don’t get your hopes up”?

We’re cautioning people to avoid unrealistic expectations. We’re waving the caution flag and suggesting that in order to have a bright future during transition, you need to go through the valley of uncertainty and emotion to get to the other side.

Leadership during transition is about helping manage expectations and guide congregations...

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Why We Should All Be More Like the Jesuits

jesuits leadership May 03, 2023

Let’s talk about leadership.

In particular, let’s look at a group of leaders who have a great deal to teach us who are called to lead during these challenging times. The leaders I’m referring to are the Jesuits.

The leadership practice of the Jesuit's has a lot to teach us about living out our calling with courage, adaptability, and the readiness to help others change and grow through transition.

These thoughts come from a book I’ve revisited but still very applicable today. The book is by author Chris Lowney and is entitled "Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World." If you haven't read it, pick up a copy. 

General Thoughts on Leadership

When you look at what the Jesuits believed about leadership some key underlying principles stand out:

  • We’re all leaders and we’re leading all the time – either leading well or poorly.
  • All leadership springs from within and is first and foremost an inside...
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Companioning: The Best Thing You Can Do After the Loss of a Pastor

The pastor is gone and is not coming back.

What is the best thing you can do for those who grieve the loss of their pastor?

  • Tell them it’s going to be OK?
  • Tell them the search committee is already looking for the next pastor?
  • Tell them God has a plan for our church?

No, no, and no.

What grieving people need is a companion to walk alongside them. It doesn’t need to be you, if you’re the transitional pastor, but it needs to be someone — someone equipped to know what to say, what not to say, and how to show up.

How we walk with people who are grieving matters. I’ve been learning to support grieving people in a way that has a track record of being very helpful - the term for it is companioning. How you and I show up with those who have experienced loss, whether it’s the loss of a pastor or the loss of a friend, makes a lasting difference.

One resource I’ve found very formative in learning how to walk with grieving people is the work of Dr....

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The Undistracted Leader - How to live with less distractions in your life

distraction leadership Feb 01, 2023

In a world of distraction, there is a pathway forward. In this video, Cam talks about the three R's required to live with less distractions and how to stay focused in your life and leadership.

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2022 in Review & How We Can be Stronger Together

Uncategorized Jan 23, 2023

Cam reflects on the past year and shares what TLN has been up to. He also provides a summary of our year end survey.

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A Fresh Take on True Hope

hope Dec 11, 2022

Hope is a common theme at Christmas time for a very good reason. It's essential to live our best life! If you are looking to renew or freshen up your hope personally or in your ministry, this video is for you.

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The Power of Storytelling

story storytelling Nov 15, 2022

There is transformational power when people tell stories that need telling to people who are truly listening. We need it in our personal lives and to facilitate it with communities in transition. Here are three questions to consider.

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Who are the future harvest hands in transitional ministry?

There continues to be a need for more harvest hands needs in all areas of God's kingdom harvest work. That includes the need for more quality transitional pastors. Where do you fit into helping to meet that need?

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Introducing the Transitional Leader Designation Program

The Transitional Leader (TL) Designation program equips and supports both transitional leaders and their sponsoring agencies. Transitional leaders receive training and support for ongoing development and ministry effectiveness. Denominational leaders and other sponsors receive support and resources to find, train and designate transitional leaders for the harvest field.  

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