In the United Methodist Church, it's appointment season -- when episcopal cabinets select who will pastor where. My own pastor has been informed that he will be moved but, quite appropriately, he won't tell us where he's going or who is coming in his place. And hopefully I'll have a student appointment in a few months. On these subjects, Allan Bevere writes about how a pastor should move to a new appointment gracefully:
1. Do not publicly criticize your predecessor. It is unprofessional and no one will be impressed with you. It may indeed be the case that you would do some things differently than she or he did, or you may become convinced that the previous pastor failed in some things, but keep your thoughts to yourself. When you criticize the former pastor your own insecurities will be revealed for all to see.
2. Make sure that you publicly express the appreciation you have for the former pastor. All pastors make some important contributions to the ministry of the church. Do not fail to mention such things when it is appropriate. Such compliments will discourage people from criticizing the former pastor to your face, and those who really appreciate your predecessor's ministry will begin to appreciate your professionalism and your acknowledgement of the importance of the pastor's ministry before you.
3. Continuity of ministry means that while there are things that you will do differently, there are also things that should remain the same. Pastors should not change things for the sake of change. If you change things without prayful consideration or if you change things too quickly, you will send the message to the congregation that the way they have been doing worship and/or ministry is wrong. Make sure that you do not simply brush aside the things they have come to deem as important. At the same time, the church moves forward most effectively when things change. Do not let the status quo who desire that nothing be done differently, hold you captive to moving the mission of the church forward.
Hat tip: MethoBlog