God has given you gifts, and talents honed through years of fruitful ministry. Now, Alliance Transitional Ministries Network can help you use them to shepherd churches through difficult times in preparation for a promising future through a transitional ministry experience.
If you are a district superintendent and you are looking for a suitable candidate for transitional ministry, click here for more information.
Transitional ministry is pastoral ministry. Transitional pastors shepherd congregations through the uncertain period between the departure of one pastor and its search for a new long-term pastor to lead the church in the future.
The two terms are somewhat synonymous. We prefer to speak about transitional pastoral ministry because interim pastors have traditionally provided pulpit supply and general pastoral care for congregants. Transitional pastors do more. They make an intentional effort to prepare the church for the future by working with lay leaders to clarify the congregation’s mission, vision, and values, resolve conflict, train leadership, evaluate ministries and guide the church through the pastoral search process
Transitional pastors serve as the congregation’s senior pastor. Specific responsibilities are spelled out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), but the primary purpose of transitional ministry is to get the congregation ready for its next long-term pastor. Transitional ministry focuses on several tasks: 1) restoring hope, 2) resolving conflict, 3) rebuilding mission, 4) restoring vision, 5) recruiting and training lay leaders, and 6) resetting governance.
Training builds upon your previous ministry experience. It provides a framework for accomplishing the particular goals and objectives of transitional ministry. ATMN requires training for certification as a member of the Network
Training is available through a variety of sources. ATMN encourages pastors to consider training offered by Interim Pastor Ministry and VitalChurch Ministries. We will soon be able to offer Alliance pastors our own training program on the C&MA’s learning platform. In addition, certification does require training in Alliance peacemaking. More information about Alliance peacemaking can be found on the website: Peacemaking (cmalliance.org)
There are advantages to becoming a part of the Alliance Transitional Ministries Network. ATMN certification verifies your aptitude and qualifications for transitional ministry. It assures district superintendents that you have completed training for transitional ministry. In addition, the ATMN team is developing resources and coaching opportunities to assist transitional pastors
ATMN certification is intended to verify your previous ministry experience, the skills needed for transitional ministry, and training for transitional ministry and peacemaking.
After securing the necessary training, applicants must complete the Request for Certification and be approved by the Office of Church Advance.
ATMN does not act as a placement agency. Alliance transitional pastors are placed by the district superintendent overseeing the church in transition. Districts receive periodic updates indicating who is certified by ATMN and their status (assigned or unassigned). Superintendents are encouraged to contact certified pastors directly. Of course, you may also make the district aware of your availability directly.
One ministry organization estimates that about 10% of the congregations seeking pastoral candidates need to engage a transitional pastor before they call the next pastor. Contact your district superintendent to discover if there are churches in your region searching for a transitional pastor.
While not all transitional pastors are retired official workers, many are. Your Retired Official Worker’s license allows you to serve in interim ministry. Many other transitional pastors continue to hold an active official worker’s license. They are licensed by the district in which they reside as a transitional pastor, even if they are serving a church in another district.
ATMN sends an updated list of certified ATMN pastors to districts periodically. When the ATMN portal is complete, district superintendents will have direct access to the current list of available pastors.
In most circumstances, transitional pastors receive the same salary as the church provided its previous pastor. In some circumstances, when the local church resources are limited, districts have supplemented the church’s provision with an additional amount. Salaries are negotiated at the beginning of the transitional ministry. Host congregations are also expected to provide furnished housing.
Transitional assignments vary in length, from about 6 months to as many as 18 months. Occasionally they may extend to 24 months, but that is not standard.
District superintendents will contact certified pastors to determine interest in accepting an assignment. Whether you do so or not is entirely up to you and your sense of God’s leading.
Although some transitional assignments may be close to home, that is not always the case. Applicants for certification indicate the distance they are willing to travel from their residence on the Request for Certification. The transitional pastor decides what distance from their home they wish to serve. Some pastors move to the location, some commute daily and others rotate their time between locations. Those arrangements are negotiated in the MOU
There are several models for transitional ministry. A few pastors do decide to move to the church’s location until the church calls a new pastor. When the place of ministry is close to one’s residence, pastors often commute. Those who are serving a long distance from their place of residence, commonly spend three weeks (including Sundays) on site and one week working remotely from their place of residence. These arrangements should be stipulated in the MOU negotiated with the district and the church.