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Preparing for a New Pastor: Change

Change is hard. Sometimes it is welcomed. A practice or a situation may not be healthy or good. Sometimes, change is not welcomed and it is hard to see the benefits of some change. But change often happens whether we like it or not. Though our life situation, the people around us, or our church may change, one of the great things that Scripture reveals to us is that our God does not change. As it says in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

As God brings our church into this new stage of life in our church, our hope is to prepare us for what changes may be in store for us. Though the church may change, but this does not mean that Christ has changed. Here are some ways we can anticipate what it would be like for a new Pastor to come to our church.

Preaching Styles: Some things go beyond just style differences. The search committee and the Consistory are committed to finding someone who is gifted and trained to faithfully preach from the Bible and proclaim the gospel. This we will not compromise. However, the next pastor will use different stories and illustrations to communicate these truths. This pastor will not preach the same way as Pastor Jeff. We will have a shared commitment to God’s Word, but this new pastor will likely use points and illustrations that meet the needs of first generation immigrants. They will have a different cultural viewpoint.

Ministry Style: As with preaching styles, there are some things we will not compromise. The pastor needs to have integrity both in front of people and when people are not looking. But this Pastor will have strengths and weaknesses. This pastor may be better at counseling that preaching. This pastor may be an extrovert or an introvert. This Pastor may be a terrible singer. We must have wisdom to know what is a character issue, or just an issue of gift.

Age Difference: No matter who we hire, the new pastor will be younger than Pastor Chang. They will not have the same life experiences and will not draw from the same life and ministry. As a result, this pastor may minister from a position younger than we may have been used to in the past. This can be an issue in a culture that values age and wisdom. If you are older than the Pastor, I would like to encourage you to use this as an opportunity to learn to take on the character of Christ-Jesus did not look down on people, but humbled himself. Paul instructs Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because of his age, but to be an example to everyone of Christ. This pastor can still be an example of love and faithfulness.

Vision Shift: Every Pastor has a vision of what the church should look like. The church is not just hiring a Pastor; we are also hiring the Pastor’s vision. The vision of our church is to raise Disciples of Christ. However, there are different ways we can do this. We can do this in cell group ministry, one-on-one discipleship, and evangelism. This new Pastor can have many ideas on how to help brothers and sisters in the church grow. Let us be open to how the Spirit leads us.

How can we be prepared to change? We are not called to accept all change. Some change may be good and needed. Others can be dangerous and unhelpful.But how do we navigate these things? We need to pray. The gospel reminds us that we are weak and are unable to bring about good apart from Christ. It is a tough position to be in. We often like to think if we just get people together it’ll be great. But apart from God, we may only make things worse. We need to pray for wisdom for the new pastor. We need to pray that God would keep us faithful to His Word. Pray for wisdom for the Consistory.