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One of the things that God has used me in over the years in ministry is healing wounded churches. Regardless of whether or not this is your first pastoral transition or one of many, I hope that you will take what I am about to share with you to heart and then apply it in a relevant way to those that love Jesus there in your community.
Any time you have a pastoral transition it is a tough season for the body of Christ at a church. This is especially true for the Vineyard churches that I am now part of because they have not had a lot of experience with pastoral transitions since they are such a new movement. Usually a Vineyard church is founded and pastored for a long season by one man that everyone naturally follows since he started the church. There is no questioning of authority since he established relational authority individually with each person attending as they started attending. As the Vineyard is reaching it’s 30 year mark or so, many of the men who started and pastored their churches are retiring. They either did not raise up a replacement or sent qualified replacements to plant other churches or they only trained people to be church planters and founding pastors. This has left a gap, both in our churches and in our leaders concerning the differences between starting a church and a pastoral transition into an established church. Both our churches and our leaders have very little experience with the latter. I suspect this is not uncommon with other non denominational or new organizations as well.
Since I am a transplant to the Vineyard from the Foursquare denomination, I have a little more experience and understanding in this area. The Foursquare denomination being almost 100 years old now has had to work through these issues. I personally had to work through them and learn from a few of my own mistakes. Let me share from my heart concerning what you are facing and what challenges are in front of you. Let me share some cautions as well. Let me share the heart of Jesus concerning the hope and future that your church has as you navigate the rough spots on the river of God.