One of our colleagues has happily accepted a new call and is looking for some input on how best to navigate the transition. She writes:
I just announced that I've accepted a new call in a neighboring town. I'm looking for advice on leaving well (I've been an Associate Pastor for 6 years), starting well (I'll be a solo/Head of Staff), and boundaries (since I'll be commuting, not moving).
I've done this! I'm not sure how far along you are in the process, but the first thing to keep in mind, especially since you are so close to both calls, is that each will hear how you handle things at the other. This means tell your first Call before you candidate at the next Call. It is a little out of order according to our polity, but word will get back before you are done with the charge and benediction. Now I re-read that you've already announced so... the next thing that is important is keeping your head in the game at your first Call while you are still in it. Especially because of proximity, Call #2 might want you to come to this or give thoughts on that. Unless it is related to COM or your reception - don't. Act as if you are across the country. This also counts for your time in between Calls if you have any. And here's the most challenging one - the folks at the first Call that you cannot wait to get away from? You need to do your best to make amends. A small booklet from Alban Institute called 'Running Through the Thistles' talks about this. In order for you to serve #2 Call fully, you will need to leave some stuff from #1 Call behind. Make appointments to say good-bye to the folks you struggled with - and the folks who supported you. There will be some in the former group (I'm assuming all pastors have them) who will refuse to do so. Fine, that's their choice. Now is the time for you to be the bigger person and for your own sake, let some of that stuff go. From my experience, this will go a long way for you as you head into a different type of Call. Congratulations!
Thank you, Kathryn, for sharing your wisdom!
How have the rest of you handled this sort of transition? What advice or support can you offer our colleague? Please join the conversation in the comments section.
And, as always, we welcome your questions at askthematriarch[at]gmail[dot]com!