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Specialized Transitional Ministers

Specialized Transitional Ministers* are experienced pastors who are trained to help congregations experience transitions in constructive ways–transitions from conflict to peace, from unhealth to health, from uncertainty to confidence. STMs have been through Thrive’s endorsement process, which includes a number of interviews, a formal vocational assessment, and specialized training. 

Thrive holds STMs accountable to their endorsement by requiring them to serve churches with skill and compassion, follow the Thrive reporting protocol, attend the annual STM conference, and participate in an STM cohort. STMs who serve churches full time can be there 9-24 months, depending on the needs. STMs are also available on a part time basis, and even as coaches to churches that are experiencing transition. In any case, STMs may never be considered as candidates for the transitioning congregations' established ministry positions. This is to protect the STM’s capacity to make important observations and raise uncomfortable questions unhindered by any concern to build and protect long term relationships. 

The work of an STM involves two main areas of responsibility. The STM:

  1. Fulfills regular pastoral duties so that the congregation is stable enough to navigate transition well.
  2. Identifies and then leads a congregation through the transitions that are needed so it is prepared to welcome and work well with a new pastor. Such work is often needed after a church has been through conflict with its former pastor and/or after a long-tenured pastor (10 years or more) has departed. The work often involves the STM using candid observations and strategic disruptions to lead the congregation into new awareness, new functioning, and new ways of being together.

To begin your search for a Specialized Transitional Minister please contact Thrive at [email protected]. For your information here is the current list of our denomination's active STMs:

Rev. Derek Bouma
Rev. Joan DeVries
Rev. Vance Hays
Rev. Neil Jasperse
Rev. Douglas Kamstra
Rev. Bruce Persenaire

Rev. Jim Poelman
Rev. Harvey Roosma
Rev. Dale Slings
Rev. Larry Slings
Rev. Roger Sparks
Rev. Stanley Sturing

Rev. Thomas Swierenga
Rev. Norman Thomasma
Rev. Norlyn Van Beek
Rev. Peter Vander Beek
Rev. Kasey Vander Veen
Rev. Tom van Milligen

Rev. Harold Veldman
Rev. Martin Vellekoop
Rev. Case Vink
Rev. Ed W. Visser
Rev. Mike Winnowski

Note: The name “specialized transitional minister” has been introduced to identify those who are trained and endorsed for this work. The generic use of the term “interim minister” has contributed to a situation in which congregations are not always aware of the level of training or expertise that a minister does or does not bring to the transitional situation facing a congregation.

Further Resources

After Your Pastor Leaves—the story of a church and its transitional journey
A Cautionary Tale—the parable of a kingdom in transition
 Unintentional Interim—the story of what happens when transitional needs are ignored