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More Information on Transition

What does transitional work involve?

Transition, in the case of Specialized Transitional Ministry, involves movement from conflict to peace, from unhealth to health, and/or from uncertainty to humble confidence. Thrive provides STMs and congregations with a list of possible goals/priorities, which can be found on this document: Transitional Ministry goals/priorities. Of course, no situation is the same as any other, so these priorities must be engaged with collaboration, discernment, and creativity. There may be several priorities on the list that do not actually fit a congregation’s needs. There may be others that aren’t named on the list at all. But the list provides a starting point for the conversation between the STM and the church’s leadership body. 

In all cases it is expected that the STM and the leadership body will set priorities together, in the early months of the posting. Progress toward those priorities will take place collaboratively. After a time of working together, usually at the nine-month interval, the STM and the leadership body will evaluate together how much progress has been made toward fulfilling the priorities. If more time is needed, beyond the 12-month interval, to achieve the desired progress then three-month contract extensions are advisable. The hope is that no contract extension shall lead to a posting lasting longer than 24 months. 

At the end of the posting the leadership body of the church is asked to supply Thrive a full report of how well the transitional season met the priorities that the STM and the leaders established together. For a complete description of Thrive’s expectations of reporting from the STM and the church council see this document: STM Reporting Format.

How are Specialized Transitional Ministers different from pulpit supply (aka “interim”) pastors?

Pulpit supply pastors are seasoned (often retired) pastors who also have experience and skills in ministry. However, the vast majority of them have not been trained for transitional ministry, and there is no expectation that they will help a congregation through transition. They tend to serve for shorter periods of time than what is expected in transitional ministry. Thrive has a number of pastors on a list from which recommendations can be made to congregations. This list can be made available upon request. Contact [email protected].

In both the cases of pulpit supply pastors and Specialized Transitional Ministers Thrive assists with, but is not responsible for, the search/interview/negotiation process. Primary responsibility for these activities lies with the congregation and the STM/pulpit supply pastor together.  

For more information see this “Options for Interim Ministry in the CRC” blog by Sean Baker.

Further resources

1. The 14 Possible Priorities for Transitional Ministry
2. Expectations for STM/Council reporting to Thrive