Pastors In Transition

Many blessings on your church and your community as you enter a time of pastoral transition. Below are some links, resources, and information to assist pastors, leadership teams, and Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committees as you journey through this season of simultaneously saying “goodbye” and “hello” to your pastors.


Resources from the Pastors in Transition workshop and S/PPRC chair meeting held on May 14th are below.

  • Pastors in Transition Workshop (video)
    This half-day workshop was led by the Bishop and Appointive Cabinet.
  • The Practice of Wellness (video) (PDF)
    YouTube link to Rev. DeeDee Autry’s session on clergy and clergy family wellness in this season of transition , as well as a handout corresponding to her video.
  • Andy Crouch Interview (video)
    Bishop Mueller referenced this video in his introduction.  In the video, Bishop Jones of the Texas Conference interviews Andy Crouch on “Leading Beyond the Coronavirus.”  In it, Andy shares about the blizzard, winter, and ice age metaphor.
  • Leading Beyond the Blizzard: Why Every Organization Is Now a Startup (online article)
    Bishop Mueller referenced this article by Andy Crouch, Kurt Keilhacker, and Dave Blanchard in his introduction.
  • Strategies for Winter (online article)
    Bishop Mueller referenced this article by Dave Blanchard, Andy Crouch, Jon Hart, Scott Kauffmann, and Jena Lee Nardella in his introduction.
  • Congregations and Clergy in Transition – Pastors in Transition S/PPRC Chairs Meeting (video) (PDF)
    Presentation materials from the “Congregations and Clergy in Transition” meeting.


The Arkansas Conference has created downloadable tools to assist in clergy transitions.

Critical Questions During a Transition (PDF)
This question bank is designed for transition conversation meetings between the incoming and outgoing pastors, along with key lay leaders, such as the S/PPRC Chair. Additional discussion questions have been added to help pastors transition to a new church during COVID-19.

Checklist for Pastors in Transition (PDF)
This list is not meant to be exhaustive, and not every church will have every item available, but this list will help you begin to gather the information that will help the new pastor during the transition. Additional items have been added for the unique circumstances of COVID-19.

Annual Timeline for S/PPRCs (PDF)
This timeline shares expectations for the appointment/assessment cycle and suggests topics of discussion for a full year of monthly S/PPRC meetings.

ARUMC Pastoral Transition Covenant (PDF)
This covenant was approved by the 2014 clergy session of the annual conference and shares expectations that clergy should have of one another during an appointment transition.


Parsonage Damage Report (Word Doc)
This document may be used by the SPRC and Trustee Chairs as part of a inspections during a pastoral transition.

Parsonage Guidelines During a Pastoral Transition (PDF)
Actions to be completed during the pastoral transition with responsibilities shared between the church and the clergy family.  Special care should be taken by the church for cleaning between pastors during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Parsonage Standards (PDF)
These standards have been approved by the Arkansas Conference.

COVID-19 Cleaning Grant Request (Excel) (PDF)
The Conference will pay up to $500 for disinfecting parsonages (also known as fogging). Actual cleaning of the parsonage is the joint responsibility of the clergy and congregation.


An Order For The Celebration of An Appointment
This order was designed to be used within a service of worship by a congregation whose pastor has been newly appointed by the bishop. The leader could be the chairperson of the Pastor–Parish Relations Committee or another designated leader in the congregation. This worship resource, found in the United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), is provided online and in editable Microsoft Word format by Discipleship Ministries.

An Order of Farewell to a Pastor Or Deacon
This order may be used within a service of worship on the last Sunday before a pastor or deacon moves to another congregation or retires, or it may take place at a special service. This worship resource, found in the United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), is provided online and in editable Microsoft Word format by Discipleship Ministries.

The Right Start: Beginning Ministry in a New Setting — COVID-19 Supplement
The COVID-19 crisis raises many questions about how to transition from one congregation to the next because of the unusual circumstances it creates. Many congregants are sheltering in place, many churches have suspended in-person worship, and normal patterns of engagement and activities are disrupted. In late April 2020, the Lewis Center surveyed a trusted group of pastoral leaders and judicatory leaders to gather their ideas and thoughts about making a successful transition in this challenging time. Their recommendations are summarized in this document, provided by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.