A Praying Life
12/7/15 at 08:31 AM 1 Comments

When the Pastor Dies - Church in Transition

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It happen in other churches and you expressed your condolences, shared a sense of sorrow and loss in learning of the passing of a Pastor. This time it has happened to you. It is your beloved Pastor. It is your church. You could not will it away, wish it away, bargain for more time, pray it away. After all, death is the entrance into the new life. It is why you live your life to live again. It is why you sing songs like: Soon One Morning, I’m Going To Fly Away, When the Saints Go Marching In, Get Right Church etc. However, it does not come without pain and without mixed emotions. You still struggle with denial and find yourself saying as I do “I can’t believe my Pastor is gone home”.

Your church may be one that is young in age, recently established. It may be one that is mature, been established for a long time and the Pastor was the founder. It may be one that has experience the loss of a Pastor before perhaps via retirement, transfer or death. The results is the same. It is a life changing event, a time of emotional upheaval, questions about the future – for your church and your personal life. It is a time of uncertainty. It is uncomfortable. It is a time of transition. Transition defined as: passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another.

Unfortunately you have heard the horror stories of Pastors passing away and the church was torn apart by discord, disagreement, legal issues and grab for power. The legacy of that ministry was tainted or altogether destroyed. Satan will always look for his opportunity when the body of Christ is most vulnerable. Every church does not have to go through that. Transition can take place in an orderly and peaceful way.

There are resources available to help provide information, plans, and suggestions on how to move forward.

Pastors and religious leaders must recognize and prepare for the inevitable. In doing my research for this blog I found there were several websites addressing this issue. The consensus for accomplishing a smooth transition include the following suggestions:

Create your plan

Write the vision to ensure the legacy will continue

Mentor i.e. support, educate, correct, inspire and motivate the successor

Make your decision known to the congregation

Be willing to pass the mantel

Discuss financial state of church

Anticipate as much as possible the congregation response

Share beliefs about spiritual state of church

Provide strategies for continue success

Acquaint successor with all aspects of church functions and leaders/president/committees in each area

As stated, I read many articles and this is consensus that I have paraphrased from my reading. The referenced materials is as follows: http://www.crosswalk.com/church/pastors-or-leadership/create-a-strategic-plan-for-pastoral-transitions-1285366. html. http://ministrytodaymag.com/life/legacy/21619-leadership-how-to-win-with-a-transition-plan. http://9marks.org/review/book-review-passing-the-leadership-baton-by-tom-mullins   http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com/2015/07/4-steps-to-effectively-communicate-your-pastors-transition/.

I was also curious about ministry that seem to have made a smooth transition and was carrying on the legacy. http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2015/March/Keeping-a-Legacy-Alive-Life-after-Myles-Munroe/. http://www.faithtemple7158.org/legacy/index.html.

The Body of Christ have recently experience the transition of several Pastors. My Pastor Apostle Richard D Henton was one that made his transition in October of this year. Apostle JoAnn Long and others also made their transition.

Apostle Henton installed his son Mark Henton as pastor of Monument of Faith in May 2014. Mark Henton has experience as a pastor having Pastored Monument Center of Life church for over 10 years. He also headed up (MICA) Monument International Church Assemblies. Apostle Henton remarked on the day of his son, Mark installation ceremony “ I am so glad that I am alive to see this man step into his daddy’s shoes”. Apostle Henton mentored him, observed him, confided in him and prepared him for the inevitable.

These are the thoughts that came to my mind as I prayed for my church. This is what I feel God is saying to his people who are in transition. Hold on to my unchanging hand in this time of transition. You know the vision. Stay the course. There will be small adjustments but stay the course. You trusted the judgment of your pastor so trust it even now in the one that he chose to lead you on to the next part of the journey. Follow the leader as he follows God. Undergird him as you undergirded your Pastor. Fear not, trust me I am with you and will help you.

SPEAK THE ANSWER NOT THE PROBLEM. THE ANSWER IS TE WORD OF, GOD. Heavenly father we come in the name of your son, Jesus applying his blood over Pastor Mark Henton,his wife and our church Monument of Faith and for all connected to the Henton family. We cover every church that has or is in the midst of transition. We lift up our eyes to the hills knowing that all of our help comes from you. We commit ourselves into your loving hands as we hold on to your unchanging hands. We trust you to guide us through this difficult season and take comfort in knowing that you will not leave or forsake us but you will guide us with your eyes. We cover the legacy of this ministry in the blood and ask that you protect it and never let your glory leave this church. We pray for courage and strength to see the vision through and for the manifestation of the vision. We pray for spiritual strength, spiritual growth and that this church will excel in the things you have ordained it to do. We pray for laborers, intercessors, armor bearers to undergird this ministry. Order our footsteps, help us to continue to raise the standard of holiness, let your glory rest upon your church, deliverance and salvation be found here and let not the gates of hell prevail against it. Give Pastor Mark spiritual discernment, surround him with wise counselor, pour out fresh oil upon him, and let him be steadfast, unmovable, focus on the things of God. Bless his wife to be a help meet, a source of strength and encouragement. Let her find her place, purpose and cause her to rise up in the things you would have her to do. We pray for widower First Lady Helen Henton that you be her strength, guide and comforter during this time of transition and give direction as she moves into a new purpose. We pray for members that are willing and obedient, faithful and ready to continue the work. For this reason we humbly submit to your will, bow down before you and praise, honor and glorify your name for all Power belongs to you and all that you do is working for our good.

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