Clergy--Appointment, call

Black pastor, white church : using positive psychology as a mission-driven strategy for building and sustaining diverse multicultural congregations

Celestine Fields
This research study seeks to gain more knowledge from the experiences of Black clergy who are serving in predominantly White congregations and learn from their experiences. This research will assist Black clergy and the congregations that call us to understand what is involved when calling Black clergy to serve in a predominately White congregation. In addition, this study will investigate how positive psychology can be used when a predominately White congregation calls or desires to call a Black clergy to achieve a mission of creating a diverse multicultural congregation. [This is the complete abstract from the original work. This project includes bibliographical references.]

Advancing Social Justice: Claiming the Voice of the United Methodist Deacon as Preacher

Eric Pugh
In the United Methodist Church, the preaching of the deacon is an underdeveloped voice that should be included among all the other preaching voices in the church. The preaching voice of the deacon is grounded in their call to compassion, justice, reconciliation, and restoration, and is informed by biblical and historical contexts that affirm and confirm the value and necessity of such preaching. Naming and claiming the voice of the deacon as preacher requires deacons to understand themselves, their call to ministry, and the relevance and importance of their voice that calls attention to the need for justice in action as valid and necessary in our world today. The voice of the United Methodist deacon as preacher is a necessary voice in the local church and beyond for the advancement of social justice. This project thesis rests on the belief that for the United Methodist deacon, claiming their voice as preacher helps them more fully fulfill their call to ministry and live into their baptismal and ordination vows.

The cry for clarity : coaching vocational conversations about ministry leadership

Mark G Poppen
This project encourages the practice of entering into coaching conversations with those who wrestle with God's call. Readers interested in vocational discernment for future ministry leadership will discover that vocational clarity for ministry leadership emerges within the community of faith. Foundational contributions come from H. Richard Niebuhr's four-fold definition of calling, the relational dialectic of Martin Buber, the theological anthropology of Karl Barth and the vocational views of Luther and Calvin. Readers will expand their vocational vocabulary, consider a method of evaluating future ministry leaders and be introduced to the ministry of a clearness committee, a practice used by the Society of Friends for over 400 years.

A case study in call : character and competency for effective ministry leadership relative to urban cohorts in graduate theological education

Royce A Evans
This D. Min. project focuses on perceptions relative to what constitutes the most effective expression of ministry leadership within the African-American community located in a major Midwest City. After a biblical examination of call, character and competency, the project examines ministry leadership effectiveness prior to and as the result of exposure to theological education. This is particular to the Urban Cohort Program of a graduate level theological seminary offering the degree in Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership. Attention was given to observations made by participants (ministry leaders), those who are served in the ministries where they lead (congregants, other ministry leaders, board members and church officers), as well as what the academic institution learned relative to faculty, staff, and governance.

The Art of Seamless Pastoral Transition: A Guide For Church Leaders

Lee D. Kricher D.Min.
A standard practice during pastoral transitions is the appointment of an Interim Pastor, who serves for months or years between permanent (“settled”) pastors. A viable alternative is Seamless Pastoral Transition, an option that is becoming more and more common across traditions. With the goal of preserving congregational continuity and momentum, Seamless Pastoral Transition eliminates the gap in time between the service of the Outgoing Pastor and Incoming Pastor. This paper presents several Seamless Pastoral Transition case studies, about half of which are from mainline denominations, and covers three virtues to embrace and six pitfalls to avoid for church leaders in transition.

Transition from Founding Pastor to First Successor Pastor: Every Pastor Is an Interim Pastor

Christopher A. Polski
Stories of conflict, loss and congregational collapse are far too common during seasons of pastoral transition and especially so when the transition in view is the transition from the founding pastor to the first successor pastor, a circumstance that presents a highly unique set of challenges that often prompt a crisis of identity within a still young congregation. The purpose of the study is to explore how church leaders describe influential factors in their process of transitioning from a founding pastor to a first successor pastor.
This study made use of a qualitative design utilizing semi-structured interviews of founding pastors, first successor pastors and key church leaders who were involved in congregations in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) that had recently undergone a transition from a founding pastor to a first successor pastor.
The literature review focused on surveying insights and principles related to transition in the following fields of inquiry: Core Ministry Practices, initial Biblical leadership transitions, leadership transitions in stepfamilies, leadership transitions in business, and leadership transitions in churches.
This study revealed that there are seven key principles that must be considered in relation to a first pastoral transition:
Principle #1: Every Pastor Is an Interim Pastor
Principle #2: Founding Pastors Make a Unique Mark
Principle #3: Plan for Transition Now
Principle #4: Continually Recalibrate Your Culture for Smoother Transition
Principle #5: Transition Isn’t Over when the New Pastor is Installed
Principle #6: Engage the Inevitable Loss in Transition
Principle #7: Even in Difficult Initial Transitions, Hope Remains

The long-term hope for this study has been to give founding pastors, church planting core groups and church sessions working alongside a founding pastor, tools to heighten their awareness surrounding the complexity and inevitability of an initial pastoral transition.


James L. Betner D.Min.
Nothing stays the same. This inevitability of change and transition should prompt
every active lead pastor to understand that the place you stand in today may in fact be the
place another stands in tomorrow. To be fully cognizant of that reality aids in the pastor’s
ability to be able to see beyond the present and to begin thinking about and perhaps even
preparing for the unavoidable future of the present ministry. Pastoral enmeshment and the
improper views of competition in ministry must be countered with a clear understanding
of the pastor as a steward who is called to build the Lord’s kingdom, not a personal one.
Succession planning, then, must include a theology of leadership development and a clear
understanding of what a healthy pastorate looks like. There must be a mutual synergy of
pastor and people who can appreciate yesterday and today and yet still anticipate with
greater affection the possibility of tomorrow. This work identifies biblical models for
succession and offers practical methods to prepare the pastor and people for eventual
Without attention to succession planning, a church and its pastor succumbs to
being reactive at best, and negligent at worst, by waiting for a crisis to unfold as a result
of inevitable changes in leadership. However, when a proper perspective of succession is
developed for the church and the pastor, it adds stability to the mission of the church and
frees the pastor to willingly give it away at the right time.
At the core of this project is the process of the development of a succession plan
for the Delaware Valley Baptist Church of Willingboro, NJ in particular, and succession
in the Protestant congregational church in general.

Preaching in the Midst of Appointive Change in the United Methodist Church

Scott Eugene Carnes D.Min.
The special requirements of preaching during appointive change has long been overlooked with few resources available to provide much-needed assistance. The work required for effective preaching during appointive change has critical elements that are difficult to navigate without an existing pastoral relationship with the congregation and community. This thesis describes a process that incorporates specific and direct attention to elements of change and vulnerability. It offers methods and models for enabling effective preaching during appointive change through deep connection between the congregation and the preacher. This process offers a plan for healthy pastoral transition and contextualized preaching from a place of vulnerability.

The Development of 1st Generation Pastors for Leadership in Independent Churches in Andhra Pradesh, India

Manikanta Sai Ankem D.Min.
This major project was designed to address the challenges that the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders go through to emerge as pastors and leaders within the independent churches of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also designed to address the issue of favoritism and nepotism on developing the emerging leaders, and succession in those churches.

Among the independent churches, it seems, only the senior pastors’ progenies are the successors. It seems, there is no place for the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders to be developed for the senior pastorate of the independent churches. Not developing first-generation emerging pastors/leaders is a threat to the growth of Christianity in India. It is also not the New Testament model of training and developing first-generation pastors/leaders.

In the first section, the researcher dealt with the sociological issues and the cultural hierarchies that are contributing towards not developing the first-generation emerging pastors. In dealing with these issues, the researcher used the literature available and provided a biblical response. Also, the researcher showed biblical insight regarding the way of training and developing the first-generation pastors/leaders.

In the second section, the researcher used a qualitative method, doing in-depth interviews. The interviewees consisted of two groups of people – senior pastors of the independent churches who are close to handing on the baton of leadership; the second, first-generation emerging pastors who are in the process of emerging as pastors.

The findings of this research affirmed that the first-generation emerging pastors went through (and are going through) many challenges such as lack of proper guidance, support, training, mentor relationship, and trust from their senior pastors. There are also favoritism and nepotism issues along with insecurities of the senior pastors and lack of biblical knowledge on how to train and develop the first-generation emerging pastors/leaders without showing hierarchy and favoritism.

The importance of reading congregational culture for effective church leadership

Edwin Eng Wei Wong
This project paper seeks to provide practical tools to help pastors and leaders understand congregational culture to effectively lead their ministries. Drawing pointers from the servant-leadership practices of Nehemiah as well as other resources, the author formulates approaches to managing transition and leading change. Recommendations, based on broad observations from a survey on a small group of itinerant pastors in Singapore, are subsequently drawn.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]
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