Retiring Preacher/Young Preacher in the Same CongregationPresentation Transcript
Making it Work Retiring Preacher/Young Preacher in the Same Congregation
Why Me? Have been preaching full time for 17 years Youth Minister for 3 years 8 mission trips to Africa; 3 to Russia; 3 to Jamaica Edited a bi-monthly publication Lectureship Director; seminar director; campaign leader, etc. Replaced David Pharr two years ago at Charlotte Ave. Has been preaching 50 years Preached at Charlotte Avenue 35 years Former ETSOP Director Regular writer for Spiritual Sword Edits Carolina Messenger Mission work, Lectureship Director, Has written several books, etc. CURRENT ELDER AT CHARLOTTE AVENUE
Denominations See Potential Problems: “A retired pastor should not remain a member of the congregation served at the time of retirement. Transferring one’s membership to another congregation allows the successor pastor to assume pastoral leadership more readily.” Retired Pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – La Crosse Area Synod.
Denominations See Potential Problems The sensitive matter is of pastors being asked for pastoral acts by people who are their former parishioners… Advice to Former Pastors: “Respond automatically by saying, ‘It’s simply not appropriate for me to do that. I’m not your pastor anymore, but I’m glad you consider me a friend. I’d love to come if invited, as your other friends do.’ But don’t say, “You’ll have to talk to your pastor about that.’ Simply say that it’s not your role anymore.” Advice to Current Pastors: “Speak as affirming as possible of the relationship your predecessor has had with parishioners, but don’t relinquish your pastoral role.” Advice to Parishioners: “Don’t even ask!...” Ethics of Transition, Bishop Rogness of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA.
Denominations See Potential Problems A sample announcement for a Pastor who is leaving: After Pastor ______ leaves our congregation, she will not be available to conduct or even participate in such events such as funerals, weddings, hospital calls, emergency calls, or any other functions normally carried out by a pastor in a congregation. A sample additional announcement for Pastor who is retiring but remaining in the same community: Pastor _____ will be transferring her membership to ____ Lutheran Church, and so will not be available to take on any kind of leadership role within the congregation. Pastor and her husband will continue to socialize and maintain friendships as in the past. ELCA POLICY ON FORMER PASTORS, La Crosse Area Synod
Denominations See Potential Problems “Continuing to live in the community where you were a pastor can make it difficult for you and the congregation to let go. If you do remain in that community, worship somewhere else. Say “NO” when parishioners call for advice, complain about the new pastor, or ask you to perform weddings, baptisms and funerals.” Retirement: Coming, Ready or Not! page 4 , Presbytery of Cincinnati, presbyteryofcincinnati.org
Why Compare Preachers to Pastors? Limited material from brethren Many of the same duties Preach on Sundays Visit the sick Preach funerals, weddings, etc. Counsel (Offer Advice) Listen to complaints They see potential problems
Problems with Preacher/Pastor Comparison Pastor (in denominational sense) not Scriptural True preachers work under leadership of elders, or men of the congregation Each congregation is autonomous (not one size fits all)
Lesson Development Explanation on advice: I interviewed several people in this situation Feelings and advice from younger preachers to younger preachers Feelings and advice from retired preachers to retired preachers What we (younger preachers) want you (retired preachers) to know What retired preachers want younger preachers to know
Younger Preachers Know who you are replacing Is he being asked to retire? Does he have hard feelings? What about his wife? How well-known is he? Know the retiring preacher’s plans beforehand Will he be gone a lot? Does he still plan to teach, preach, plan gospel meetings, and lead in the congregation? Is he willing to give up his “pet projects”? Will he keep an office at the church building?
Younger Preachers Know yourself: He will still be loved Visiting preachers will talk/give more attention to him He will probably do most of the funerals Older members may go to him more than you Your preaching will be compared to his He may indicate his preaching style is best, and the way he did things were better Some people will like him more than you Honestly answer this question: Can you handle it?
Younger Preachers Prepare yourself: Pray Understand the retired preacher has years of relationship building in that congregation. It is their love of him NOT a slight to you Understand this is hard on him too Focus on positives The more people go to him, the more time you have to do other things You have the privilege of learning from a seasoned veteran It will serve as motivation You have a “fill in” available You get to help him feel needed (build him up publicly and privately) Be thankful for personal growth that comes through this challenge Remember: It is not about YOU!
Retired Preachers Know your replacement: Does he want your advice? Does he want to know how you’ve done things in the past? Know yourself Can you handle his success? Can you handle people being excited and “refreshed” by his personality and preaching? Are you going to be able to handle seeing someone do it differently? (Preaching, office management, personality) Are you prepared for the generation gap? (technology, communication, dress) Honestly answer this question: “Can I handle it?”
Retired Preachers Prepare yourself: Pray Understand your way is not the only way Prepare to give advice sparingly Prepare NOT to listen to negative comments about the new preacher Prepare to build up the preacher and his work Have the attitude: “I have years built into this work. I am not going to hurt it!” Look at positives: Get to help nurture Relief from the stress of full-time work Free to travel, do meetings, work only for the sake of Christ’s work Remember: It is not about YOU!
What young preachers want retired preachers to know “You compliment visiting preachers all the time. I need to know you think I’m doing a good job.” “Just because I’m young does not mean I am not capable. Just give me a chance.” “Ask me my opinion on situations.” “Sometimes when you still act like the local preacher I feel threatened.” “Tell others you think I’m doing well.”
What retired preachers want young preachers to know “Don’t act like I’m not needed anymore.” “I have put in a lot of work at this congregation. Please don’t shut me out.” “I’m on your side. Let me help you when you need it. Feel free to come to me about anything.” “Don’t let me intimidate you.” “Just because I’m old doesn’t mean I’m dumb.”
Common Ground Only two people in the congregation know what it’s like to be the local preacher Only two people know the pressure on the family Establish a relationship early Pray for one another separately and together!