After a church has selected a new leader, it is the responsibility of that church to welcome their new minister into their congregation with open arms. The way that a church welcomes a leader offers insight into how well a church family cares for those in their midst.
A new minister or leader is often overwhelmed. Let them be overwhelmed with love. It is a difficult thing to leave a community that you know for a new community who is looking to you for leadership and guidance. Churches can make this transition one that is seasoned with grace. A new minister is a part of the family of God that meets under a church’s roof. Let us treat them as our fellow heirs.
New ministers sometimes move across the state or country to serve at a new church. They leave their support systems and familiarity to follow God’s call. They need help adjusting and getting to know people so that they can live and thrive in a new place.
So how can a church help a new minister with this transition?
Here are 4 practical steps church members can take!
- Invite them into your homes!
There is nothing quite like good old-fashioned hospitality. Opening our homes signifies opening our hearts. Early Christians opened their homes to Paul and other missionaries. Following their example, we can invite new ministers and church leaders to partake of the blessing of fellowship and friendship. This leads to valuable conversation and connection for years to come.
- Offer Recommendations
A new minister may know very little about resources within their new community. Offer help where you are able. Give pastors lists of good doctors, great schools, the best place to go for grocery deals! This will help new ministers and their families navigate unfamiliar territory until it feels a little bit more like home.
- Start a Meal Train
Moving is exhausting and a lot of work! In the chaos of moving, new ministers and their families may have very little time for the day to day responsibilities of life, such as cooking and cleaning. A church can help by organizing a meal train – a list of people to bring meals to the family as they adjust – for the first few days after their arrival.
- Have a Welcome Meeting/Dinner at your Church!
This does not have to be formal. In fact, the more casual, the more comfortable your new minister is likely to be! Have a welcome meeting where the pastor can meet church members and those involved in various church ministries. Open the floor for questions. Invite the new minister to ask questions as well! This should not be a time for grilling the pastor on their theology or asking what their plans for the church are. This should be more of a getting-to-know-you meeting, where a church can get to know their minister as a person and the minister can begin developing friendships.
Coming to a new church is an exciting and challenging time for a new minister. Thanks to our good Lord, the local church gets to play a part in making this time a joyful experience!