Welcoming Your New Pastor3 min read

Transition comes in many forms. But for a pastor, and possibly his family, one of the hardest transitions is when he moves to take his place as pastor of your church.

Now this man is your pastor. As you anticipate his arrival, there is one BIG question: What are you going to do? As I thought about this question from the point of view of that pastor, here are some ideas I thought may help you, the congregation and your new pastor deal with this transition.

First of all, and most important, is patience and forgiveness.

He will fail. He will forget. He will fall short of your expectations. He, like you, is a sinner. He is not there to be the savior of your church. He is there to lead you to the Savior, Jesus. He will offer you forgiveness every Sunday and beyond, and you are to offer that same forgiveness to him. He needs it just as much as you do. Be patient with his family. His children are not perfect, and yes, they may even squirm and make loud comments in church sometimes. We try to teach them to make good choices, but sometimes they don’t.

But, sit next to them, talk to them, share your wisdom! They’d love for you to share in their joy!

Second, be there for him and his family.

I was overwhelmed with the support from our congregation! When it came time to move into our home, those pick-up trucks rolled in with men of the congregation there to help us unload our moving truck, along with their wives to serve food and help clean and put away our belongings. It showed my wife and me that we had come to a congregation that cares about us. Even now when a member stops by just to see how we are, or to say “Pastor, I thought you might like. . .” or “We’re doing this event and we’d love to see you there,” it warms our hearts. We need that. It helps us more than you can imagine. We’re not up on a forbidden mountain. We are families just like you and yours and we love to be involved and included!

Third, pray for your pastor, for his wife and family.

They have their burdens to bear, just as you do, and sometimes it can be difficult for them to balance everything. In addition to loving and supporting him, pray for discernment, for wisdom and sometimes just for blind faith! Pray that your pastor will lead you with a shepherd’s heart, be faithful and courageous in preaching the Word of God and gain wisdom and knowledge to counsel those who have need. Prayer is a huge blessing, and sometimes just knowing that you are praying for them can make a difference.

Transition is something that can be difficult. Thanks be to God, that he sent his Son Jesus to care for us in all times, even in transition.

In partnership with LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission. RSTM supports and encourages rural and small town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. If you have a good idea for outreach or a story you’d like to share so that we can share it with others, please email Amy Gerdts at Learn more about us at, by calling our office at 888.463.5127, by email at or “like” us on our facebook page at

Subscribe to Blog Button

About the Author

Rev. Matthew Mau serves St. John Lutheran Church in Waco, Nebraska.

More by This Author