Transitional Ministry

A Time of Opportunity

Molly Dale Smith

Jun/2009, 194 Pages, Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9780898696226



Transition is the word we use to describe the time following significant change. In congregations, that change might be the departure of the pastor, a catastrophe such as Hurricane Katrina or 9/11, or simply the changes caused by growth. Transition calls for clergy with special training to respond to the needs generated by the special time. “Task, training, and time limit” are the hallmarks of transitional ministry. Trained intentional interim clergy must have the skill and experience to lead congregations during transition.

However, transitional or interim ministry has a bad reputation in some places. As one diocesan leader said, “We have never had a church in this diocese that was so bad off that an interim was needed.” Indeed, there are some “sick” churches, but most congregations have some good things happening and some things that need attention. Intentional interim ministry can be medicine for the sick, but in most cases it is better compared to vitamins that are taken to promote health.

This book seeks to clear up misconceptions about transitional ministry and present an accurate and up-to-date picture of transitional ministry and to describe the various settings in which this specialized ministry can be helpful.

Chapter authors, all expert in transitional ministry in mainline Protestant denominations, include: Robert Friedrich, John Keydel, George Martin, Loren Mead, Barry Miller, Nancy Miller, Ineke Mitchell, Ken Ornell, Molly Dale Smith, and Rob Voyle.

Molly Dale Smith is a trained interim specialist and president of Transitional Ministries in the Episcopal Church (TMEC) and president-elect of the National Network of Episcopal Clergy Associations. She has served churches in the dioceses of West Missouri, Newark, New Jersey, Florida, and New York. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

"A worthwhile contribution to the current thinking in the field. It is a good overview of the tools, best practices, and experiences of transitional ministry. The resource section is especially up to date and valuable. I would recommend this book for clergy considering a call to ministering in congregations in transition or for lay leaders who anticipate managing a transition in their local congregation."—The Episcopal New Yorker

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