You’re Getting a New Pastor

Tis the season. For what, you ask?

Many churches begin to prepare for the transition of their pastor. July 1 is the typical day when a new pastor starts in a new church.

Many leaders in the church tend to get anxious during this time. Many questions run through their mind as they try to “guess” what the next pastor will be like.

  • Will he be supportive of my ministry?
  • Is he a micromanager?
  • What’s his vision for the church?
  • Is he going to fire us and bring in all new people?
  • Is he a good pastor?

It’s normal to ask those questions, and they are good questions to ask. I have colleagues on the Diocesan level that have the same apprehensions when they are expecting a new bishop. The challenge for them is that they are often told to not start anything new until the new bishop comes.

Basically, they are being asked to maintain the status quo until new leadership arrives.

Relax. There is no need to fear. Most pastors don’t come in assuming that your church is in need a major overhaul. Often times, they spend the first year just getting to know the new church community before instituting anything major.

If you are expecting a new pastor or bishop, I’d recommend doing these things while you wait.

  • Keep planning ahead for your ministry. Don’t wait for the new leader to come in and tell what to do. They often won’t tell you what to do. Plus, you are the keeper of the vision for your ministry. You are the expert. Keep moving forward.
  • Tie up all loose ends before the old pastor leaves. There is a sense of urgency during this time that you can take advantage of. The outgoing pastor wants to tie up loose ends too, and often decisions can be made much more quickly than before. This is a great time to make some significant changes that you’ve been wanting to make, but couldn’t until now.
  • Don’t assume a worst-case scenario about the new pastor. This doesn’t help your attitude or the people around you. Assume the best and have a good attitude.
  • Don’t talk badly about the outgoing or the incoming pastor. That’s just not cool and sets you up for disaster.
  • Prepare now for your first meeting with the new pastor. Set up an agenda outlining what you want to share with him about your ministry and how. This is your opportunity to set a good first impression about you as a ministry leader and your ministry.

Remember that pastors are human, too. They have apprehensions and fears about coming into a new church community and are probably asking some of the same questions that you are asking. Be prepared and have a good attitude about the transition in leadership.

Question: Are you expecting a new pastor? What are you doing in preparation?

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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