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Is a Transitional Pastor Right for Your Church?

When a church calls a transitional pastor to lead their church, they desire to have experienced leadership for a healthy, practical transition. The time with a transitional pastor is unique. During this window of time in the life of the church, it allows the church to change concepts, attitudes, develop a vision, and prepare for the future.

Since 2001, Bobby Gilstrap has assisted dozens of churches during the interim time between pastors. Trained as a Transitional Pastor by Lifeway Christian Resources, he is available to assist churches within 3 hours drive from Conyers, Georgia (East Atlanta). Learn more about the benefits of calling a transitional pastor to lead your congregation. 


Objectives of a Transitional Pastor’s Ministry

The aim of the transitional pastor ministry is to meet the following objectives which focus on church health and which result in church growth and kingdom priorities.

  1. The church will become more effective as it learns from past experiences, frees itself from hindering traditions, and replaces discord with harmony.
  2. The church will understand the mission of the church.
  3. The church will develop effective church practices to fulfill its mission.
  4. The church will have an increased understanding of the pastor’s role and responsibilities.
  5. More members will become equipped for their church’s ministries.
  6. Energy previously spent addressing conflict will be redirected to expanded ministries.
  7. The effectiveness of the next pastor will be increased and his tenure will be extended, sparing the church the expense of frequent pastoral changes and making more money available for ministries.

Duties of a Transitional Pastor

In a covenant relationship, the church and transitional pastor agree on the transitional pastor’s duties. The list will vary from church to church, but consideration should be given to each of the following general and specific duties.

General duties:

  • Provide spiritual leadership.
  • Guide the church through eight stages of transition.

Specific duties:

  • Preach the gospel.
  • Plan, coordinate and lead worship.
  • Coordinate baptismal services; officiate weddings and funerals when needed.
  • Provide evangelistic leadership.
  • Provide pastoral care and involve others in caring actions.
  • Manage conflict.
  • Lead the transitional focus team.
  • Represent the church in community and denominational activities.
  • Supervise staff.
  • Counsel staff and ministry leaders.

Pastor's Church Membership

The transitional pastor may move his membership to the church. This will be dependent on the family or wife’s involvement with the church where the transitional pastor may live. There are advantages to membership since leadership has a stronger impact when giving guidance to the needs and changes within the church. It gives credibility to say “our church.” The people will know you give your tithe to the church and see your personal involvement.

For more information or to discuss calling Bobby Gilstrap to serve your church, call:


A Recommendation

Churches think either selfishly or strategically. With understandable words and clear, practical steps, Bobby Gilstrap will motivate your people to action. He is one of the foremost experts in church planting in America and he knows the local church. If you want your congregation to reach out to others, rather than settling for tending to their own comforts, he can help you. He has been very helpful to our church. The First Baptist Church of Tallassee commends him highly.

Rev. Derek Gentle, Pastor, Alabama

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