“Change is a constant in life. It is sometimes sought but often feared. It excites and challenges, and it frequently shakes the foundations of our stability and comfort. The permanence and shalom that we find restful is disturbed. Change may be defined in many ways; it may be seen as disruption, permutation, modulation, transformation, fear of the unknown, exploration of what’s new, or metamorphosis. It may be preceded by repentance, restlessness, excitement, anticipation, hope, or conflict. It is also inherent in our growth and development. We know it is coming but are often surprised when it is suddenly upon us.” [Glenn C. Taylor, Preface, Pastors in Transition]
Glenn Taylor has had a lifetime of ministry serving as a church planter, correctional services chaplain, professor, mission CEO, counselor and consultant to over thirty international mission organizations. And like so many who have invested their lives in Christian ministry, in retirement he continues to serve pastors and churches in counseling and consultation. His wife, Mary, has served alongside him in many of these ministries, including a ten year project of running a retreat center for pastors and missionaries – 1600 persons benefiting from this provision.
And now, Glenn Taylor’s insightful wisdom which has benefitted scores of ministry personnel is made accessible to the widest possible audience. Pastors in Transition is a valuable resource for understanding and successfully managing the inevitable changes that come with serving in Christian ministry.
Like many Canadians, Taylor is an experienced camper. He leverages that experience, and by way of analogy, compares the process of change in ministry to breaking camp, setting off from one shore, crossing a turbulent river and setting up camp on the other shore. It is a helpful and successful analogy.
Taylor uses the term ministry to describe any form of service for the Kingdom of God, giving special application to a pastor in the church community. His approach to the subject is such that he provides wise counsel to as broad a spectrum of people and situations as possible. Anyone in any form of ministry will find good guidance here.
There are many reasons for changing ministries – some positive and some negative. Taylor believes it to be critically important that one understand what has happened, why it has happened, and how to adequately prepare for a new opportunity
Drawing from years of helping ministry personnel work through transitions, Taylor brings his book alive through real life, composite anecdotes where transitions became inevitable. With both theological and social science training, and a broad range of ministry experience, Taylor leaves very little unexamined ground in helping readers understand and travel successfully through transitions.
Through his camping analogy, Taylor outlines the components of transition through five stages:
- The Starting Place (Breaking Camp)
- The Leaving (Departing from Shore)
- The In-Between Time (The Cross)
- Entering New Ministry (Landing on the Other Shore
- Belonging Again (Setting Up Camp)
The book unpacks each stage mentioned above, providing case studies, lucid observations, and wise counsel for all who have experienced, are now experiencing, or will yet experience transition. Investing the time to identify and understand the components of transition is important because, as Taylor observes: “Understanding is a prerequisite to preparation and effective response.”
Don’t skip the Questions for Reflection provided at the end of each chapter. They will guide your thinking as you process and apply the information just read.
As the caring pastor, counselor, and equipper Glenn Taylor is, he concludes with an invitation to share our own stories, questions, even criticisms of his perspectives.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – The Challenge of Changing Ministries
Chapter 2 – Pastors in Transition
Chapter 3 – The Transition Experience
Chapter 4 – Responding to Transitions
Chapter 5 – Facing the Prospects of a New Ministry
Chapter 6 – Finding One’s Place in Ministry
Chapter 7 – Perspectives of One’s Role in Ministry
Chapter 8 – Meeting the Challenges of Ministry
Chapter 9 – The Care & Maintenance of Pastors
Chapter 10 – A Biblical Account of Commitment, Failure, and Restoration
Chapter 11 – Postscript: Where Do We Go from Here?
While the book is focused on people in ministry, I believe the person in the pew would benefit greatly by reading this book as it would provide valuable insight into the unique challenges faced by pastors and ministry leaders working through transitions. I highly recommend the book.