In today’s churches there is a growing need for ministers and leaders; there is more need than there is supply. As many of the church plants of the 1970s and 1980s get older and move from a ‘planted’ church to an ‘established’ church, they will need new leadership as their founding pastor retires or moves into another ministry. In traditional churches as well as mega-churches, there is also a need for leadership both today and the future. Transitions that are transformational require developing leaders from within a church body and preparing them for the future. This paper addresses the needs of one church, Crossroads Church, Portland, Oregon, as a laboratory for transitions. It is an established church, almost 100 years old, with a long term senior minister. This discussion provides a plan for Crossroads to transition senior ministers in a manner that will be healthy for the whole church.
The research methods primarily used were literature analysis, interviews, and samples of transitions from five churches. A plan for transition was developed based on this data.
The research provided information that indicates that details are crucial for the plan. Length of transition, pay scale, titles, leadership of staff, role with board of elders, preaching schedule and the role of a consultant are several of the details and subjects covered in the plan. The transformational transition plan in this paper for Crossroads Church is transferable to other ministries and contexts.