Ten Essential Lessons Learned when Transitioning from a Long-Term Tenured Pastor in the African American Baptist Church

Marcus D. Allen

Document Type Article


When a pastor has a served long tenure at one church, the members hold this individual in high regard. He has conducted many marriages and countless burial ceremonies, baptized most of the membership, and have been there for the members and their families during their most difficult moments in life. When pastors are called to these churches, they are faced with several challenges. The church is unsure of the leadership ability of the new pastor, their expectations are high, congregants are hesitant to change things, and refuse to be challenged with new methods of doing ministry. This research is based on questionnaires of two African American Baptist congregations and interviews of ten pastors who were called to churches where the prior pastor served over twenty years. This project will offer life-learned lessons from the author on how to properly transition a church with grace and limited confrontations. It is the investigator’s hopes that this project would assist and afford new pastors with the proper tools to improve the transition process. This thesis project will provide ten lessons learned that would energize, encourage, and enhance congregations to move to the next level.