March 14, 2013

Things to Ask When Meeting with a New Church

Families all over the UM connection are in the middle of the appointment season. Often times, there is an opportunity for you to meet the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee with your pastor spouse. before the appointment is finalized as part of the consultation process. While everybody wants to make a good first impression, hopefully, you can also come away with helpful information.

Just remember to smile and be as relaxed as possible. Show them that you're glad to be there, even if you're not. Remember people take only about 30 seconds to create a first impression. So be the best self you can be.

While the SPRC/PPRC will want to look you (pastor and spouse) over, they will also want you to like them. They will be eager, most times, to want you to be a good match for their church. So finding common ground is always a good start. What do you have in common? Be interested in them and listen. If they loved their old pastor, they will still be grieving loss. But, at least in the UM system, moving pastors is just part of church life and they know that too. If they were happy to see their old pastor leave, just beware. The problem might not have been the pastor; it might be them. Still, the first meeting is an intricate dance. Praying before you go, while you are there, and after you leave is a good idea.

But you might also need some specific information, like who to contact for help moving and getting settled into the new community should you end up going to that church.

It's also a good time to evaluate their hospitality. How hospitable are they to strangers (you)? Chances are they'll treat you at least as well as other strangers. Hopefully, they will be kind and gracious people.

Despite having moved several times, I've only gone with my husband for this first meeting one time. They graciously asked me along. Their graciousness was indicative of them and continues to be. When we moved into the parsonage, it had been cleaned and they had even left some flowers and food in the refrigerator. There was a new phone book and all the keys to the house. It was a good move to a loving church. I pray your move goes as well.

Grace, Kathy   


  1. You're so right about the "beware if they're too happy to see their old pastor go." We've learned that the people who badmouth the last person will soon badmouth you too.

    Our first meeting with our current church was amazing. They had a mini-potluck with the committee leaders, took us on a tour of the church, and then circled up to pray in the sanctuary. It was beautiful.

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