Since I have been kicking around the church as a priest on both sides of the Atlantic for more than fifty years, I was recently asked if I had a few tips when searching for another call. I came up with this rag-tag selection of ideas. When he read them, my friend suggested these might be helpful to others at a transition point in their ordained life. So I offer them to that end.
The new rector should use the first 90 days to establish the new priest as role of a caring pastor of the congregation by spending his or her time listening to as many parishioners as possible. This requires great intentionality on the part of the new rector. By being intentional in these first 90 days the new rector can instill a sense of enthusiasm and develop some early momentum in this crucial time in the life of the congregation.
The new priest will want to establish herself as the pastor of the congregation. As clergy we lead the congregation, but we pastor individuals. We gain permission to lead not primarily through our job description but through the level of trust our members give us.
How does a new priest prepare herself and her new congregation for a good beginning of their common life together? Let's consider seven foundational perspectives.