Looking Ahead

Published on August 9th, 2017

(From Focus on the Family)

The LCMS is looking at significant retirements in the next few years.  The following article provides some helpful hints about doing it well!

Today’s article is titled Advice to Retired Pastors and Their Relationship to the New Pastors in Their Former Congregations by Rev. Fred C. Jacobi.


While you and I might not agree totally with these suggestions, they are worthy of consideration. I also understand that some pastors are easier to follow than others and that some succession plans simply don’t work as well as intended. Here we go:

  1. Stay away from the parish at least six months to a year, allowing the new man to “settle in.”
2. Don’t attend Church Council or Voters Meetings. That’s the reason you retired!
3. Refer all weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc. to the new pastor. The worst thing that can happen is for him to know you did something behind his back.
4. If you attend a Bible Class he is conducting, keep a low profile.
5. Treat him as your Pastor.
6. Do not criticize him behind his back. You may think you have said something in confidence, but most often he will hear about it. He will obviously have some faults, but so did you!
7. Do something that advances the ministry. Help with shut-in calls or become a Stephen minister.
8. Treat him with respect.
9. Let the vision and new ideas come from him and the church leadership – not from you.
10. Feel free to help out with leading worship at other churches.
11. If the new man feels uncomfortable with anything you are doing, back off!
12. Sit down with him and assess your relationship from time to time.
13. Allow him to do spiritual advising as much as possible.
14. Keep him and his family in your prayers.
15. Remember that each new pastor builds on the work of former pastors. Don’t allow members to extol their favorite pastor to the detriment of others.
16. Enjoy your former congregation members, but remember they are friends, not your parishioners!
17. Do everything possible to make the transition a smooth one.
18. Go along with his new ideas about worship and ministry. Variety is the spice of life.
19. Don’t talk about the way you used to do things.
20. Do everything with a humble spirit.