NEED FOR TRANSITIONAL GUIDANCE AND TRAINING FOR NEW PASTORS IN THE CME CHURCH
THE NEED FOR TRANSITIONAL GUIDANCE AND TRAINING FOR NEW PASTORS IN THE CME CHURCH The biblical foundation of this project stems from the notion and belief that Jesus operated in a manner that resembled an itinerant minister. I contend that pastors and the church are best served if the incoming first-year pastor has received some measure of significant transitional guidance and training prior to their appointment. Some denominations prepare their pastors accordingly and implement requirements that allow them to acquire guidance and training that will help them in their transition. My project is seen from the lens of the United Methodist Church which provides a short transitional period for pastors and churches to come together to confirm if the “new marriage” is a fit for both pastor and church. The purpose of this project is to capture first-year experiences and stories of pastors in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) to identify common ideologies that there is a need for significant guidance and substantial training prior to their appointment. Perhaps some other ideas and suggestions may arise from this study. My methodology entails qualitative research in the form of a survey that was used to gather data on the views of new pastors in the CME Church. United Methodist provides resources of information to their pastors to help facilitate their transition process before they take ownership of a new appointment. My mission is to build upon their transition process which includes appointing a transition team to the pastor. This project revealed there is a need for more substantial training and guidance for first-year pastors in the CME Church. Although 93% felt they transitioned into the role well, their responses reveal they lack certain skills or expertise in certain areas that may have helped with the transition. There is a lot of growth potential in the CME Church in the areas of training, grooming, preparing, mentoring, educating, and teaching new pastors on how to transition into a new ministry. The training needs to be revamped for Probationary Ministers or Ministers on Trial. I believe if pastors had well-developed classroom training opportunities or direct guidance from a mentor or another seasoned pastor, they would be better prepared for their appointment. The new training should entail a resource guide that covers various topics that can aid in the training and transition of new pastors. Additionally, the Committee of Ministerial Assessment (CMA) should make it a point to charge the Committee on Ministerial Examination (COME) to take a significant role in the training of ministers and make sure they are adhering to the Bishop’s Course of Study (BCS) in its full capacity. Furthermore, the CME Church at some point must address the requirements of its ministers in the areas of seminary schooling or theological training. I believe ministers must have theological training or a mandated program that covers material one would receive had they attended seminary. If changes can be made in the areas of curriculum requirements, mandated programming, mentoring training, and ministerial assessment, the CME Church could make great strides in the preparation of its ministers.
Kirkland, Tracey Andrea