Transitions: How Do I Tell Everyone? (Part 2 of 3)

Once you have determined that God is calling you to a new Kingdom assignment, the next part of your process should be building a communication plan.

Leaving one Kingdom assignment for another can be emotional, especially as you communicate your transition to those that you have worked with closely and care for deeply. Putting intentional thought into how you communicate can help your transition go more smoothly. Here are five quick tips on communicating your transition:

Bathe it in prayer: If you have not bathed your conversations in prayer and carefully planned them out, they can quickly wear you down. It can be helpful to write out everything you want to communicate before you attempt to speak it. When emotions begin to play a role, it’s easy to forget key points that you wanted to share. Pray that the Holy Spirit would guide your words and prepare the hearts of those you will be speaking to. Pray that He will help you say everything you need to say without saying too much.

Stay positive: As you prepare to communicate your transition, keep both your words and your tone positive. Goodbyes can make emotions swirl, and it is easy for people to focus on the negative. People might be thinking that the ministry won’t be the same without you. They may worry that things will fall apart. And most of all, they will miss you. Encourage people to see that different isn’t bad, it’s just different. Different can actually be good—a new leader with a fresh set of eyes can see things that you probably missed. Transition can also provide opportunities for others to step up. Highlighting these positives can encourage those under your leadership as they face uncertainty.

Communicate with grace: You can communicate with grace by building up those you are talking with. Help them understand the role they’ve played in your life and how they’ve impacted you. Help them see their potential. Help them understand that the ministry does not belong to you, but rather to God. God is bigger than all our ministries and without His grace no ministry would ever succeed.

Communicate inside-out: Inside-out communication always starts with those that are the closest to you; your loved ones and family. Next you move to those in authority over you—mentors and ministry leaders, your boss or board of elders. Beyond this, you will need to talk with the people within your congregation or community that you are closest with. You might determine who fits into this category by asking yourself the following question: “Who would I be disappointed to not be able to share this information with personally if word got out before I wanted it to?” The final group that gets to hear your news is the congregation at large. Depending on your level of influence with the congregation there are many ways to share your news; from the pulpit, in the bulletin, in an eNews publication, or however else the leadership of your church determines is best.

Move quick: As much as you want to do everything in your timing, word will travel fast. Because of current technology and social media, you should proceed with caution. Be wise in who you communicate with before you are ready for your transition to be made public. More damage could be done if others begin to share your news before you are ready to share it. Once you have communicated your transition to those in your inner circle, you should try to schedule as many meetings as possible in as short of a window as possible. You will probably need to set up a meeting with staff and a meeting with volunteers. You will not likely have 100% attendance at these meetings, so it is wise to have a written communication piece ready to send. The moment your group meeting concludes you should be ready to click “send” on your mass written communication.

As you work through the communication phase of your transition, take time to prepare your heart. This will likely be the most emotionally draining part of the entire process—more draining than packing up your house and loading it onto a moving truck. So, take time to approach the communication of your transition with intentional prayer and strategy.