Resources to Help Introduce a New Pastor to the Church and Community
Announcing a new pastor is an important step in the life of a congregation and community. How that announcement is handled at all levels can enhance the successful transition and set the tone for transparency and enriching times ahead.
Confirming a “point person,” might be the first step to making sure nothing is overlooked or forgotten, and to better coordinate communication efforts both internally and externally. Paula Arnold, Director of Communications for the Texas Annual Conference encourages congregations to pave the way for the new leader within the church through all available channels: email, verbal announcements, meetings, digital slides, in the bulletin, newsletter, on the web and in social media. “As an important publicity resource, we provide churches this press release template to fill out and send to their local newspaper as the new pastor gets settled,” she says. “I also encourage churches to include a mention of the pastor’s family, hobbies and personal comments about why they are excited to be there.” Sending the personalized press release to the local newspaper is the next step, accompanied by a photo if possible. “When you make a newspaper editor’s job easy by providing them everything ready to use, you greatly increase your chance of getting published,” she explains.
Adds Paula, “Getting the word out will help create a buzz in town that may attract new visitors to the church, so it would also be a good idea to revamp the guest welcoming process by assigning greeters at key doors, having some kind of printed information to hand guests and providing opportunities to acquire contact information to use for follow-up.”
To accelerate the get-acquainted process, consider making a brief video featuring commentary from the pastor and possibly in a setting that includes his family. This can be done simply and affordably with a smart phone and added to the website and social media, to allow members and residents to see and hear the pastor expressing a personal message welcoming all to come “check out church.”
Churches that have had success with other methods of welcome and transition are welcome to share those tips on the conference Facebook page. “Communications would love to hear about the media coverage that local churches obtain as a result of these pastoral announcements – or any church coverage,” adds Paula. Congregations can share those links or copies with the conference office via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail via 5215 Main, Houston, 77002.
50 ways to welcome your new pastor
The staff of First UMC, Humble made a creative video to mark their new pastor's arrival.