Transitional Leadership for Youth Ministry: Take Time to Reflect

This past Sunday was perhaps one of the most emotional and reflective worship services that I have experienced in my time at Parma Lutheran Church. It wasn’t a special occasion (unless the 4th Sunday of Easter is considered special). It wasn’t my last Sunday. And yet, during the closing hymn, my eyes welled up with tears and my voice fell silent as I listened to the congregation singing “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.” For the first time, the reality of transition settled in my heart and landed with a resounding THUD.

In a time of transition, there is a lot to be done. I have found that in the past few weeks, my to do list has been consistently growing and rarely shrinking. Each time I am in the office, there are five more things that need to be done. And yet, as I find myself now in the middle of this transitional season (between the announcement of my departure and my last day), I am finding that it is really important to spend some time reflecting–for my own sake, and for the sake of the church and youth ministry that I am leaving.

Self Awareness is a huge part of being a strong leader, and taking time to be self aware during the transition process will help to make the transition more healthy for everyone involved.

So, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of tasks that need to be done, papers that need to be filed, and meetings that need to happen, the challenge for the leader in transition is to find time to reflect on the journey. Take some time to reflect on:

  • The biggest challenges that have been faced in this church/position.
  • The practices that have most benefitted the ministry here.
  • The greatest joys encountered in this church/position.
  • The most valuable relationships developed during this season of ministry.
  • The most important or valuable annual events.
  • The three biggest failures and what could be done to improve upon those for next time.
  • The three greatest successes and why they were so successful.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list for personal reflection, but it should help get the ball rolling. The reality is that the transition is going to happen a lot faster than you (and I) expect, and if you aren’t intentional about taking some time for personal reflection, the result could be unsettling both for the leader in transition and for the church and ministry that is being left behind.
What would you add to this list?
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