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Pastoral Transition

10 Steps in the Pastoral Transition Process

One of the benefits of being part of a denominational family like the Church of the Nazarene, is a clearly defined and structured process for the selection of a new pastor. We are guided by the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene (our Bylaws) in this journey.  Together we will be moving the church from “anxiety” to high levels of “anticipation!”

The District Superintendent (DS) will meet with the local church to explain the process, with the church board and the church staff to explain the Pastoral Selection Process. Then, the board and the District Superintendent will establish an interim plan to maintain continuity and prepare the church for its future.  A regular and effective system of communicating to the congregation will be established to provide opportunities for input and participation in the process.  

Dr. McKain had his first meeting with our Church Board on Friday, May 20.

The District Superintendent, based on feedback from the Church Board, will establish an Interim Leadership Team for the church in order to efficiently establish the plan, assess the church and community and prepare the church to meet the pastor the Holy Spirit leads us to select.  In most churches, this is the church board and staff working together.

The Board has confidence in our pastoral staff who are in place. Pastors Phil Kizzee and Galen Ryman, who have served on the Executive Team with Pastor Wangler, will lead the staff and work with the Board on necessary matters.

In a number of churches, the Board and staff members use this time to review membership, attendance and financial records. Physical plant is also inspected and assessed.  Interviews with church staff are conducting, seeking their suggestions during the interim.  Congregational input is sought mainly through Church Board and Staff members.  Other means of congregational input may be utilized, based on the decisions the Board and Church Staff make.

Steps 3-5: Dr. McKain will work with the Board to determine how much of this work will be addressed during the coming months. First Nazarene is operating from a position of health and strength, so this has not been an initial priority for the Board’s focus. Much of the Board’s initial work has been focused on potential candidate search and discussions.

Know the Church.  We use this time to assess: Who are we?  We review the history of the church.  Where does the Holy Spirit desire for us to go?  What kind of a church will it take to reach our community?  If we become genuinely healthy, how will we need to change?  If we face changes, what areas of conflict may arise?

See notes above under Step 3.

Know the Community.  We use this time to collect demographic information.  Who has God placed all around us in our community that we can reach?  Together, we will work to develop a community profile so that when we begin to interview prospective pastoral candidates, the Church Leadership Team has developed strong expertise about the community where the church is located.

See notes above under Step 3.

Know God.  We don’t just want a quick pastor, we want the right pastor who has been selected for us by the Holy Spirit.  This is why we develop a prayer strategy that includes listening for what the Spirit is saying to us, cultivating a passion for lost people, deepening our love for the church and God’s bigger mission, refocusing our thinking, building agenda harmony together and preparing the church for future needed changes.

Know the Plan.  We pray through as we build our Interim Plan together.  We work with the Interim Team of the Board and Staff.  We address any needs that are revealed in doing a church assessment.  We go through specific issues that the Board and Staff feel should be addressed during the interim time.  We also use this time to evaluate our current ministries and we focus our work on developing teams that are working together when the new pastor arrives.

Our congregation has been encouraged to pray for this process, the Board and our future Lead Pastor. Specific prayer requests will be communicated throughout the process.

The Church Board prays together and works to develop a profile of the kind of pastor we are looking for in Potential Pastoral Candidates.  Based on information gathered by the board and staff, with the District Superintendent, we will develop a communication strategy with potential candidates that explains our local church profile, including the vision of the church, the mission, the community the church serves in, etc.  The Board works with the District Superintendent to confirm the different kinds of Potential Pastoral Candidates to be considered.

Dr. McKain and the Board are working on this step currently (early June).

Identification of Potential Pastoral Candidates 

The District Superintendent then develops a list and researches potential candidates based on the Local Church Profile. We seek input in developing our list from the Church Board, the Church Staff, the District Advisory Board, all of our District Pastors, the congregation members and more.  All candidates should be ordained elders or licensed ministers in the Church of the Nazarene. The Board and District Superintendent will review the potential pastoral candidates in order to refine the list of names collected.  A list of candidates will be created for the Board, and then the candidates will be prioritized in order to conduct a personal interview. 

June 18, 2022 Update:

The Church Board has prayerfully reviewed information about more than a dozen highly qualified candidates over the last 3 weeks. After narrowing the list, the Board unanimously voted to request an interview with one candidate.  That interview will happen this week and is being handled with confidentiality to protect the individual and overall process. We are calling our congregation to prayer, that the Lord would give the Board wisdom and guidance.

Because most, if not all, of the candidates will be involved in current ministries, we conduct this part of the process with great attention to confidentiality and sensitivity, so as not to distract from or damage the current ministry of a candidate. The District Superintendent alone will be responsible for contacting candidates, leading research efforts on those candidates and extending invitations for interviews. Interviewing begins with the first name on the prioritized search list. A decision is made after the interview whether to present the name to the congregation.  The candidate, the church board and the District Superintendent must all agree, for the candidate to move to the next step.

The Church Board then nominates a candidate to the congregation for a vote. A two-thirds vote of the church board by ballot is required and counted by the Board Secretary.  Results are shared with the District Superintendent who communicates the vote to the candidate. Candidate may accept or decline to allow their name to be presented to the congregation for a vote. The decision to let the congregation vote does not bind the candidate to accept an affirmative vote.

The Board had an interview on Thursday, June 23 and is recommending a candidate to the congregation.  See step 9 for details.

We may have a time of meeting the pastoral candidate in a town hall meeting where church members and attenders can meet the candidate and their family, ask questions, get to know them as real people, etc. 

From Your Church Board:

We held a historic interview last night, encompassing more than 2 hours of vibrant discussion about the future of our church. After prayer and consideration, the Board voted unanimously to present a candidate to the congregation this weekend – that candidate is Pastor Galen Ryman and his wife, Justean.

The Chicago Central District Church of the Nazarene District Superintendent, Dr. Larry McKain, and the Board will host a Question & Answer gathering with Pastor Galen this Sunday, June 26 at 6:00PM in the Sanctuary. We are asking for the congregation to submit questions by emailing them to  Please send your questions by Saturday at 6:00PM so Dr. McKain can organize them in preparation for Sunday. Questions can also be submitted via this email through Sunday noon and at the Sunday evening gathering.  

The format will be guided by our District’s policy of all questions being delivered in written form, whether via the email provided or in writing on Sunday evening.  [The Board will be collecting questions during the evening session.] All questions submitted will be addressed.

As a Board we are excited about the future of our church and are looking forward to the congregation participating in this process. The tentative plan that the Board is recommending for the election of a new Lead Pastor is as follows:

  • Announcement of Election (upon confirmation by the Board and District Superintendent after Sunday evening’s session) in services on July 3 and 10.
  • Voting begins Sunday, July 17 and ends Sunday, July 24.
    • Voting in the Lobby after services on July 17
    • Voting in the Church Office, Monday-Friday, July 18-22 between 9AM and 3PM
    • Voting in the Lobby after services on July 24, ending at 12:00PM
  • As outlined in the MANUAL [paragraph 115] of the Church of the Nazarene, the official election of a pastor is by members of a local congregation, age 15 and up. We encourage members who attend regularly and are involved in the ministry and vision of First Nazarene to vote. 

We are also inviting regular attenders, age 15 and up, who are not official members to cast a ballot. While these ballots will be separate from the official election, we are wanting to hear from everyone who regularly attends and is involved in the vision of First Nazarene.

During this season, the Board has decided that Pastor Galen will not be preaching because:

  • We don’t want the focus to be on anything but Jesus. Throughout this crucial process of the election of a new pastor, this could be a distraction. We want the Holy Spirit to guide the process.
  • We want to treat Pastor Galen just like we would any candidate from outside of our staff.

Please join us in prayer for this process to be in tune with the Holy Spirit’s leading. We hope you can join us this Sunday, June 26 at 6:00PM.

Announcement of the vote will be made in two regular services prior to the vote. A two-thirds favorable vote by ballot of church members of voting age (15 years and older), present and voting, is required to extend a call. 

Response of the Candidate: The candidate has 15 days to decide whether or not to accept the call. His/her acceptance will serve as the final confirmation that we have been led by the Holy Spirit in our decision (Acts 15:28). A declined invitation will indicate God calling us to make a correction in our decision, and the process will go back to the church board to interview another candidate. 

New Pastor Arrives!  The Board and District Superintendent work on the details of the new pastor’s starting date. The announcement of our new pastor is communicated to the community and to the broader Nazarene church family. The District Superintendent will conduct a formal pastoral installation service when appropriate. We celebrate God’s continued faithfulness to His Church. We make our new pastor and family feel very welcome, and help make their transition as smooth as possible. We begin this new chapter in the life of the church with a spirit of great joy and anticipation!


This page will be updated with additional information as our Board and staff field questions throughout this process. For more information on this process, see the ‘10-Steps in the Pastoral Transition Process’ information here on the website.

If you have any additional questions, please send them to Pastor Phil Kizzee, or our Board Secretary, John Cunningham,

First Nazarene Church is a part of the denomination called, Church of the Nazarene []. Nazarene churches are organized geographically into districts. Our district, Chicago Central District, is comprised of Nazarene churches in 11 counties in NE Illinois and is led by our District Superintendent, Dr. Larry McKain. One of Dr. McKain’s responsibilities is to work with church boards during pastoral transitions, leading them in the process of finding their next pastor.

The District Superintendent and our Church Board are working together, making it a priority to get this process moving forward. Their first meeting was Friday, May 20. This will take at least 3 months but could take 6 months or more. Our leaders are not ‘in a hurry,’ but are seeking to find the person that God has called to First Nazarene, listening to the Holy Spirit in their work and deliberations. We have a great staff and leaders in place for how ever long this takes.


12725 Bell Road, Lemont, IL 60439