It’s my last day at my current congregation. If I had my way, I would leave my keys on the desk and sneak out the back door. Not because I don’t love my co-workers and church members, mind you, but because I do. Saying goodbye to people you care about is hard, especially if you’re an extreme introvert.
But, I firmly believe that how a minister ends her time in a position is at least as important as how she begins it. So here are the things I’ve been mulling the past few weeks:
- Which relationships need closure? Not all of the relationships I’ve formed in this church will end when I put that last box of books in the car, but all of them will change. How do I mark this evolution with intentionality?
- What loose ends need tying up? I don’t want to leave messes for my colleagues to clean up. They have enough on their plates with the transition.
- How do I prepare the way for my successor? This is tricky in my case because no one has been hired yet. Generally, though, I want to file enough information to help the next person hit the ground running and avoid landmines. I don’t want to define his/her relationships with church folk, though, by giving too many details about personalities. I also want to leave the physical work space decluttered, Pledged, and vacuumed.
If I say my goodbyes and do my homework well, not only will I feel more settled, the minister who follows me will be better able to establish trust and get into the nitty-gritty of ministry quickly.