13 Ways to Welcome Our New Senior Pastor

Rev. Mariellen Yoshino

Rev. Mariellen Yoshino

Los Altos UMC’s new senior pastor, the Rev. Mariellen Yoshino, will come on board on July 1. Her first Sunday with us will be July 6. As we move through this pastoral transition, we can turn to the excellent resources for pastors and congregations provided by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. The following recommendations are for church members welcoming a new pastor.


1. Open your hearts and decide that you are going to love your new pastor.

2. Pray daily for the new pastor and family, even as you continue to pray for your departing pastor and family.

3. Send cards of welcome and encouragement to the incoming pastor. Welcoming your new pastor in genuine and effective ways lays the ground work for a healthy and vital relationship and the development of stable, long-term ministries together.

4. Show love, regard, and even grief for your departing pastor. This is one of the best things you can do for the new pastor.

5. Do not invite the former pastor to return for weddings, funerals, or baptisms. This allows your former pastor to engage fully with his or her new congregation and it establishes your new pastor as everyone’s pastor from the beginning.

Welcome to the Church

6. Invite the new pastor to any social events by held by Sunday school classes or other groups in the early months.

7. Make sure the pastor’s spouse is invited to Sunday school and other appropriate small groups.

8. Introduce yourself to the pastor repeatedly! You have one name to learn; your pastor has many names to learn. Even if name tags are not a tradition in the congregation, consider using them for a few weeks to help the pastor learn names.

9. Make sure the pastor has a list of home bound or nursing home members, a list of those struggling with long-term illness, and a list of those still in grief over recent deaths in the family. Better yet, take the pastor and introduce them to each of these households.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

10. Share your favorite local dry cleaners, grocery store, drug store, veterinarian, etc.

11. Give gift certificates to several of your favorite restaurants in the community.

12. Introduce the new pastor to public and community leaders.

13. Take the new pastor to a meeting of any civic clubs you participate in.


Excerpted from 50 Ways to Welcome Your New Pastor or Associate Pastor (PDF), © 2013 Lewis Center for Church Leadership.