Preparing to Gather

The size and scope of your ministry will ultimately determine how many Gatherings you have. Where the agenda for each gathering will be similar the tone will vary based on the specific grouping of people. As you prepare for the various meetings be mindful that each person or group will approach this topic differently. Be disciplined enough to accomplish your agenda, but sensitive enough to know where to linger.

Here are three groups of people that are often overlooked in the Gather process: Staff, Other Leaders in Transition, and Financial Leaders.


Your staff (ministry staff to facilities personnel) should be the first in this “circle” to hear your strategy. It is natural for employees to feel a sense of uneasiness during seasons of leadership transition. These are your partners in ministry! Taking the time to share your strategy with staff first is not just smart leadership; it demonstrates you respect them and validates their importance as partners in the ministry.

Other Leaders in Transition

These can be people inside or outside the ministry. Sharing your strategy with this group has two benefits. First, it will provide a platform to talk with others that are in similar seasons of life. You may be able to glean wisdom and insight from their experience. Second, you may find this provides a mentoring/discipleship opportunity. Inviting someone into your journey is a great way to encourage someone in theirs.

Financial Leaders

It is important to involve those within your church that have the potential to make a significant financial investment in the ministry and vision of your church. People of wealth and means are often some of the most generous people and are willing to make significant investments if asked.

Financial leaders tend to approach their giving decisions with caution. They want to know their gift will be spent wisely, especially when the organization they support is about to enter a season of transition. This group will want to know you have done your homework and are planning well. There are some specific things this group will want to know.

What is your strategy?

They will want to know you have done your homework on the different options. Have a clear explanation for why you chose the process you did. You may also want to be prepared to explain why you did not go with some other options.

Click here for information on different Process options

Are the decisions you are making based on reliable information?

Ministry leaders are comfortable talking in ambiguous terms. Financial Leaders will expect details. Show how the strategy you chose is supported by reliable information.

What’s needed (financial and other) to make the transition strategy a success?

Don’t be shy about asking for their support. The people in the room are there because they support you and the ministry. At some level they are expecting you to ask them for help. If you don’t you are missing a valuable opportunity.

Ideally, all of your gatherings would take place within the coarse of one calendar month. If your ministry has a national or international reach you may need to allow more time to facilitate the meetings.

Preparing for the Gatherings

1st – Set the date(s) for each meeting

2nd – Make sure the logistics are taken care of (venue, a/v, printed materials, child care, etc…)

3rd – Finalize the list of attendees for each Gathering.

4th – Send the formal invitations.

5th – Confirm attendance. Having the retiring leader make personal contact (phone, text, or email) is always best.

Click to read “Levels of Disclosure” or “Why? How? What?”