Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry: The Work of the Leader

The Beecken Center is proud to partner with the Interim Ministry Network (IMN) to host this three-day course, Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry: the Work of the Leader. The role of the interim leader is presented and discussed along with tools and resources that facilitate transitional leadership. The course is presented by the Rev. Dr. Molly Dale Smith, an Episcopal priest with nearly twenty years' experience in transitional ministry, and introduces foundational theories that are key to interim ministry. Class hours are devoted to providing opportunities for experiential learning through the use of case studies and sacred story.

Lay leaders are welcome to attend. While this course emphasizes the work of the transitional pastor, it is also helpful to judicatory and lay leaders to make informed and healthy choices about clergy leadership during times of transition.

The Goals

  • Introduce basic theories that are foundational to interim ministry,
  • Provide opportunities for experiential learning through the use of case studies and sacred story,
  • Present and discuss the work of the interim leader,
  • Introduce the tools and resources that facilitate the work of the interim leader.

These goals are accomplished by providing information about the impact that departure of a clergy person has on a congregation, and to describe healthy attitudes and practices of the intentional interim leader.

Who Should Attend?

  • Senior or associate pastors wanting to gain skills in managing transitions,
  • Retired or partially retired pastors wanting to advance skills in change management,
  • Experienced ministers considering a call to the professional specialty of intentional interim ministry (prerequisite course for interims),
  • Current interim pastors trained more than five years ago,
  • Lay ministers or leaders with management responsibilities,
  • Denominational middle management,
  • Seminarians interested in change/conflict management specialization.

This is phase one of a three-phase comprehensive training for individuals working in transitional ministry and intentional interim ministry. For more information, visit the IMN website.

Fundamentals of Transitional MinistryFundamentals of Transitional Ministry participants, Oct. 2016

The three-day course is focused on:

The Foundations of Transitional Ministry

Using General Systems Theory, Bowen Family Systems Theory, and William Bridges' Theory on Change and Transition, attendees explore the unique dynamics of congregations in transition and study how a congregation as a system responds to loss/change and begins to explore alternative responses. Emphasis is on the importance of differentiation of self for the transitional leader and resources to help others understand current relationships.

Tools for the Transitional Leader

Devoted to developing leadership skills that are basic to the practice of transitional ministry, this day explores the value of intentional and thoughtful listening, why power analysis is important in a congregation, and the importance of taking care of self as a precursor to knowing and leading a congregation in transition.

The Work of the Transitional Leader

This portion of the course will examine the process that a leader goes through from beginning to end in an interim situation. This process task includes Joining the System, Analyzing the System, Discerning Responsibility, and Establishing Priorities, Connecting the Congregation and the Denomination, and Evaluating and Adjusting to a New Future.

Location: The DuBose Conference Center, Monteagle, Tennessee.

Lodging and meals are not included with tuition. You may reserve rooms and meals directly at the DuBose Center using this form.

Tuition: $740
Includes a 1 year IMN Membership and the Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry manual.

Register here >


The workshop will commence at 9 a.m. CST Tues., May 8 and will conclude at 2:30 p.m. Thurs., May 10.

Meals and lodging are not included with tuition.

Required Reading

It is important to prepare prior to the course with the following required readings. You are asked to read in advance and bring with you to the event the following materials:


The Rev. Dr. Molly Dale Smith

The Rev. Dr. Molly Dale Smith is an Episcopal priest, writer, and consultant to both congregations and clergy. Transitional ministry has been a major focus of her ministry since 1998. She has served churches in the Dioceses of West Missouri, Newark, New Jersey, Florida, New York, and Tennessee. Editor of Transitional Ministry: Time of  Opportunity (Church Publishing Inc., 2009), Dr. Smith has taught online courses, led workshops, and written articles about transitional ministry. As an IMN faculty member since 2003, she teaches clergy from a variety of religious traditions. Believing that change brings challenge and opportunity, Dr. Smith enjoys helping both individuals and congregations discover new and viable approaches to transition. She lives in Nashville.

William Carl Thomas

The Rev. Dr. William Carl Thomas has served as the interim rector in congregations in North Carolina and New Jersey. He builds on 28 years of ordained experience with various size parishes. He is currently an IMN faculty member and leader of the IMN Member Support Team.


Tuition: $740
Includes a one-year IMN Membership and the Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry manual.

Meals & lodging are not included with tuition. To pay for meals and reserve a room at the DuBose Conference Center, please use this form.

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Fill out my online form.