New initiative helps Georgia churches when pastors leave


DULUTH, Ga. – The Georgia Baptist Mission Board is launching an initiative to help congregations during those stressful first weeks after pastors resign or retire.

“The first six weeks can be difficult,” said Mark Marshall, assistant executive director at the state Mission Board. “The first few weeks without a pastor can be difficult for a church. There are a number of questions of what to do next.”

That’s where Right Start comes in. Through the initiative, state Mission Board staff members will be made available to preach and to provide needed support and guidance.

“Right Start
helps churches navigate through the crucial period between the departure of a pastor and the arrival of a transitional pastor,” he said. “Churches need consistency and stability in the pulpit during those times, and they also need an experienced church leader to explain next steps.”

Churches simply need to contact the state Mission Board and request assistance.

“Our goal is to bring stability to the church during the early days of a pastor transition and to assess the immediate needs of the church,” Marshall said. “We want to be a sounding board for church leadership during the transition and to provide consistency in the pulpit.”

Marshall said Mission Board staff members will help churches work through what can be a wide gamut of emotions.

“If the pastor was beloved, the congregation will go through a grieving process,” he said. “If the pastor was fired or asked to step down, then the congregation may need a time of healing. In either case, Right Start will help. The Lord has put Mission Board staff members in their roles because their hearts’ desire is to help churches. Nothing pleases them more than to come alongside and help in those crucial moments in the life of a church.”

To request to be part of Right Start, go to