How To Plan for The Transition

Let’s talk about a church communication issue that’s incredibly unsexy, unexciting and completely not controversial. Yet it happens all the time.

The transition.

  • What happens when your web volunteer gets burned out and quits?
  • What happens when your social media person moves on?
  • What do you do when you fire the assistant, it doesn’t go well and you realize they have the password to the Facebook page?
  • What do you do when your go-to copy person switches churches?

Does your church have a plan in place for any of these transitions? One thing churches rarely plan for is the transition. The one thing you can be sure will happen is the transition. So get it together now and come up with a transition plan. You’ll need it sooner than you think.

Cover some of the major questions:

  • What does a project actually require? Type up an outline of how each job gets done, whether it’s the weekly bulletin or updating the website.
  • What does somebody need to do the job? Are there passwords, urls or login info that are needed? Create a list and store it somewhere safe (there are lots of theories on how to deal with passwords—you make the call, but having a plan is better than no plan).
  • What needs to change in a transition? Come up with a list of things that need to change during a transition—from passwords to Facebook permissions to staff lists on the website.
  • Will training be required? Make sure training is part of any transition plan, whether the out-going person trains the in-coming person or however you handle it. Just plan for it so you’re not expecting the rookie to work miracles on the first day when they’re still learning how to punch in.

None of these questions are fun or exciting, but answer them today and tomorrow you’ll be glad you did.

Otherwise you end up recreating the wheel as churches rehash the same thing over and over again because they have no transition plan. A volunteer leaves and no one can update the website. Soon a perfectly good website gets scrapped because no one thought of a transition plan. The same thing happens with social media, video, music, editing, planning and practically every other area in the church. Preserve all your hard work by making sure someone else can carry on when you’ve won the lottery and moved to Jamaica (to pick a more positive transition).

After working with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and their Internet presence, Kevin D. Hendricks founded his own writing and editing company in 2004, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin specializes in articles, copy and big picture communication strategy. In 2010 he published the book Addition by Adoption: Kids, Causes & 140 Characters. He’s also in to public artphotography Twitter and blogging–which he’s done since 1998 before the word came into common usage. Kevin and his wife, Abby, live in St. Paul, Minn., with their two kids and two dogs. This originally appeared at