Preparing for a Pastoral Installation


A customer recently called to order bookmarks to be used in a pastor installation service. I thought it was a lovely idea and an excellent way to make the new pastor feel welcome by providing him and the congregation with a lovely souvenir to mark this momentous occasion.

A pastor’s installation—what is it?

Everyone knows that sometimes pastors have to leave their churches because they are being called to serve in other capacities, such as serving on ministry missions in other countries for extended periods, retiring from full-time pastoral service, or answering God’s call to heaven.

Sometimes, a pastor is asked to leave a church because of a disagreement. This is when the congregation and the new pastor both benefit significantly from an installation service for the pastor. Properly installing a pastor service will make the new pastor feel more welcomed and valued.

No matter the circumstances surrounding a pastor’s departure or replacement, the congregation should fully support the new leader. To that end, many churches today hold pastor installation services and other fellowship events designed to formally introduce the new pastor and his family to the congregation.

A pastor’s installation service is a chance for him to meet his new congregation and for the congregation and the pastor to discuss their shared goals and how they intend to work together to achieve them.

Any number of items the pastor and the congregation would like to share in regard to the church’s ongoing ministries could fall under this category.

In what way will the service be structured?

A Saturday afternoon installation service followed by a celebratory luncheon or banquet is required in most cases.

A pastor’s installation service typically includes reading relevant passages of scripture, performing extraordinary music, and singing several hymns by the choir and congregation in honor of the new pastor.

If the outgoing or retiring pastor is present, he can give the congregation some words of wisdom as they welcome the incoming pastor. A deacon or associate pastor might give a short address, or the pastor of a nearby church might be called to the ceremony to provide some words of welcome to the new pastor.

For the sake of the community as a whole, it is crucial that surrounding churches work together, and extending an invitation to the pastor and his family at a nearby church can go a long way toward making the new pastor and his family feel at home in their new town.

After the official service, the new pastor can end with a prayer, and the congregation can formally welcome him or her by introducing themselves.

A pastor installation service can also serve as an opportunity to welcome new congregation members officially. Newspapers and church bulletins in the surrounding area might be used to publicize the service and encourage their congregations’ members to attend.

Is there a gathering to celebrate the service’s conclusion?

After the funeral service, there should be a reception or banquet. Special meals can be held in the spacious basements of most churches. Alternatively, big tents can be erected outside, allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere for the reception.

Catering is an option if congregation members are required to RSVP for attendance. Still, most churches opt for a more straightforward “potluck” meal where attendees sign up in advance to contribute a specific dish.

No matter how formal or informal the gathering following the pastor’s installation, its significance cannot be overstated. The church could split apart and fail if a new pastor is not accepted.

Service attendees can worship together and express their gratitude to God for sending a new pastor their way.

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