Transitions in Ministry

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the United Methodist Church move pastors?

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the United Methodist Church is the itinerant system in which pastors move from appointment to appointment. Itinerancy is part of the “connectional” nature of the United Methodist Church, which stresses the “united” nature of all United Methodist churches. All local churches are bound together by a common mission and common governance. This is how United Methodists work together to accomplish mission and ministry throughout the world. It is rare for a UMC pastor to stay at a church more than 5-6 years.

Who decides to move the pastor?

The Bishop for the Virginia Conference is given the responsibility of making all pastoral appointments. Appointing pastors to various churches throughout Virginia is done in consultation with District Superintendents, local churches, and pastors. A variety of factors are involved in making the decision to move a pastor to a new location including: the length of time a pastor has served in one church, the gifts and abilities of a pastor, and the needs of churches in the conference.

Why is Pastor Mochel leaving now?

We have been blessed to have Pastor Mochel leading the Christ Crossman congregation for nearly 16 years. She has decided that it is time to retire, which means that we will welcome a new pastor to our church. Our congregation has worked to grow in size and reach over the past few years, and we’re excited to continue this work with a new pastor. Pastor Mochel believes that now is a good time to transition Christ Crossman to new leadership to guide our church in our mission.

Who will replace Pastor Mochel?

Rev. Yunho Eo will assume the role of pastor at Christ Crossman United Methodist Church on July 2.

A little about Pastor Yunho:

Our incoming pastor’s name is Yunho Eo and is pronounced like “You-Know Awe.” He was born in Korea, and is married to Joungwon Eo. In 1981, he and Joungwon came to the United States so he could pursue his MBA from North Carolina Central University.

While studying Economics as Ph.D. Candidate at North Carolina State University, Pastor Yunho was called by God with healing mercy to ministry. Pastor Yunho holds a M. Div. from Duke. Upon graduation, he began his ministry at Greensboro Korean UMC in 1987.

In 1994, he was called to plant a congregation, Emmaus UMC, in Richmond, with 10 people growing to 350 worshipers each Sunday. In 2001, Pastor Yunho received D.Min. from Wesley Theological Seminary; his final project focused on using leadership training and small groups to grow a local church. Then, he was sent to a cross cultural appointment at Colonial Beach UMC with his wife’s kidney transplant in 2011.

Pastor Yunho emphasizes disciple making, small groups, and prayer ministry to be followed by various ministries as by-products.

When will Pastor Mochel leave?

As we prepare for this transition, a series of guest preachers will lead Sunday worship beginning mid-May and continuing in June. Pastor Mochel will lead Sunday worship on May 7 and 14. Pastor Mochel next will preach on her final Sunday with us, June 11. There will be a reception for her after Sunday worship on June 11. Pastor Yunho will begin on July 1, and will lead us in worship beginning July 2.

How can I help make this transition smooth?

The time of transition for pastors creates the most difficult segment of United Methodist ministry. We find ourselves filled with both anticipation and sorrow as established relationships are broken in preparation for “beginning again.” Every pastor/family touches certain individuals in very special ways. There are always those who grieve when “their” pastor moves. Pastors/families also grieve knowing they are leaving loved ones behind.

On the other hand, the kind of welcome that is extended the incoming pastor/family often sets the tone for the relationship that will exist between pastor and congregation. It is difficult to adequately prepare a farewell for one pastor/family and at the same time prepare to welcome the new pastor/family. This is uniquely United Methodist!

As challenging as it may be, it is essential that both the “letting go” and the “embracing” be equally fulfilled. Hold this transition process in prayer. Re-affirm to yourself and others that this is God’s church, under the care and guidance of the Holy Spirit. As in everything, we can expect great things from our gracious God.

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