Have you noticed? Often when a preacher has stayed a long time (5 years or more) and leaves, the next preacher usually stays a short time. And often he is tormented while he is there being unfavorably compared to the previous preacher.
One helpful approach in many congregations is the services of an intentional interim preacher. An intentional interim is one who prepared by study and/or experience in dynamics of transition and Biblical principles of leaving Egypt (previous state), wandering through the wilderness with complaining, wishing to make it like it used to be, and eventually entering the promised land where God’s people can enjoy another season of growth in carrying out the Great Commission. He understands he is temporary. He signs a contract. He will not consider or be considered as the next preacher of this congregation. He does what he has promised.
I have enjoyed preaching 54 years, 6 months, 14 days as of January 12, 2016. I have experienced frustration, helplessness, and seasons of depression while serving two unintentional interims. My wife and I studied interim ministry with the Interim Ministry Network 1998-1999. I went for a refresher course in March 2007, immediately before starting interim ministry. Gail and I have been working with churches BETWEEN PREACHERS since May 2007. We are working with the sixth congregation now.
An interim preacher provides the congregation with consistent, pointed, and challenging sermons and Bible classes while the congregation is preparing and pursuing the next located long term preacher. People can see a plan.
The interim will lead individuals, small groups, and the whole church in learning experiences to grieve the loss of the previous preacher, along with working on any present conflict, anticipating the next season of growth.
I will be making posts describing procedures and results of understanding that wilderness time is not wasted. God didn’t make a mistake by not sending the children of Israel into Canaan twelve days after they left Egypt.
If you read future posts, my aim is to give you “mustard seeds” for surviving and thriving through transitions. I plan to post on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. If you find this helpful, please share this blog with your friends.
This is the first post of what I hope to be many on topics of transition and interim ministry. Please leave your name and email address in the box in the upper right-hand corner of this website.
If some or all these topics interest you, you’ll be rewarded for your time invested:
Overview of interim ministry
Our journey to interim ministry
What is the difference in change and transition?
My Approach to the Congregation in Transition
God, Church, and Wisdom
It’s not the job of the interim preacher to make a good transition
How much do you pay an interim?
Beginning the Season of the Interim
What are your rules?
Try not to learn very much
Use the wastebasket
Name memory rule
Holding a family meeting
Projects that Help the Transition Process
Transition monitoring team
Timeline of this congregation
Introduction to the church and community
Self-study gives insight to desired qualities of the next preacher
Preaching and Teaching During the Interim
Let’s look at the church (ourselves) before we start looking for a preacher
Why do we have problems in the church and how can we solve them?
What do you do when God is late?
I want the church to grow…but do I want any more people?
Do you realize the church is “trying out”?
Who will take part?
When and how will the new preacher leave?
The Preacher Who is Considering and Being Considered
How were you approached?
Are they looking for you or just anybody?
Are you interested in this congregation or just anywhere?
How much are you learning about the church and the community?
Have you checked the church’s references?
I’ll be sharing in these posts the way I’ve done interim ministry from May 2007 until the present. This isn’t necessarily the best way. I’m still learning. Please question, comment, criticize, and suggest better ways to serve. When I write everything I know about interim ministry, I plan to conclude.
Thank you for your encouragement.