Timeline

are we growing, plateaued, or declining?

Before we decide where we want to go,  we need to know where we are.

How big is the congregation? “Oh, we run about 250 or 260. Of course, it was Family Day year before last since we hit that number.” “It seems like we’re gaining a few now. The parking lot looked like there were more cars than usual.”

Those statements may or may not correspond to reality.

The best way I know how to learn the facts is to average attendance and contribution for as many years as the church has kept records and plot the results on a graph. Growth or decline is clear. I know nickels and noses are not the whole story, but they’re part of the indication of the health of the church.

Early in the interim process, I ask for volunteers to collect and record this information. In one congregation, we went through boxes and boxes of old bulletins to assemble figures.

The easiest time of collecting stats was at Eddyville, Kentucky. Emma Walker had kept information for Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, gospel meetings, and Vacation Bible Schools since the church moved to “New Eddyville” in 1961.

We copied her hand-written books (I didn’t want to be responsible for loosing the originals), distributed them to people who transferred information to Excel spreadsheets, and drew charts on large paper.

In other congregations, we made spreadsheets, took them to Staples or Office Depot and printed large charts to display.Adding other information can help give a visual factual reminder of major changes in the congregation:

Adding other information can help give a visual factual reminder of major changes in the congregation:

  • Appointment and resignations or deaths of elders and deacons.
  • Names and dates of service of preachers, youth ministers, and other staff members.
  • Building programs or relocations of the church.
  • Other major events that have affected the congregation.
  • Plotting of national and world events can put additional perspective to the graphic history.

After we review and discuss graphs and events, we divide into small groups and encourage people to share their memories of pleasant and painful events in the congregation.

A copy of this timeline should be sent to each preacher the church is considering. Just as the search committee wants a résumé, recordings of sermons, and three references of each preacher they are considering, they should supply information to candidates to help them evaluate their fit in this church.

I’ve observed the night of the timeline discussion to be a time of celebration, shock, nostalgia, contemplation, and hope. It’s one way of helping a group come to terms with it’s history.

What have you done to help a congregation reflect on where they have been to move forward more effectively?

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Introduction to this Church and Our Community

would you want to work with this church and live in this community?

The first task of the search committee isn’t to hire this great preacher. The main goal of the great preacher isn’t to try to be selected by this outstanding congregation. The great question is, “Do we fit?”. One step in answering the question is for both to provide as much about themselves as would be helpful.

One way each church where I’ve served as an interim did this was to prepare a document giving an introduction to the church and the community.

The first congregation did this in a 3-ring binder. Succeeding churches did it digitally on their website or a CD.

Some things included were:

Introduction to the Church

  • History.
  • Plans and vision of the future.
  • Leadership.
  • Ministries.
  • Statistics of attendance and contribution for several decades.
  • Results of self-study survey.

Introduction to the Community

  • History.
  • Recent census.
  • Schools for children and adults.
  • Local sports programs.
  • Medical facilities.
  • Transportation.
  • Recreation.
  • Other interesting things within driving distance of this community.

The best approach I observed in my ministry was from the Pleasant Ridge church in Arlington, Texas. I received a call one Monday morning. A gentleman said he would like to meet with me. He needed thirty minutes of my time. We agreed on 4:00 that afternoon.

At 4:00 p.m., two men arrived at my study in Dalton, Georgia. They identified themselves as elders of the Pleasant Ridge church. They had a package of information about the church and community. I informed them I wasn’t interested in moving to Texas. They told me, “We’re not asking you to move to Texas. Please consider this information and ask any questions you have. Think and pray about this and see if this is an opportunity you should consider. We’ll be in contact with you in a couple of weeks.” They had driven from Texas to Georgia to deliver the information. That began a three-month discussion. It was a memorable time of learning how to consider and be considered by a church.

They had a very detailed approach to let us patiently consider each other and whether we should work together.

Several years ago, a church selected a new preacher. He moved and had a great beginning. He helped the church by his preaching. He was serving in a great way. Everything seemed to be perfect.

But in a short time he was moving. Why? There wasn’t a Walmart nearby and his wife wasn’t happy without Walmart.

Those are things you can learn before you select a preacher and save confusion and moving expenses — coming and going.

The information-gathering of the search is important. In addition to the facts we share with each other, we’re telling each other the amount about us we’re willing to disclose, the excellence and details of the work we do, and how much of what Jesus said we believe:

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32, NKJV).

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).

What are some things you would like to know about a church and community you would consider?

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Interim Ministry Workshop

September 21–23, 2017

What do you plan to do for the rest of your life? How will you use the wisdom you have gained by study and experience as a preacher? For ten years, Gail and I have enjoyed interim ministry in seven congregations. We have continued to learn and grow. We have been encouraged by brethren in all these places. Some of you have the ability to offer a great service. I would like to share what I am learning with you. We will meet in the beautiful new facilities of the Charlotte Heights Church of Christ, 6833 Old Charlotte Pike, Nashville, Tennessee 37209.

Three things to do to take advantage of this opportunity:

    1. Mark your calendar for September 21-23
    2. To answer any questions, contact Jerrie Barber:jerrie@barberclippings.com(615) 584-0512
    3. Reserve your place in this workshop: I want to participate in this workshop

Reserve my place in this workshop

Eddyville, Kentucky

The cost is $317.49 per person.

Hendersonville, Tennessee

There is a minimum and a maximum number of participants:
The minimum for the course to be conducted is — 1. If no one shows up, I won’t talk.
The maximum is 20 people, total. We will be doing group sessions. Twenty will be the limit.

Cookeville, Tennessee

The concepts we’ll discuss will be good training for any preacher and his wife. Gail and I had an introduction course in 1996. We went through Interim Ministry Network training in 1998-1999, seven years before I started interim ministry. I took a refresher course in March 2007, before starting interim ministry in May of that year. The training and what I learned helped during those last years of full-time ministry.

LaVergne, Tennessee

Preachers’ wives are encouraged but not required to attend this workshop. Gail and I went for training together.

Maury City, Tennessee

Schedule

Thursday, September 21, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Friday, September 22, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 23, 8:00 a.m.-noon

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Topics:

  • The story of our journey to interim ministry.
  • Family Systems, the framework of working with groups.
  • Is there any hope for this church?
  • The work of the interim preacher — to guide and coach a process.
  • Contracts, opportunity to clarify expectations — objections to written contracts.
  • Compensation for an interim.
  • Making contacts, getting the word out that you’re available for interim ministry.
  • Rules. (Differentiation)
  • Initial Family Meeting.
  • Projects.
  • Preaching during the interim.
  • The interim’s wife — discussion, Q & A with Gail.
  • The Search — training those who will be searching for the new preacher.
  • The Preacher.
  • When you don’t need an interim.
  • Conflict management.

Sikeston, Missouri

Three things to do to take advantage of this opportunity:

    1. Mark your calendar for September 21-23
    2. To answer any questions, contact Jerrie Barber: jerrie@barberclippings.com(615) 584-0512
    3. Reserve your place in this workshop: I want to participate in this workshop

Reserve my place in this workshop

Self-Study Survey

What kind of preacher do we want? Will that kind of preacher want us?

Most Christians have an idea of the characteristics of the preacher they’d like to have. If the last preacher was their good friend, they probably want another just like him. Those aren’t available. If they didn’t like the former preacher, someone who is exactly opposite him would be good. There’s none of those.

Most want a preacher who lives like Jesus, studies like Paul, loves like John (when he was older), and visits and ministers like the Good Samaritan. It’s good to know what you are seeking, or you won’t know when you find him.

Have you thought about what prospective preachers are looking for in a congregation? How do they know if they fit the opportunities and expectations of the church? Are you aware the church is “trying out” as well as the preacher?

One helpful tool is a Self-Study Survey. I helped congregations administer one of these in each church where I’ve served as an interim.

There are several parts:

  1. Demographics: age, how long with the congregation, travel time to and from services.
  2. Involvement: roles, attendance, increase or decrease in involvement and why.
  3. Evaluation of programs and services of the congregation.
  4. How the congregation is like or different in its makeup compared to the community.
  5. Possible tasks of the future preacher and which are most important.
  6. Evaluation of the worship of the congregation.
  7. Thoughts on what makes a good sermon.
  8. Convictions on certain issues.
  9. Three open-ended questions:
    1. What would you tell the next preacher at this church?
    2. What advice would you give the elders of this church as they proceed?
    3. Please make any other comments that would be helpful for the health of this congregation during this time of transition or in the future.

The survey is anonymous. We don’t ask for names or save IP numbers of computers used.

Most congregations where I served used SurveyMonkey, an online survey tool. Paper copies are available for those who prefer and those who want to think before starting on the computer.

Filling out the survey takes forty-five minutes to an hour. We wanted, and have obtained, a number of at least half the Sunday morning attendance to complete the self-study.

My observations after administering and reading every word of surveys in six congregations:

  • Not everyone thinks alike. Some people who have different understandings are sitting on the pew with me — or very close.
  • Christians are at different stages in their growth, understanding, and service.
  • People have different expectations of a preacher.
  • The results of the survey can help men who are considering and being considered as the next preacher.
  • Open-ended questions are powerful. People have an opportunity to say what they’ve wanted to say. I’ve seen a change in the way those were shared. In the first two congregations, answers to the open-ended questions were not shared with the congregation. In the third, a committee summarized and paraphrased the answers to share with the church and prospective preachers. In the last three, answers were shared with the church and prospective preachers. I prefer the latter. The work of the search committee or elders is not to make the church look perfect, but to let a preacher know the challenges and opportunities before he gets there. This is one way to do this. If this isn’t the group he would like to serve, now’s the time to learn that. The best time to get a divorce is before you get married.
  • From my perspective, the most helpful thing about the survey is the thinking going on in the person completing the survey. Many have never thought of how complex leading and preaching to a group of people can be. Not everyone will get everything they want.

One of the most spiritual things a person can do is to think. One of the differences in fill-in preaching between preachers and interim ministry is the interim minister leads in several planned activities to encourage members to think about themselves and their relationship to the Lord, the effectiveness of the congregation and how it is serving Jesus, their community, and the world, and the transition going on in this church and their lives.

What would you do to help people make the transition after a long ministry?

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Opening Family Meeting

introduction to transition and interim ministry for the church where I'm ministering

At the beginning of each interim, usually on the first Sunday night following evening services, I hold a Family Meeting to get the process started. In two larger congregations, 600 and 1,400 in Sunday morning attendance, I went to Bible classes for this discussion. This provided an opportunity for more people to participate in the discussion.

I begin with the Discussion Rules. I start each new group with negotiating the Discussion Rules: Sunday morning Bible Class, Wednesday night Bible class, Staff Meetings, Transition Monitoring Team. When I had gone over the Discussion Rules the second time in one congregation, a perplexed brother asked, “How many times am I going to have to listen to those rules?”.

My reply, “Every time we start a new group. And you haven’t heard anything yet. You’re on the Transition Monitoring Team. We’ll take an hour to negotiate the rules at the first meeting.” Read more about Discussion Rules .

During this first Family Meeting, an information session for the entire congregation, we are setting structure and expectations of the next year to year and a half of our work together.

  • In the first part of the meeting: 
  • Recruit people for specific transition tasks (I will discuss these in following posts):
    • Transition Monitoring Team: a group to tap into the grapevine of the church and communicate to the elders what people are thinking, feeling, asking, saying, fearing, and hoping.
    • Welcome to our congregation and community: a document or part of the website to introduce the prospective preachers to the congregation and the community.
    • Timeline of this congregation: a compilation of the history, attendance, and contribution of the congregation from the earliest records until the present.
    • Conducting a self-study: an extensive questionnaire to let members tell who they are, evaluate the strengths and needs of the congregation, and describe the type of preacher needed at this church now. This will be set up as an on-line survey with printed copies for those who prefer that to using an electronic tablet or computer.
  • Planned sermon series:
    • Carving Ears, Cutting Out, Calling Angels, or Crucifixion, requirements for a follower of Jesus. Luke 9:23
    • How to Survive the Storm and Enjoy the Sunshine, dealing with conflict in the church. Acts 6:1-7
    • I Want the Church to Grow, But I Don’t Want Any More People, overcoming my discomforts to reach out to people unlike me and people I don’t like.
    • What Do You Do When God Is Late?, setting my clock with God’s clock.
  • Workshop once a month on Sunday night, a longer lesson on a practical topic.
  • Leadership Training Classes. 
    • God’s Great Servants, conducted on Wednesday night for elders, deacons, other men and young men who desire to be leaders in the church, their family, business, and other areas. These classes are for the administrative part of leadership.
    • Learning to Love My Friend(s), classes in the homes of the participants. We learn to have a greater appreciation of Jesus as my Friend, become a better friend to others using Jesus as the example of a perfect friend, and encouraging telling others about our best Friend by word and example. The study is about the pastoral part of leadership.
  • Read my contract, including my salary and housing allowance — if the elders permit. Early in my ministry, I didn’t want people to know my financial arrangements. I’ve learned that full disclosure of all agreements helps people understand and eliminates many questions. They already have the answers. Interim contract…read more.
  • Questions and comments.

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How Do You Get the Word Out?

how do people know you would like to work as an interim?

Someone asked a few months ago how to get the word out that you’re available. Unless a preacher is independently wealthy, which I’m not, it’s scary to begin working with congregations, resigning before you get started — effective in eighteen months, and then start the process again.

How do you let it be known you are available and willing to work as an interim?

God has blessed Gail and me for the past nine years to be involved in this ministry. Here’s my story:

  1. When I thought about the concept, I began to talk to anyone who would listen, and probably some who wished they didn’t have to listen. Our Journey to Interim Ministry.
  2. John Parker and I started a monthly newsletter When Your Preacher Leaves: Interim Services for Churches Between Ministers in June 2006. We had articles relating to interim ministry, books that were helpful, and a report of our activities during the month. John started interim ministry earlier than I did.
  3. Barber Clippings was a blog I started in December 2006. This is the one I used. It is free and easy to start and maintain: Blog Instructions .
  4. About this time, Jill Parker build a website for me. I tried to post every tool I had that would be helpful for churches and preachers in transition. It worked well until it needed to be changed. I contacted a company who build a website and instructed me how to maintain it.
  5. John and I ended our newsletter in October 2014.
  6. I started my blog, New Shepherds Orientation, in January 2015. I used Michael Hyatt’s WordPress theme, Get Noticed. It’s more expensive than many other themes, but it’s easy to use and looks good. He has a helpful video for people wanting to set up a WordPress blog: How to Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less: A Step-by-Step Guide. I don’t think I finished in twenty minutes, but I was able to set it up and have continued to maintain it. New Shepherds Orientation and this blog, dealing specifically with interim ministry, Between Preachers, has been helpful in getting connected with congregations who consider my services. It’s my impression that elders usually spend considerable time on my website before giving me the first call. They have the opportunity to learn more about the concept of interim ministry, and become better acquainted with me: About, check my References from elders and comments from members where I’ve worked for the past forty+ years.
  7. I choose to be active on Facebook. I communicate blogs posts, book “mustard seeds,” meetings, workshops, and the times I’ve been available for interim ministry. I have a New Shepherds Orientation page where I share information on leadership workshops and ideas on interim ministry. I am grateful for the amount of free advertisement available by internet, social media, email, and other web-based tools.
  8. I am on Twitter — @JerrieWBarber.
  9. There have been two times in the past nine years that I didn’t have a congregation interested when I completed an interim. These two times my habit of adding people and facts to my Contacts paid off. As of today, I have 5,589 entries in my Contacts list on my iPhone. Not everyone in my list has an interest in my interim ministry — plumbers, electricians, mechanics, doctors, etc. But many of them do have an interest. I composed an introductory letter about my work. I went through my list in alphabetical order sending out individual emails — many with personal comments — to people I thought might know of some congregation that could use my service. The first time, in January 2010, I sent out 700 emails. I stayed up one entire night sending out emails. The second time, July 2013, I sent out an even 1,000 emails.

These are some of the ways I have “put out the word” about my availability. This may sound complicated. But it started a quarter a century ago with talking about an idea I thought would be helpful. I found other people had the idea before I did who had studied and developed principles I could learn and adapt. The steps that followed were months and years apart. As I view the process, I can say I believe Paul when he wrote, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV).

I am receiving more and more calls for this work. For those interested, I am considering a three-day training session on interim ministry next year. Please contact me if you would like to know more: jerrie@barberclippings.com.

What have you found effective in letting people know how you would like to serve in any area?
Please comment below:

It’s Not the Work of the Interim Preacher to Make a Good Transition

interim ministry isn’t fill-in preaching

Jerrie, our elders need fixing. Our deacons don’t deak. You need to get members who left to come back. People need to give more. I’m not giving because of what the elders did. What are you going to do to deal with all these problems?”

Not much.

Quite a bit — if what I teach and preach is true and practiced.

Edwin Friedman says one of the greatest mistakes of GOOD leaders is over-functioning.

The work of the interim minister is to help the congregation grow — navigate through a good transition during this time of change from one preacher to another.

Interim ministry is not fill-in preaching. Fill-in preaching is showing up at appointed times and speaking. And good preaching can do much good. But interim ministry calls for more. It’s an opportunity to help people think about what’s happened and learn from it. I do this from the pulpit, in smaller classes and groups, and in individual conversations.

Different circumstances may call for an interim:

  1. The preacher resigned.
  2. The preacher died.
  3. The preacher was fired.
  4. The preacher retired.
  5. The preacher stayed for a long time.
  6. The last several preachers stayed a short time and left unhappy.
  7. The church is in conflict.
  8. The church is at peace — so much peace for so long it’s about to die. There’s a lot of peace in a cemetery.
  9. The church is at peace. The last preacher stayed a long time, did a good job, left because he chose to go and believes he made a good decision. People miss him because he was a good preacher, a good servant, and a true friend. No one will ever be able to replace him.

The church needs to grieve his absence to get ready to consider who will be the next preacher.

And if you’re looking for the one you just buried, that person is in the cemetery.

All these call for a time to think and learn from what’s happening.

In my early ministry, the only method of conflict resolution I knew was to talk with people involved. I found if I talked to one first, I always talked with the one who was right. I knew he was because he told me he was right and the other was wrong.

My next step was to get the wrong one to come in to talk. The one who was right and I would get the wrong one to repent, and everyone would be happy. They would send me a thank you note and Christmas cards every year.

I’ve never received my first card from one of those peace conferences. I didn’t know and practice Proverbs 18:17:

The first one to plead his cause seems right,
Until his neighbor comes and examines him (NKJV).

My responsibilities and opportunities are to teach, coach, and encourage people in conflict to follow Jesus and His teaching. If I try to do the work for others, it probably won’t work. And if it did, the people failed to exercise their responsibility to follow the Lord’s way of repairing broken relationships. If I did their work, they didn’t grow from a lack of exercise.

I can’t grieve for another.

I can’t find the way out of lostness for another.

I can’t express and find relief from anger and despair for another.

I may be able to help someone find a better way through the wilderness between the Red Sea and the Promised Land.

My goal is to help, not replace, Christians who are finding their way to a new beginning.

In blog posts that follow, I’ll relate specifics about what I do as a guide on this adventure.

What have you found helpful when your stability and peace was disrupted?
Please comment below:

Principle 1 of Family Systems: The Identified Patient

what is wrong with him (us)?

Often a family will name one of its members as the “black sheep.” A church will pick a person or a group in the congregation and label him or them as “the problem.” If we could only fix “the problem” or if we could convert the “black sheep,” the family or church would be okay.

The concept of family systems: if a situation is chronic – if the symptoms are recurring or of long duration – it’s not the “fault” of one person. It is because the family “likes it that way.” The family likes it the way it is more than being willing to endure the pain and effort it would take to change it.

Edwin Friedman, in the first chapter of his book, Generation to Generation (© 1985 The Guilford Press), explained the concept of the identified patient. The family member with the obvious symptom is not to be seen as the “sick one” but as the one in whom the family’s stress or pathology has surfaced. Physicians don’t assume the part of a human organism in pain, or failing to act properly, is necessarily the cause of its own distress. Problems in any organ may relate to excessive over functioning, under functioning, or dis-functioning of another. By keeping the focus on one of its members, the family, personal or congregational, can deny the very issues that contributed to making one of its members symptomatic, even if it ultimately harms the entire family.

A doctor doesn’t suggest someone who comes to him with yellow skin call the Avon lady. He’ll probably start by looking at the liver. Although the skin is yellow, it didn’t begin in the skin.

My father had bypass surgery in 1981. In February 1998, he was having pains in his jaw. He asked my wife, “Gail, do you think the pain in my jaw could have anything to do with my heart?”. She assured him that was a distinct possibility. He called his doctor on Monday. Tuesday he had an angiogram. Wednesday he had his second bypass surgery. He had a pain in his jaw. He didn’t need to see a dentist. It was heart disease.

Often when I’m consulting with congregations, the identified patient is “leadership.” Brothers tell me, “Our problem is a lack of effective leadership.” I ask how long this has been an issue. Usually, it’s been an issue for years. It’s my observation a church has the leaders it wants. It has leaders it’s trained, prayed for, encouraged, and tolerated. It’s late to be concerned about the quality of leadership two weeks before time to appoint shepherds or deacons. A series of sermons from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 won’t make up for years of neglect in making disciples of Jesus.

Paul describes how the body is connected and how members affect each other in 1 Corinthians 12:26, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (NKJV). We rarely have an individual problem of long duration. It’s a family problem. If we fail to recognize this, we may fix “the problem” (identified patient) but if the family doesn’t change, the symptoms will resurface in the same patient or another because forces that contributed to “the problem” are still there.

Do you know of a congregation that’s fired most of its preachers? Who selects preachers? Who interacts with preachers, encourages preachers, and discourages preachers? Are they consistently choosing bad preachers? Who did that? Do they select good preachers and good preachers become bad after they arrive? Will you solve the problem by choosing another bad preacher or a good preacher who will be micro-managed or ignored and criticized until he leaves?

We need to ask the same questions about all leadership. Who selects leaders? Who encourages elders and deacons in their work? Does the group approve or say nothing when unqualified men are considered? Do many in the congregation begin to criticize and question motives of anyone appointed to leadership? How long has it been since many people or the group expressed sincere, specific, and sustained appreciation to the leaders, individually and as a group?

I heard Ira North say, “We put a man in an ice house and cuss him for not sweating.”

If a church has a leadership deficiency, I wonder why they like it that way?

In his book, Healthy Congregations (Copyright © 1996 The Alban Institute, Inc.), Peter Steinke gives two quotes about this principle:

  • “It is more important to know what sort of patient has the disease than what sort of disease the patient has.” –Sir William Osler (page 23).
  • “The healthy society, like the healthy body, is not the one that has taken the most medicine. It is the one in which the internal health building force is in the best shape.” –Peter Senge (page 101).

When “the problem” has been in a church, family, business, or softball team for years, a good question for the group, “I wonder why we like it that way and would we be willing to endure the pain to change it (us)?”.

How have you dealt with “the problem” (identified patient) in your group?
Please comment below:

Between Preachers

a new blog — welcome

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:

Introduction

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
Communication rules
Criticism rules
Originality 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?

The Search

Do you realize the church is “trying out”?
Who will take part?
Committee training
Interviews
Checking references
Contract
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.

What questions do you have about interim ministry? What would you like to see discussed in this blog?