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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 .
- 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.
- John and I ended our newsletter in October 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- I’m on Twitter — @JerrieWBarber.
- There have been two times in the past nine years that I didn’t have a congregation interested when I completed an interim. 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 on 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: email@example.com.