Interim Pastors: Types and Duties

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Gina B, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    I need information on this subject, and it would be awesome if it came only from pastors and those who have served as interim pastors in Baptist churches.

    Is anyone here familiar with "three types" of interim pastors? Do the duties of interim pastors change based on those different types?

    I'm starting from nothing here folks, and only have a few days to learn all about this. Please help out if you can!
     
  2. Crucified in Christ

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    I am not sure about the official "types" of Interim Pastors, but I can tell you generally what I have seen. 1.) There are Interims that basically function as a supply pastor while the church is seeking a Pastor; they fill in the pulpit, but provide little to no other ministry or leadership. 2.) There are the more traditional Interims who pastor the church until a Pastor can be found. Generally, these interim pastors function in most of the capacities of a regular pastor...simply with the understanding that their ministry at the church will end upon a pastor being called. 3.) The only other type that I have seen are something like a transitional pastor. They are hired for a set period of time while the church is preparing for a new situation. I have two friends in the ministry that have functioned in this way. One was hired for 18 months,the other for 24...in one case, the church had gone through a great deal of conflict and felt it needed some time, the other was attempting to make some changes and asked their trusted former Pastor to come back to smooth things out for a couple of years. To my knowledge, both situations worked out well.

    As to duties, they do vary by type of ministry and from church to church. Some churches don't like interims to lead too much while others are looking for someone to step-in and lead as pastor in the interim period. What are you hoping for a interim to do?
     
  3. Trotter

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    From my experience, there is a fourth type. This one comes in and starts making lots of changes, some major, in order to "set up house" for the next pastor. This can be a good thing if the church actually needs some (or a lot) of organization. It can also be a bad thing if these changes are not really needed.

    Our interim was one of these. He came in and, after a few months, started putting things into motion to "get things organized". Most of it was good, but some of it was not. We now have a set of policies and procedures but it contains things we never wanted. We now have a revised church constitution but, it too has things we never wanted. We now have a different structure for commitees, but many of these committees are redundant or have nothing to do... but they are to be standing committees according to the revamped constitution. The church budget was completely overhauled as well. While these changes were voted in, they were voted in by a congregation still in shell-shock from the departure of our former pastor.
     
  4. TomVols

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    CiC hit the nail on the head about this "3 type" thing. Basically, when a church calls an interim, they should agree on duties and expectations. I have been each of the three at various interims. I've basically just showed up to preach. I've preached and done some visiting/crisis stuff. And I've been a vocational interim. I logged the hours in the office and was the pastor in every sense.

    The new in-thing is a TIP - Transitional Interim Pastor or IIP - Intentional Interim Pastor. This shows that the interim is more than just a fill in (whatever the type of three he is). It's covenantal - the interim agrees to certain functions and the church agrees before God to do certain things to be ready for the next guy. Especially helpful when there's been acrimony in the past, a long tenure, a short tenure, etc.

    I have consulted with churches about this and would be glad to help if I can. There can be pitfalls with having an interim. You should be aware of them. PM me if you like.
     
  5. Joseph M. Smith

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    I have served as interim pastor in eight situations, most of them as very part-time, since I was in full-time campus ministry in the old days. In those situations I just preached and led prayer meeting, with a minimum of organizational involvement. But the interim ministry situation I did after my retirement from a pastorate -- and, curiously enough, it was back at a church I had served on that limited interim basis 27 years earlier -- was one which called for much more. It was not so much what was asked for but what I saw that was needed: refinancing the debt, reactivating the church council, revising the constitution, and the like. But bear in mind that none of that was done without the involvement of the lay leadership. I would not as pastor or as interim pastor dictate changes ... I would suggest them, justify them, and let the people decide.

    One form of interim ministry that is offered through American Baptists is a pattern whereby the church calls a retired pastor as interim on a full-time basis and pays the normal salary to and through ABC's office of Interim Ministries, which James Munro directs. The interim and the church receive training and support through his office, and the temptation to "save money" (by being slow to call a full-time pastor) is averted.

    I really love doing interim pastorates. Right now I am interim state convention executive (District of Columbia), but when that sentence ... er, responsibility ... I'd like to take another interim pastorate if the demands are not too heavy.
     
  6. Gina B

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    Thank you folks! I'd appreciate any other input, and Tom, I'll most likely be in contact with you soon!

    Joseph, what do you like about being an interim pastor? What stuff do you do, and how do you come across assignments? Do people you know call you, or do you look for ads, and do you only work close to home? Is there an average pay?
     
  7. Joseph M. Smith

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    Well, first, I love preaching! I do not recycle sermons used elsewhere, for the most part; I prepare new messages for these times and these people.

    And I love pastoring people ... hospital visits, counseling, evangelism. These things come your way as interim pastor no matter what the position description reads.

    Yes, my interims have come out of being known or being recommended by someone who knows me. I have not taken on, and do not intend to take on, an interim pastorate that would require a temporary relocation, although that is what American Baptists encourage.

    I have no idea what churches are paying interim pastors across the board, and of course it would depend on what they are asking for. The interim that I recently concluded called for half-time duty (i.e., 20 hours a week, although we all know that pastors cannot and do not confine themselves to the 40 hour week); the pay was about one-third of what the full-time pastor's salary would have been, exclusive of benefits.
     
  8. Gina B

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    Cool beans. Thank you Joseph.

    It sounds like you've really been blessed with the gift of compassion. How neat! May your ministry continue to bless people.
     
  9. Joseph M. Smith

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    Cool beans?! Iced coffee? Veggies out of the fridge? Or maybe calm thinking?

    Light-hearted, I hope ... but you know, the last meaning of "cool beans", namely, a calm posture, is pretty important for an interim pastor. One must learn that "I didn't create this situation, nor am I going to do anything to guarantee it will stay fixed ... but first, do no harm, and second, lead them to see what needs to be done so that it is their decision."
     
  10. TomVols

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    In my experience, a lot of retired ministers will serve as an interim, and this has positives and negatives. On the positive side, a small church might have a seminary trained minister when it otherwise could not afford or want one. The benefits to the church are numerous. On the negative side, a retired minister may not have the energy or desire to give the church the time and attention the church wants or needs.
     
  11. Bro K

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    Don't know the reason(s) for the need of an interim pastor; but the members should look within to find one to lead them. A leader should know the needs of the church as a whole and the needs of the individuals.
     
  12. rbell

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    Maybe so...but maybe not.

    Up to the church. If they want to go outside the church, fine.

    There's no Scriptural mandate either way.
     
  13. StefanM

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    If they make one of the staff members an interim pastor, an internal candidate could work.

    Unfortunately, unless the church only wanted someone to preach on Sunday and Wednesday, it might be difficult to find a qualified and able candidate within the church.

    Retired men may not have the health, and younger men may not have the time. They may not be able to quit their jobs to serve for a few months or a year or two.

    The bigger concern is meeting pastoral qualifications. Bigger churches might have enough eligible men to have an internal candidate, but smaller churches don't have as large of a pool.
     
  14. Bro K

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    If its takes a church months or years to get a Pastor....they're in trouble!!!!!!!
    Many might be suprised what God can do. During my 20 years of military service it was a forgone conclusion that if a leader fell, he had someone to step right in and get the mission done. I truly believe that we have forgotten why we have a Church.
     
  15. rbell

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    Our church was in dire need of re-evaluating, re-organizing, and yes, re-vival.

    We needed the 10-month interim period. Your mileage may vary.


    What God can do...well, He's God, and He does amazing things.

    He told us to wait for the right pastor, and it took about 10 months.

    Good decision on our parts (listening to God usually is... :D ).
     
  16. Crucified in Christ

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    Of course, you never want to rush into calling a Pastor...it would be wise to wait for the right man. I have seen a number of churches rush into getting someone (anyone) because they felt they could not go on without a called-Pastor; a few of those situations were complete mismatches and ended quite poorly.

    Having stated this, I think I agree with you point (if I am understanding you). Churches are not merely worship centers where the congregation gathers regularly. It is supposed to be an organization dedicated to training people for Christian ministry and service. If a church has been around for more than a few years and has no one that can step up, I would wonder about their approach to discipleship. While I realize that other factors can affect things, a church should be growing leaders through their ministry and discipleship programs. Leaders should be training men to be capable of replacing them.

    We often read of our brothers and sisters around the world, enduring bitter persecution. When one of their leaders is arrested, kidnapped or murdered, the church has another leader ready to take his place. Realizing the seriousness of discipleship and the danger that they daily face, they train and prepare men to step in when needed. What a shame it is to think that if the American church was under the level of persecution it is very likely that many congregations (if not most) would simply melt away.
     
  17. Bro K

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    We often read of our brothers and sisters around the world, enduring bitter persecution. When one of their leaders is arrested, kidnapped or murdered, the church has another leader ready to take his place. Realizing the seriousness of discipleship and the danger that they daily face, they train and prepare men to step in when needed. What a shame it is to think that if the American church was under the level of persecution it is very likely that many congregations (if not most) would simply melt away.

    I believe that most have melted away spiritually. II Thess 2: 4 tells us that there is coming a 'falling away'; which I believe this is talking about Christians, since the World has NOTHING to fall away from. Oh, for the good old days of the 50s and early 60s when Church was Church and not a social gathering. When pastors held to bibical principles above the whims of others. When pastors weren't chosen based on upon their education, social standing or their willingness to get-along; but on their desire to help the people. God Bless.
     

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