Question to pastors about interim periods

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Jonathan, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    In my opinion, one goal that a church needs to have during an interim period is to prepare the way for the next pastor's leadership.

    With this in mind, and primarily to you pastors, what should a church do regarding the possibilities of any new ministries or programs that arise during the interim period?

    Obviously "let the Holy Spirit lead" is the standard here. However, it is (or it should) always the be case that when a new pastor arrives, there will be a time where the church and the new pastor seek a consolidated vision for the future and I am concerned with avoiding setting up barriers to this harmony prior to the new pastor's arrival.

    After considering the general question, what are your thoughts on the following specific 'beginnings' during the interim period:

    1. An evangelism training/going plan (EE, CWT, FAITH, Tues. evening visitation, etc...).
    2. A new ministry (college, high school, etc...)
    3. An targeted worship service (like a Saturday evening schedule targeted to college agers, gen x-ers, etc...)

    [ January 03, 2003, 07:58 AM: Message edited by: Jonathan ]
     
  2. Pastor Larry

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    As an interim, I don't think you have any authority to start anything. Evangelism training is a part of the teaching ministry that goes on all the time. Starting a different style of service is a matter philosophy that deserves to be left to the next pastor. As an interim, you are not the pastor. You are filling the pulpit essentially until the church calls a pastor. Leave those changes to him.
     
  3. Bible-belted

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    I agree that new programs are best left to the new pastor.

    I would add though that the amount of continuity in service format should be a case by case thing. Churches that have had a pastor for a long time can benefit from having to adjust to some change with an interim before the new pastor arrives. Too much continuity may give a sense that the former pastor in a sesne has not yet left. There will be no psychoilogical break.

    But again, the iterim will have to use his judgment.
     
  4. Jonathan

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    I think that I need to better define my question. I am concerned with what the church does during the interim period rather than what the interim pastor does.

    Would this change your answers at all?

    BTW, I am a layman in my church. Our interim pastor is also church member (a grand old man, in semi-retirement from the pastoral ministry after decades of very prominent work, who was also interim pastor 5 years ago) who desires that we provide the next pastor with unity (at least).
     
  5. Jonathan

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    In my church (again, I am a member of the church - not the interim pastor), there are pockets of active laity who see a need and wish to act on it (within the 'normal' church polity). Since I am in a position to give some advice in these matters, I am looking for advice on what 'new' stuff would be counterproductive to undertake prior to the installation of a new senior pastor while wanting to encourage the initiative shown by the laity.
     
  6. Bible-belted

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    Well, the two are not so inseparable as that. The church will do what the church wills to do under God in the interim period. The interim can either encourage that or not. To encourage greater activism may or may not help in unity, for it begs the question of activism in what direction.

    I am not of the opinion that an interim should be from the congregation. It is too hard to dientangel your intersts in what you think the congegation should do. However sucha one will not rock the boat, will not likely encourage anyting but the status quo. Thatisn't bnecessarily a good thing.
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    Ah yes ... If the church body wants to institute something, then the interim pastor may help to lead them through that process. But he needs to exercise extreme care not to force his own desires or be too strong. I think a called pastor can be a strong leader, instituting change. In fact, I think he should be. I see the interim as someone just keeping the ship aright while the body seeks its next leader.

    As a side note, it is interesting that you say the interim was the interim just five years ago (I assume prior to the pastor who just left). I heard a study done on pastoring that said it took about 5-6 years to really start pastoring the church. It takes that long for the people to begin to trust you and follow you, to ingrain your philosophy and leadership in them. When a pastor gets frustrated and leaves before that time frame, he disillusions the congregation, further solidifies the leadership in the hands of deacons or the power structure of the church and exacerbates the problems that drove him off. There is no substitute for longevity at a particular place. I am just crossing my fourth anniversary (Jan 3 ... today in fact now that I think of it) and starting my fifth year. In the last six months to a year, I have noticed a dramatic shift in the way that people view me. When I came, for some reasons unique to this context, they viewed me as someone who would be here a couple of years and then move on and leave them high and dry again. The power and leadership of the church was in the deacon "board" (though I consistently refuse to call them a board) and particularly in the chairman (who has been a deacon almost as long as I have been alive). He has been very good to assure me that I am the pastor and he will not usurp my position. When people go to him, he comes to me. Now the people are finally starting to come to me. After this amount of time, I have finally gained their trust that I am in for the long haul. I assured them when I came that I would be here for the rest of my life if God kept me here. I think they finally believe me and are willing to follow me down the road of some changes. But it took a long time of consistency to get it. Most pastors just leave to early, go to another church and find the faces have changed but the problems are the same. It really hurts churches when pastors are always looking for the greener grass and when they leave.

    It would be interesting to hear "Interim Pastor" Dr. Bob's opinion on this subject since he is currently in the boiling pot.
     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    I have been interim pastor in a small church (150+) since April.

    They asked me to preach, teach, counsel and help in the oversight of the ministries. That is good and allowed a clean break from the previous pastor/associate (and loyalty/memory of them) for the next man to have.

    What the congregation and elders decided was to use this period to fully integrate all programs with lay-leadership and reevaluate everything the church does.

    Example: Our youth program was 100% run by a youth pastor. Now, we have a team that will operate, even if/when a new youth man would come.

    SS = elders run separate classes for jr high, sr high and college
    Youth Hour = two couples direct study and activity time
    Awana = two other couples direct junior varsity and varsity programs, teaching and utilizing teens as junior leaders with younger groups on Wednesday
    Youth Service = elder leading alternating activities (like playing lazertag this week) with ministry (like serving supper at the Rescue Mission last week)

    Okay. The people feel empowered again, involved in the ministry. Now, add Awana, Praise Teams, Women's Ministries, Seniors Ministries, small group ministries and children's ministries, and we have different folks involved in each.

    If someone would like to establish a program or activity, they are funneled to the correct Elder who oversees that work. It really works and will make a great "flow chart" for the new pastor.

    What will that man do? Preach and teach and counsel and evangelize, and have lots of time for prayer and ministry in the Word. Sounds a lot like Acts 6. :cool:
     
  9. SaggyWoman

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    :eek: I am absolutely dumbfounded.

    I like what you are saying, Dr. Bob. I agree with you totally.
     
  10. Circuitrider

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    Be careful! You'll give Dr. Bob the big head. :D :D [​IMG]
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    She said "Dumbfounded", Circuitrider. That was about my statements.

    Now if she said just plain "Dumb", then we'd KNOW she was talking accurately about me! :eek:
     
  12. j_barner2000

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    I have been fortunate in the last 3 years to have been involved in 2 mission churches. In the first one, the pastor tried to do everything, and there was no deacon/elder structure to support him. He is running ragged. Iwas lay leader of the youth program.
    The second church has "ministry teams." The pastoral staff take an advisor role with these teams, but the teams run their ministry.

    Now that I have qualified what I have said. In the first situation, the first thing needed is a team structure to insure the church and it's programs continue to run if/when the pastor is sent to start a new mission church.

    In the second situation, the teams would continue to manage the ministries they were formed to manage. again freeing up the pastoral staff to pray, lead,teach as is required.

    In both cases the pastor/ pastoral staff are bivocational.

    I just praise the Lord for the training He has provided to me. In the last 3 years He has prepared me to prepare to be called into pastoral ministries, and it is a wild ride. :D [​IMG]
    sorry I digressed. pray for me please
     

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