What should the purpose of having an interim pastor be?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Speedpass, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. Speedpass

    Speedpass
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    To merely fill the pulpit on Sundays and Wednesdays?
    To fulfill all pastoral duties and responsibilities expected of a permanent pastor?
    To prepare the congregation to receive a permanent pastor?
    Anything else?
     
  2. TomVols

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    Would depend some on the context. You definitely want the interim to preach the Word, which is the most important thing any pastor, interim or permanent, can do. From there, it would be based on the needs of the church. Perhaps the church needs a healing period after a termination or resignation under duress. Maybe there's been some conflict that needs weeding out. One thing the interim should not do is draw any focus to himself. The interim should be just that. Churches can become complacent with interims because they're getting the main work of the church done and they're paying him a lot less than they usually do a full-time pastor :eek: But again, the key is context. Depends on the need at the moment and the gifts of the interim. One thing I am convinced of. A church should never call as interim anyone that might possibly be a candidate. This rarely ever works out constructively.
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    Interesting perspective. I would think the opposite. If the situation is conducive, an interim position would be a great way to decide if you want the guy fulltime and permanent. It doens't work that way often because sometimes pastors have to move to a different city and the like. A friend of mine just interned at a church for six months as a mutual consideration with no strings attached. They called him to be the pastor after that time period. The advantage is that they both knew what they were getting.
     
  4. Rev. Joshua

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  5. TomVols

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    larry,
    True, both sides would know what they're getting into. But that's about the only positive. The negatives to calling the interim as a pastor is as long as I-75! And I say that having been called to a church as an interim on 2 occasions! Not that I'm speaking only out of experience. I've never met a DOM or any other person who deals with this kind of thing that disagrees. It's considered the 11th commandment of pastoral ministry :D
     
  6. AVL1984

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    I agree with you. I was an interim. Then I was asked to preach in view of a call. I really didn't want to do it, as the church was practically down to it's last remaining members. I did do it, though, and thankfully, I was not called to be their pastor. I also quit being their interim pastor. While I was their interim, I was expected to do the ministering a full time pastor would normally do. For me, and I believe for them, it was a counter productive thing. The church folded just a few years ago, and the few remaining members scattered.

    B.T.
    :(
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    That's very interesting. You obviously know more about than I do. This friend of mine is the only situation I have known like that (go ahead and make your "don't get out much" jokes here). There is not a lot of turnover in the churches that I am familiar with so it doesn't come up that often. It sounded like a good idea when they did it. It was a church splinter group from a group that didn't like the direction that the church was going in. The interim was to make sure that everyone was on the same page.
     
  8. TomVols

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    Well, I'm not going to say it can never work. It just rarely ever does for many reasons. When I get some time, maybe I'll post them for people who are curious.

    One other thing an interim pastor should never do is guide the selection process for a new pastor. This also has some potential landmines that can destroy quite a bit.

    [ August 09, 2002, 12:26 PM: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     
  9. Rev. Joshua

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    Tom, it sounds like your side of the camp and mine are in agreement here. The cardinal rule of serving as an interim is the understanding that you are not a candidate for the full-time position.

    In my experience, interims handle the preaching and the planning of worship, as well as working with the congregation to define its goals and expectations for the next pastor. Pastoral care is usually handled by the associate pastors.

    Joshua
     
  10. go2church

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    I agree with Joshua and Tom, if the interim wants to be the pastor, subimt your resume and go through the process. IMHO to use the interim position to become the pastor is not an ethical move. Kinda like the moderator of a business meeting making motions and getting them passed.
     
  11. TomVols

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    The last sentence is troubling. Only reason a current associate should handle pastoral care duties is if he was already handling it before the senior pastorate was vacated. Church history is strewn with the bodies of youth ministers or associate ministers who started doing some hospital work or home visits, then when the new SP came in, the congregation still expected or liked what the YM or AP did. Unnecessary tension was created between all parties. It's best if the other staffers stick to what they do and let the interim do it or leave it undone, just to be honest.
     
  12. Rev. Joshua

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    A lot of the churches I'm familiar with have an associate (usually CPE-trained) whose primary responsibility is pastoral care. My point was that, whereas the pastor in those cases is still expected to do some pastoral care, an interim would not be.

    Joshua
     
  13. Jim1999

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    As a retired minister, I have served in several churches as an interim minister. Whilst my main function was preaching, I did serve in a pastoral role. An old preacher like myself, sometimes is able to lead the congregation in a direction it should have been following all along. I don't have to find faults in the former pastor nor determine the qualities of the new pastor; just preach the word and dilineate the needs. I tell you, it is nice after 56 years in ministry, to just preach His word.
    One thing about obtaining the services of us old fellows..we are not looking for a job, but we can help to maintain the church until it is ready for a new pastor.

    Cheers in the Lord,

    Jim
     
  14. TomVols

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    True friend. Isn't it amazing that the antidote for many churches is just solid biblical exposition? It's almost like it's by God's design :D
     
  15. tlange

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    We need to hear from Dr. Bob on this one... he is presently an interim pastor....he can speak from the voice of experience!
     
  16. SaggyWoman

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    In the churches that I have been in who had interim pastors, they fulfilled the following tasks.

    1.) Pulpit supply.

    2.) General leadership direction as needed and requested. If there were no leaders stepping up, he would guide into church leaders developing.

    3.) One that I knew since I have been an adult would purposely preach some hard toe stepping sermons in prayerful hopes that it would help with the new pastor who would eventually come on board.

    4.) To fill in other pastoral type rolls as requested.
     

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