Intentional Interim Ministry

Intentional Interim Ministry

What is Intentional Interim Ministry?

It is intentionally navigating the transitional period between the time the current lead/senior pastor exits a local church and a new lead/senior pastor arrives. Often this period of time is lengthy, and mostly chaotic. The Intentional Interim is specifically trained to lead the local church in making a healthy transition.

From Transition to Transformation

What is Transitional Ministry?
Transitional Ministry is ministry during a time of transition that involves training, task and time

TRANSITION is the process of coming to terms psychologically, emotionally and spiritually with change

TRAINING prepares the interim specialist to address the need of the congregation and to guide them as they work on their transition tasks

TASK is the work that a congregation does in response to the event that has triggered change

TIME is defined for the work on the tasks of transition.  The time limits are clearly specified in the agreement the interim specialist makes with the congregation before beginning the work

The Goal of Intentional Interim Ministry

The goal of the intentional interim process for a local church is to enter into a time of a self-study or self-evaluation period for the purpose of becoming healthier and refocused on the mission of the church. This is best done by a trained interim specialist guiding a local church through a Five Focus Points process.

The Five Focus Points of Intentional Interim Ministry

1. Coming to Terms with the Past

  • This first point allows everyone in the congregation to talk and ask questions
  • It is a time for people to tell their stories about their church
  • It is a time to grieve and share
  • It is the time for people to come to terms with the pastoral change

2. Discover a New Identity as a Church

This focus point allows for reflection and discovery as to how a church thinks about itself and sees itself

  • Identity: “Who are we?” or “What makes us as a church unique?”
  • Demographics: “Who belongs to this church?”  “Who do we attract?”
  • Purpose: “What is the purpose of our church?”  “Would our community miss our church if it were gone?”
  • Style: “How do we do things and why?”
  • Process: “How are decisions made?” and “How are conflicts resolved?”
  • Values: “What is important to us?”

3. Dealing with Leadership Shifts

Whenever a pastor departs, there will be shifts in leadership and in the congregational make-up.  Here are some essential questions that should be asked during this transition

  • “Who will be leaving leadership positions now that the pastor has departed?”
  • “Who might feel called to a leadership position in the midst of changing leaders?”
  • “How do we minister to those who have chosen to leave our church during the transition?”
  • “How do we train or disciple leaders?”  “Do we have a process of training ?”
  • “What type of leaders do we need based on our vision and goals?”

Renewing Denominational Connection

Often the transitional period is the best time for a local church and its denomination to reconnect by asking some of the following questions

  • “How would your church describe its relationship to the denomination?”
  • “What does it mean to be a part of this denomination?”
  • “Are members of the church active in the denomination?”

Preparing for New Leadership

This is the final point of focus for a local church as they prepare to embrace both the new pastor as well as the leaders who will work with the pastor in forging a new future for the church

  • “What have we learned about ourselves and our mission during the transition?”
  • “What consensus have we come to in discerning God’s voice and direction for our church?”
  • “Have we done the necessary things, such as forgive former pastors or leaders, brought closure to previous conflicts, etc. so we can move forward with a new identity?”
  • During this focus point the leaders and search team are building criteria for calling the next pastor as well as working through the search process
  • The final stage of this point is when the new pastor is welcomed and the interim specialist steps away