Monday, June 3, 2019: “A Call to Action”: The Missed Opportunity of a Pastoral Interim. Early in my ministry I was introduced to the great opportunity that exists during the interim between pastors. Congregations can engage in a period of discernment during those in-between days when one pastor leaves and before another pastor comes. This is an opportunity too many congregations miss.
In our Baptist system (and other church and denominational systems where the congregation engages in a search process for a new pastor) it is hardwired into congregations to pull together a pastor search committee to seek the next pastoral leader for the congregation. But it is not hardwired into congregations what they ought to do during the meantime. It is also not hardwired into congregations the need to reconsider where God is in the process of leading them before they call a new pastoral leader.
This is a missed opportunity. The difference is clear in concept. The extremes are these. Should a congregation panic without a pastor and call a new pastor as soon as they can who will once more bring vision to the congregation? Or, should a congregation engage in a year or more interim period where it takes a sabbatical to discern God’s leadership for the next seasons of its life and ministry, and then call a pastor who has the gifts, skills, and preferences to lead the congregation in that direction?
Since I see it as a missed opportunity, obviously I lean towards the latter viewpoint. I believe in it so strongly that I am helping an organization who focuses on interim pastor ministry to write a book about this subject. So, stay tuned for more information about this in the months to come.