Not long ago I was asked to become interim pastor for a pastorless church. A gifted but somewhat erratic pastor had gravely divided the congregation and been asked to resign. Thus began my fourth experience in an interim role.

I have learned that as an interim pastor, I serve as comforter, preparer, facilitator, intercessor, encourager, and, if need be, admonisher and exhorter. I'm not there just to fill a space or hold the line. I'm supposed to see that the interim becomes a time of growth.

Individual indicators

The difficulty is that each congregation is unique and has particular needs during the transition between pastors. What works in one church during this period cannot necessarily be transplanted to another church in a similar situation. And as interim pastor, I have limited time to observe the church, determine its needs, and provide appropriate care.

I learned this the hard way after I served a church where things ran smoothly. Every Tuesday at lunch, a steering committee met with ...

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