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Take Advantage of Ministry’s ‘Interim Season’

During an interim season, the current staff will have additional “interim” assignments, and quite often an interim minister will join the ministry team and help guide the church through the transitional season. Most of the church’s ministries can continue during an interim season, but a church should travel at a much slower pace.

When I retrieved the spare tire, jack and tire tool from the trunk, I couldn’t believe how small the tire was compared to the full-size tire that had gone flat. The jack was rather odd, and I quickly discovered that I was unfamiliar with this new-fangled equipment. I had to read the instructionsbeforechanging the tire. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
The instructions were specific and included interesting warnings about the spare tire:
 

  • This tire is intended as a temporary replacement and not designed for permanent use.
  • Do not exceed the speed of 45 miles per hour when driving on this tire.
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts and quick turns when driving on this tire.
  • Replace this tire with a full-size tire as soon as possible.

A few miles down the interstate, I stopped and had the full-size tire repaired and went ahead full speed to my destination. But I could not have safely concluded my journey without the temporary assistance of that spare tire.
When a church loses a minister or staff member through a transfer or reassignment, that church may go through an “interim season” of ministry. The term “interim” means temporary or provisional, and in the church, it refers to the interval between the departure of one minister and the arrival of another.
 
During an interim season, the current staff will have additional “interim” assignments, and quite often an interim minister will join the ministry team and help guide the church through the transitional season. Most of the church’s ministries can continue during an interim season, but a church should travel at a much slower pace.
 
There are many advantagesto an interim season of ministry:
 

  • Members can process their feelings of gratitude and grief over the transition.
  • If needed, members can heal from any conflict experienced in the past.
  • Members can enter a new level of bonding with other members.
  • Members can begin re-visioning the future of the church.
  • Members can re-evaluate and reaffirm the mission of the church.
  • Members can make preparations to welcome and support the new minister.

A wise and experienced interim minister may serve as an encourager and spiritual counselor to the congregation through each of these processes. Then, when a new minister is affirmed or assigned, the church can move ahead “full speed” with a program of mission and ministry. 
Barry Howard is a religion columnist residing in Corbin, Ky.