Interim Ministry as a specialized form of ministry leadership has undergone a few transitions since its inception. And it continues to evolve. Interim, or transitional leadership, is both skill and art and is applied within the complexity of a human system.
Most faith communities today are experiencing an extraordinary need for transformation and require leadership that is experienced, skillful, faithful, intentional, and gracious. Those who have interim ministry training likely have the best chance at providing that leadership. But the training doesn’t guarantee that a minister will provide the most appropriate leadership for a given situation, nor does the lack of the training mean that a particular minister is not the right person for the situation.
The most common model for transitional ministry is to appoint an interim ministry specialist for a defined period of time – usually two years. An alternative model is to appoint a part-time supply minister to maintain the ongoing routine tasks of ministry … funerals, baptisms, weddings, regular worship, pastoral care, hospital visits, etc. while engaging a trained transitional ministry consultant to work with the congregation on specific interim ministry goals. The transitional ministry consultant works with a transition team, the board, and the congregation to review the history, to celebrate, to lament, to analyze the mission opportunities and congregational assets, and perhaps to preach once a month concerning the interim work. As an ordained minister with transitional ministry training, Joe is also trained and experienced in complementary processes including world cafe, open space and appreciative inquiry. He is available to work with faith communities to develop a transition plan, engage the community in a series of “conversations that matter” and use strategic planning techniques to help the congregation understand its history and its current context, identify potential partnerships and develop a renewed mission for the future.