Intentional Interim Pastoral Ministry is an Art More than a Science, Post One

Tom HarrrisSaturday, October 14, 2017

This week I had the opportunity to speak to the leadership, and some invited guests, of one of my favorite organizations that seeks to recruit, train, place, resource, and coach interim pastors for congregations.

It is Interim Pastor Ministries.

My relationship with the people of Interim Pastor Ministries goes back almost nine years when its current executive director—Tom Harris—was serving as interim pastor for a church in Atlanta, GA, and saw an invitation where I was leading a church consultation weekend where others were invited to observe a Friday night session. He signed up, attended, and we talked briefly.

I few years later Tom become the executive director for Interim Pastor Ministries. Three years ago, he saw another invitation where I invited people to shadow me through a four-day weekend experience with a church. He signed up, we had extensive conversations during that weekend, and since then we have been together a dozen times.

The most recent was this week in Myrtle Beach, SC.

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Not Necessarily FaithSoaring Churches Characteristics

Soaring-birdAnother set of characteristics exists which I call, ”Not Necessarily FaithSoaring Church Characteristics”.

(See article on FaithSoaring Churches Characteristics that preceded this article.)

They more clearly define who can be considered a FaithSoaring Church.

Already you may be typecasting or stereotyping who these congregations may be.

You are probably wrong at some points and right at others. Keep reading to discover the five "not neceesarily FaithSoaring Churches" characteristics.

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FaithSoaring Churches Characteristics

Soaring-birdWhat are the key characteristics of FaithSoaring Churches? Probably there is no perfect set of characteristics. Yet certain key characteristics emerge from my observation of multiple FaithSoaring Churches. No two congregations will have the exact same set of characteristics or formula. Each congregation is unique. Will FaithSoaring Churches have all the characteristics presented here? Not necessarily.

Here is one set of top ten characteristics of FaithSoaring Churches. Certainly other sets and types of characteristics could be put forth. Consider how many of these are characteristic of your congregation as you review them.

  1. FaithSoaring Churches walk by faith rather than by sight in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 5:7 and Isaiah 40:31. Second Corinthians 5:7 admonishes us to walk by faith rather than by sight. Isaiah 40:31 challenges us to mount up with wings as eagles and soar. Thus, FaithSoaring. One aspect of walking by faith is viewing the congregation in terms of its long-term potential rather than its short-term urgencies. Another is always imagining what is around the corner, over the next hill, or beyond the horizon.

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More Examples of FaithSoaring Churches

Soaring-bird

Download FSCLC Journal More Examples of FaithSoaring Churches 09.14.17

Lake Avenue

This “Urban Gospel” congregation composed primarily of African-Americans is pursuing a journey that may well lead to Lake Avenue becoming a FaithSoaring Church. It was not founded as an African-American congregation. It was founded by Anglo-American families in the mid-1950s in the suburban area of a large city.

Towards the end of its first generation of life its context began to change when a historically black state university built a satellite campus across the street from the church facilities. With significant state and federal government funding, this satellite campus began to expand and rapidly increase in student enrollment.

For several years, Lake Avenue sought to continue the same ministries characteristic of its early years. Ultimately it began a collegiate ministry focused on both the residential and commuting students at the university. They employed two student interns each year to lead the collegiate ministry, but with only limited success.

A hinge point was reached when their pastor of 28 years retired. During the interim the congregation made the decision to pursue an African-American as their next pastor. The result of this pursuit was that they hit the proverbial jackpot. They secured an interracial clergy couple as their next pastoral team. The wife, Joy Goodson, is Anglo-American and the husband, Raymond Goodson, is African-American. While they alternate teaching responsibilities, Raymond is the worship leader each week.

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Crooked Run Baptist Church is a Smaller Membership Church with a Kingdom Sized Vision

Crooked Run Baptist Church 01

Feature Story News Release from the Columbia Metro Baptist Association at www.ColumbiaMetro.org

Crooked Run Baptist Church, in Fairfield County, is involved with a nearby elementary school, is starting a Sunday evening service for young adults, and participates in both local and international missions.

It’s also a Fairfield County congregation that is 193 years old, averages 35-40 on Sunday mornings, and is mostly made up of members who are 60 years or older. It gives 11 percent through the Cooperative Program and supports the Columbia Metro Baptist Association with 4 percent giving.

Pastor Tommy Hutto has served Crooked Run since April 1, 2002, and was immediately impressed 15 years ago with the church’s thoughtfulness to its search process.

“Most of my pastorates had been short-term compared to this one of 15 years,” he said. “(Crooked Run) has been a great fit for me and that goes back to their initial search process. They asked me a lot of questions and were open to answering a lot of my questions. We thoroughly examined each other even down to their asking me to give my personal testimony of my salvation experience. I knew then that this church was focused on loving the Lord and loving others.”

Today, with its 105 members, the church is thriving in missions and ministries.

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