A Tipping Point
The greatest opportunity to take a church to a new level is during a pastoral transition.
Yes, the pastoral transition is a tipping point that can move your church into greater health and effective ministry.
A skilled interim pastor can bring strength and guidance to a church, especially one that is plateaued or declining. He can help tip the church in the right direction.
From the website of the Baptist General Convention of Texas we read:
Most churches view the time between the resignation of one pastor and the call of another as unproductive, fallow time. Some feel it is wasted time. Others fear the congregation will lose members or dollars. Still others are in a rush to call a new pastor as quickly as possible so that things can return to normal. Significant studies of hundreds of interim congregations over the past twenty years are now showing that the interim between pastors can be an important time in congregational life.
R. Neil Chafin, an experienced consultant to congregations, affirms the importance of the interim season when he writes, ‘The way a congregation chooses to use its interim time will shape congregational growth, identity, and health for years to come. We also know that what is done in the interim time really determines whether the new minister and congregation will form a solid ministry team.’
Yet, many churches miss this golden opportunity by:
1. Going into a holding pattern and becoming lax in ministry
2. Dividing into factions: Power vacuums leads to power struggles
3. Rebounding and call a new pastor as soon as possible
4. Seeing it as a time to save money - get pulpit supply - cut corners - cut back
5. Failing to follow up and assimilate visitors
6. Failing to maintain ministry to a hurting congregation
Every church would be wise to use the interim period as effectively as possible. A reasonably healthy church might assume it can bypass this experience. However, the “healthy church” will find that an interim period, used wisely, will produce positive benefits. An interim pastor, as an onsite Church Health Consultant, can assist the church in this process.