We’ll call him Pastor Tom, but that’s not his real name. His story is true, however. Pastor Tom had been trained to serve as an Intentional Interim Pastor. One call had been to a church that had experienced significant conflict prior to his ministry there. The conflict had been so bad that the Circuit Counselor had attended a meeting, gotten embroiled in the conflict, and actually yelled at the people. He had even used some less-than-pastorally-kind language in the process! The church desperately needed healing and a different congregational heart. When he came, he asked, How serious are you about God’s kingdom? He even made a visual aid: a poster that read: HSAYAGK? His work there was not all smooth sailing, but when the new pastor arrived some 14 months later much of the discord had settled. The new pastor enjoyed the opportunity to build on the work Pastor Tom had done.

In another case, a long-time pastor had retired after many years at his church. The church called the associate pastor to serve as the next senior pastor. Sadly, however, the former associate pastor became an unintentional interim pastor. In other words, conflict surfaced. A perfect storm of situations beyond anyone’s control descended upon that congregation. The former associate was soon called to a new congregation where he is happily serving. The congregation determined to engage an intentional interim pastor who was able to help them make the transition to a new chapter of ministry.
Intentional Interim Pastors are specially trained to help congregations in specific ways. They are especially suited to help in the case of…

1. A pastor’s departure after a long tenure.

2. A multiple-staff parish that loses its head pastor.

3. A congregation in a conflicted situation.

4. After situations of clergy misconduct.

5. Congregations that choose to use this as a time for renewal.

The supply of Intentional Interim Pastors is quite limited, and the demand seems to be growing. Perhaps you would consider this important ministry. Training is available and vitally important for those who serve. I’d be happy to help you explore this possibility – as one who would serve as an IIP, or to help your congregation discern if it would be appropriate and helpful for you. That’s part of my responsibility as a Texas District Congregation Support Specialist.

Intentionally Living as a Disciple of Jesus,
Rev. David Bahn, D. Min.
Texas District Congregation Support Specialist