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Who would want to be an Interim Minister?

Who would be an ideal Interim Minister?Here are brief profiles of at least seven candidates to be Interim Ministers.

Quick starter An Interim Minister must hit the ground running, not enjoying the luxury of building long-term relationships. Some clergy are just naturally attuned to a sense of urgency in addressing the concerns of the congregation.

Problem solver Pastors with an analytical bent who question and probe and research their new situation frequently discover a roadblock previously overlooked. Then new directions for the church can be proposed.

Non-itinerant Some pastors, particularly those in large urban settings, are very reluctant to move into unknown territory. If there are 50 or more churches within 50 miles of one’s home, a lifetime could be spent as an interim pastor with no residential moves.

Half-year worker Many pastors consider working part time in retirement. An interim pastor, available to serve mid-year openings until Annual Conference, might work full time for three to six months year after year.

Two-career family Relocation is increasingly difficult for two-career families. If the clergy member of such a family were willing to serve only part of the year or would accept interim appointments of one or two years duration relocation could be avoided.

Financially set By inheritance, saving, or multiple incomes some clergy can afford to be more concerned about where and how they serve than the income from their churches. Interim ministry could provide challenging opportunities and great service to the church.

Early retiree Retirement is an attractive option to families tired of moving. That new retirement home can be the center for a radius of interim ministry opportunities where experience gained through years of service could be priceless in needy situations.

Take a moment to name one or more pastors whom you know who would fit each of these profiles.

In United Methodist polity there is no way one hangs out the shingle to be an Interim Minister. Only bishops and cabinets can identify, recommend, and appoint one as an Interim Minister. So it follows that bishops and cabinets are the ones to recruit clergy for this specialized service.

The place to train clergy for the specialized ministry of Interim Ministry is at or through the Intentional Growth Center (IGC) at Lake Junaluska. Each year IGC offers Interim Ministry Training Seminars (IMTS) for the equipping and training of these “transition specialists.” Each IMTS is a three-phase experience beginning with a three-or-four-day introduction to the theory and tools of Interim Ministry, then a six-months mentored experience testing the use of these tools in one’s home parish, and finally gathering again for a three-day time of integrating theory and experience.

Three or four such Seminars are offered by IGC each year, some at Lake Junaluska, the others in various Annual Conference centers. For more detailed information about scheduling an IMTS Seminar or to register for an upcoming Seminar contact Dr. Kenneth Lambert, Coordinator of Intentional Interim Ministry Training at the Intentional Growth Center, or 800-482-1442.

The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2004. Paragraph 338.3

Interim appointments may be made to charges that have special transitional needs.

a. Interim clergy may serve outside the annual conference where membership is held under the provision of paragraph 337.1, with approval and consent of the bishops involved.

b. Interim appointments will be for a specified length of time, established in advance following consultation with the district superintendent, the pastor-parish relations committee, and the interim pastor.

This article is reproduced with permission from the Intentional Growth Center. The Intentional Growth Center has a 28 year history of providing continuing education experiences in the work of ministry for both lay and clergy leaders of the Church. Its founders chartered IGC to be both ecumenical and national in its focus. IGC is located at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina but conducts training events throughout the nation.

To learn more about Interim Ministry Training Seminars or for further information about Interim Ministry in general, contact Rev. Dr. Jan Hill, Coordinator for Intentional Interim Ministry Training at the Intentional Growth Center at or call 800-482-1442.