"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." Neil Chafin

Interim Ministry for Today’s Church

This course prepares a person to be better able to serve as an interim pastor. The goals of the course are for a participant to be able to:

  • Develop a covenant with a congregation that clearly describes the responsibilities of the interim pastor and the congregation.
  • Enter a congregation in order to join quickly with the church and its ministry.
  • Study the health of a congregation and determine what assistance the church needs.
  • Articulate the ethics of the interim pastor's involvement in planning for the church's future, including appropriate contact with the pastoral search committee.
  • Prepare the church for the coming of a new pastor.
  • Exit a congregation in a way to provide good closure for ministry and the opening of a new chapter in the church's life.

This course is designed to meet the needs of interim pastors. For pastors who desire advanced training in interim ministry, this course qualifies as 15 of the 60 hours required for training as an Intentional Interim Minister.


Intentional Interim Ministry Training

Some congregations decide that they will use the interim time in a deliberate way to deal with issues or challenges that face the church. Intentional Interim Ministry is a process originally outlined by the Alban Institute that churches can use to give structure to the interim experience. Some of the issues that motivate churches to use Intentional Interim Ministry include:

  • The departure of a beloved pastor who served for many years.
  • Challenges presented to the church by changes in the church community or membership.
  • A loss of direction or meaning that is identified by the lay leaders.
  • Misbehaviour by a former pastor.
  • Destructive conflict in the church or its staff.

The training for Intentional Interim Ministry is designed on the following assumptions:

  • Participants in this course have experience in serving as pastor of a congregation and have essential skills in preaching, leading, teaching, counselling and administering as is appropriate to one or more styles and sizes of congregations.
  • Participants have completed Interim Ministry in Today's Church and sense the call of God to work with congregations in the interim that want to use the time productively.
  • The church has an identity and mission that is distinct from and related to the identity of the pastor.

The goal of Intentional Interim Ministry Training is to equip a pastor to lead a congregation through the Intentional Interim Ministry process.


Session 1: Leading Teams to Work Together and Skills for Facilitating the Developmental Tasks of an Interim Congregation

This 5-day course concentrates on how to form and develop a transition team and to equip the team to facilitate the congregation's work on the developmental tasks. The transition team is a group of church members who are chosen by the congregation as trusted persons to lead the interim process. The interim pastor is very important to the formation and orientation of the team. As the team develops, it becomes responsible for the intentional interim process of the church. The team works with the developmental tasks and determines the best ways to engage the congregation.


During Session 1, the fieldwork requirements will be explained. Each participant will determine how to apply some of the learning from Session 1 in ministry with a congregation. Participants will be required to develop a covenant with a church which will benefit the congregation and allow the participant to utilise something from the training. The results of this work will be reported in writing and in the Session 2 event.

Session 2: Further Input and Learning from Experience

The final element in the session training programme is this 3-day event. People attending this event will have completed all the other courses and related fieldwork. The goal of the 3 days is to pull together theoretical learning from the other courses with the practical learning from serving with interim congregations. At the end of this course, the participant will have completed more than 60 hours of training in interim ministry. This will equip a person to take a church through an Intentional Interim Ministry which, when successfully completed, will lead to accreditation as an Intentional Interim Minister.