Interim Ministry Partners (IMP) believe that an effective transition ministry is rooted in good theology, careful process, and healthy teaching.
Though some of our materials are proprietary (e.g., details/documents/committee functions related to our Search Process) and available only to congregations that have contracted to work with us, there are other materials we hope will be a blessing to a wider section of the church and that we want to make available generally. Here you will find series of articles that will help you think through (for instance) the development of a mission statement … or the implications of God’s “call” on the life of a minister and a church.
We hope these resources will be a blessing to you and your congregation. Your comments and feedback are appreciated.
That period between the loss of one pulpit minister and the hiring of another is fraught with both danger and possibilities for the local congregation. It is a time when the church can feel rudderless and without direction. It is a time when factions can arise and wrestle for control. It is a time when churches question who they are and where they want to go. At no other time in a church’s life is leadership so important.
The search for and selection of a new pulpit or senior minister is one of the most critical “tipping points” in the life of the local church. Done poorly, the process can discourage a church and make it vulnerable to an unscrupulous minister’s predations or an ill-equipped minister’s incompetence. It can be a choice the church regrets for years.
Developing a Mission Statement
It has become popular of late for churches to develop “mission statements” that attempt to define the character of the church and identify its essential business … some pithy declaration that can be used on websites and letterhead and as a teaching tool to focus a particular congregation on a particular task.
A Theology of Calling
I think constantly about leadership in our congregations … the difficulties and challenges of it … the structures and models that organize it … the ideas and attitudes we have about it. I know you think about such matters as well. It is, for all of us who care about the church, a matter close to our hearts.
A Theology of Governance
For the past several years, ministers have been walking away from pulpits at an alarming rate. Not just any ministers … some of the most seasoned, trained, experienced and competent among us; an entire generation of men who were speaking at lectureships, writing books, and preaching at the largest congregations of Churches of Christ in the country; well-known and influential preachers in our brotherhood.
Church leaders delude themselves if they believe their churches are immune to such forces. Stability in the past is no guarantee of stability in the future. The future is ripe with looming crises. A traumatic and church-threatening event may not occur in your congregation tomorrow or next week. But it will occur eventually . . . in every church . . . and it can happen at any time.
However, it is not this potential for crisis that most threatens the health of churches. It is, rather, how crisis is handled. Certainly, handling the crisis itself—circumstances and consequences and communication—is a primary leadership task when churches are threatened. But it is also critical (and equally important) for leaders to handle anxious members.