Working Agreement Between Interim Ministry Partners and Your Church

Interim Ministry Partners (hereafter “IMP”), represented by a member of the IMP team (hereafter “Representative”), and the designated leaders of your church (e.g., elders, staff, and/or leadership committee – hereafter “Leaders”) have agreed to enter into a short-term partnership (i.e., an “Interim Ministry”) for the purpose of strengthening/encouraging the church, charting directions for the future, and finding the new minister God is calling to serve the church.

 

IMP’s Commitments

In this time of transition to a new minister, IMP has agreed to provide services associated with an “interim ministry” for your church. IMP will assign a Representative (identified below) who will serve as interim minister for your church during the period covered by this agreement (see next section). The duties of an interim minister are to include: 1) preaching and teaching, 2) providing competent consultation for the leaders of the church, and 3) monitoring/leading the search process for a new minister.

Time Frame

  1. Throughout the period of our work together, we will commit to and schedule for one quarter at a time, allowing your church flexibility in assessing the adequacy of services you are receiving while also permitting the Representative to commit specific weekends to you on his own calendar.
  2. This agreement covers the time frame specified in the document “Schedule for Next Quarter” (and any extensions to this initial period agreed to by IMP and the church).
  3. The IMP Representative will be present with your church every weekend his calendar allows and the church requires during the period of this agreement.  The specific dates/weekends committed to during this period are specified in “Schedule for Next Quarter.”
  4. “Weekend” should be understood to include flying (or driving) in on a Saturday morning, working with various elements of the church on Saturday afternoon and evening, teaching and preaching on Sunday, and any early afternoon meetings that can be arranged before the Representative flies or drives out Sunday afternoon. (Special arrangements must be made separately to accommodate special needs—i.e., a Saturday morning or a Sunday night meeting.)
  5. Extending our agreement beyond the dates specified in the “Schedule for Next Quarter” will depend on your church’s need and our mutual evaluation of the adequacy of the services you are receiving from IMP.  Your Representative will make himself available to your congregation for as long as his services are requested. As stated above, we will evaluate the need for extensions of this agreement on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

Responsibilities of the IMP Representative

  1. On the weekends the Representative is scheduled to be at your church, he agrees to preach for the Sunday assembly and teach class (if desired). He understands that one of his prime responsibilities is to provide a consistent pulpit presence that offers a coherent and motivational teaching agenda. The Representative will also work with one or two members of your congregation (to be designated by the Leaders and gifted in preaching/teaching) to extend this “consistent pulpit presence” to those weekends when the Representative cannot be present.
  2. The Representative understands that a second important responsibility is to serve in a consulting capacity with the shepherds, staff, and various ministries (as needed and as time permits). This would involve helping your church’s leadership to evaluate the congregation’s current health, challenges, and opportunities and then make recommendations for moving forward into a functioning and effective future.
  3. The third principle responsibility of the Representative involves the congregation’s search for a new minister. He will: outline a search process; help build related committees and calendars; recommend suitable candidates; and work closely with the search committee as it evaluates candidates, communicates with the congregation, and makes recommendations to the Leaders.

Additional Commitments

  1. The Representative will show up on time and be prepared for scheduled meetings. In case of emergencies (flight cancellation, illness, etc.), the Representative will make timely alternative arrangements that attempt to accommodate everyone’s schedules.
  2. The Representative will expect to lead meetings with the Leaders: setting the agenda (with Leaders’ significant input), determining the flow of conversations, and accepting or assigning tasks that are agreed to be necessary to furthering the Committee’s work.
  3. The Representative will ensure that a written summary of significant meetings is provided, highlighting decisions and conclusions, and listing action items/assignments made.
  4. The Representative will assign “homework” for the Leaders to accomplish between visits as needed: e.g., books to read, conversations to hold, people to touch base with, decisions to make.
  5. The Representative will work with the Search Committee and its chair person. He will have regular (weekly?) contact with the Committee chair and with the Committee: mentoring the committee chair person, building meeting agendas, providing training and coaching, monitoring the flow of conversations, and accepting or assigning tasks that are agreed to be necessary to furthering our work together.
  6. The Representative will expect to devote time while not physically present at your church for work related to: 1) preparing for visits; 2) summarizing and building on conclusions/plans arising from visits; and 3) developing and implementing any “action items” that emerge from this process.
  7. The Representative will be fully transparent regarding fees, expenses, and additional costs associated with our consulting relationship. The basic rule regarding finances is “no surprises.”
  8. At the Leaders’ request, the Representative may lead seminars and/or retreats for your church, or contract other work on behalf of the Leaders of the church, the costs for which are outlined in our Rate Sheet which can found at https://interimministrypartners.com/rate-sheet-for-services/.
  9. The Representative will commit to working hard on behalf of your church and giving his best efforts to our success. However, the Representative will make a distinction between work that is necessary to help your church reach its goals and work that involves reaching those goals for the church. As a consultant, the Representative’s prime responsibility is to help the church do its necessary work, not do that work himself.
  10. Interim Ministry Partners and the IMP Representative make no guarantees or promises that your church will be able to find and hire a minister as a result of this relationship. We have never failed to place a minister at any of the churches we’ve served, but availability and placement of ministers is always determined by the circumstances and conditions of each church.

Logistics

  1. The Representative will be responsible for all arrangements (travel, lodging, etc.) necessary for his involvement with your congregation. In doing so, he will keep costs and economy very much in mind.
  2. The Representative will make himself available through the week for contact (via e-mail and telephone) by whomever your church’s Leadership designates as their “point person” and to the Search Committee’s chair person.
  3. The Representative will devote time and effort at helping members of the search committee become proficient with the digital tools they will require to accomplish their work. (e.g., Trello, Zoom, SurveyMonkey, etc.)

 

Your Church’s Commitment

For their part, the Leaders of your church agree to work with the IMP Representative as their interim minister and church consultant by taking on the following responsibilities:

Responsibilities

  1. The Leaders of your congregation will commit their personal time and energies to listening, learning, evaluating, developing, and planning. This includes attendance at meetings and activities scheduled for the weekends the Representative is visiting; reading suggested materials; accomplishing recommended tasks; and otherwise making themselves available to support and encourage this interim work.
  2. Leaders will devote church time and resources to this effort: planning the church’s calendar around related initiatives; making time during class and assemblies for announcements, teaching, and special events; providing access for communicating with the congregation through bulletin, mailings, website, visits; advertising in the community; etc.
  3. Leaders will work closely with the Representative in developing a plan for addressing your church’s challenges and then commit themselves to working that plan to its conclusion.
  4. Church leaders will work closely with the Representative to identify, invite, and charge the people who will serve on the church’s search committee.
  5. Leaders will recognize that your church is entering into this relationship with the IMP Representative because of his training, experience, and skills. His role is to help your church accomplish its work and search for a new pulpit minister in a more effective and systematic manner, not perform that work himself.
  6. Leaders will designate one of their number as a “Point Person” who is responsible for managing communications between the Representative and your Leaders so that long-distant contact with the Representative can be as efficient and coordinated as possible. (We highly recommend this person be the “elder liaison” who functions both as an elder and as a part of the Search Committee.) This will lessen the possibility of confusion and protect the Representative’s time when away from your congregation and needing to focus on other projects. (Fill in “Point Person” box below.)
  7. Additionally, Leaders will designate a preaching and teaching partner who will be responsible for preaching/teaching during those weekends the Representative’s schedule will not allow him to be at your church. (Fill in “Preaching Partner” and “Teaching Partner” boxes below.)
  8. Leaders agree to encourage, exhort, and expect the congregation to be prayerful about this interim process, to be positive and encouraging about it, and to use their gifts and talents to support it.
  9. At no time during the period of this agreement will the leaders of your church hire, confer with, or ask advice from any other church consultant without the specific and express consent of the Representative.

Travel Logistics and Expenses

Travel and logistics are important parts of an interim ministry. Because IMP members travel frequently, certain accommodations and understandings help them travel reliably and comfortably.

  1. Unless your church and the IMP Representative are close enough geographically to permit driving, the Representative will fly into the nearest airport, keeping flight expenses as minimal as possible. Your church will be responsible for covering these expenses.
  2. The Representative will rent a car at the airport for use during his weekends with your church. The church will be responsible for covering this expense.
  3. The Representative will book an appropriate and reasonably priced hotel when overnight stays are required. This will be considered an “expense” your church agrees to cover.
  4. Should meals be involved in meeting obligations under this agreement, these will be considered “expenses” your church agrees to cover. The Representative will be economical with meal choices.
  5. The Representative will be responsible for all travel arrangements (flights, lodging, scheduling, etc.) required by participation in this agreement.
  6. The Representative will meet with your church’s chosen Point Person to go over travel expenses, arrangements, and logistics—if and as the Leaders feel the need to request such meetings. He will also (at the request of the Leaders) provide copies of receipts.
  7. All invoicing, billing, and reimbursement will be done through Hope Network Ministries (our parent company, whose Board and operations management oversee our work) and not with the Representative personally. To that end, the Leaders will designate and authorize a “Finance Person” to work with an IMP/Hope Network Ministries representative to reimburse expenses and compensate the Representative for his work. (Fill in “Finance Person” box below.)
  8. An outline of IMP’s services and costs can be found at https://interimministrypartners.com/rate-sheet-for-services/.

Technology

We live in a technologically rich world. The astute church builds on this advantage by using state-of-the-art tools to accomplish its work and keep everything well-ordered. The IMP process depends heavily on these tools to keep the churches they work with organized, to help them communicate effectively, and to manage the many details of a search process.

The Leaders of your church agree to the following in order to permit the use of technology during the period of its relationship with IMP:

  1. Identify and place on the Search Committee a member of your congregation who is technologically adept and can support the Committee’s (and Leaders’) work when technological assistance is required. (Fill in “Technology Person” box below.)
  2. Develop the technology infrastructure required (e.g., reliable broad-band internet access at the church building, video-conferencing set-up)
  3. Pay a quarterly “tech fee” to IMP in the amount of $250.
    • This fee gives your church access to tools such as Trello (project management software), SurveyMonkey (on-line survey and assessment tools), and Zoom (multi-node video-conferencing).
    • These costs help defray expenses incurred by IMP in order to provide, manage, and customize technological solutions during the period of its work with your church.
    • These costs also provide a level of initial “tech support” that ensures your Search Committee and Leaders gain access to required tools, is set up (with associated projects, task lists, and documentation), and provided personalized orientation to the tools and their use.
    • This fee will be payable at the signing of the present working agreement (and each subsequent quarterly extension of this agreement).

Scheduling

Because of the nature of the Representative’s work, scheduling is extremely important to the viability of his consulting and interim ministry. The Representative and your church’s Leaders will carefully and diligently plan for the calendar commitments they make to each other and respect those commitments once made.

  1. The Representative and the Leaders will specify the term of this initial agreement (e.g., Fourth Quarter: October-December, 2019) and designate the particular dates that will be committed (e.g., October 6/7, 13/14, 20/21). All weekends committed to each other during the initial period of this agreement will be specified in the online form found at http://interimministrypartners.com/schedule/.
  2. Recognize that IMP undertakes this agreement for one quarter at a time. (See “Extensions of this Agreement” below.) The Leaders and the IMP Representative will be responsible to renegotiate this schedule each quarter.
  3. Once those weekends have been reserved, the Representative agrees not to book other appointments/engagements that would interfere with his ability to be with your church on the weekends he has committed. A rare exception may arise (e.g., a family emergency, another church in immediate crisis), but the Representative agrees to contact the Leaders of your church in a timely fashion to negotiate with them for a change in schedule and to release your church from financial obligations for that weekend.
  4. In similar fashion, once those weekends have been reserved, your church agrees to honor those committed weekends and meet their financial responsibilities to the Representative. In the event that some prior commitment on the church calendar was overlooked in the planning process or some last minute change to the church calendar is made such that the Representative’s presence is not required at your church for a particular Sunday, your church is responsible for negotiating a different weekend with the Representative if possible, and, if not, paying the Representative’s fee for that weekend and covering whatever travel expenses might already have been incurred.
  5. Because of the vicissitudes of modern travel (weather-related delays, mechanical delays, cancelled flights), both the Representative and the Leaders of your church will need to demonstrate mutual trust and grace in the event that some problem arises that threatens the Representative’s ability to be present on a given weekend or delays his travel home. For his part, the Representative agrees to do all he can to arrive in time to meet his obligations for the weekend (e.g., planning flight connections carefully, finding alternative means of transportation when necessary). Your church agrees to rearrange appointment schedules if the Representative is delayed or make alternative arrangements for speakers/teachers if he cannot arrive at all. Should a weekend be missed for such reasons, the Representative will forego his fee for the weekend and will negotiate with the airlines for a refund on the ticket. However, in the event the airline does not agree to a refund, your church will be responsible for covering any change fees involved.

Extensions of this Agreement

  1.  The Representative and the Leaders will plan out their continuing relationship on the basis of quarterly (three month) blocks of time (i.e., Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, July-Sep, Oct-Dec).
  2. Decisions about extending the Representative’s relationship with your church for the following quarter will be made at least six weeks prior to the beginning of that quarter (e.g., by Feb 15 for the Apr-Jun quarter).
  3. When the decision is made to extend the relationship for another quarter, the Representative and your church’s Point Person will meet to compare calendars, note prior commitments, and agree to the weekends to be reserved in order to continue this working agreement.
  4. An extension of this agreement, specifying and reserving the dates for the new quarter, will be completed and signed online by IMP and the Leadership Point Person by using IMP’s online Quarterly Scheduling Form found at http://interimministrypartners.com/schedule/.

Follow-Up

  1. The Leaders agree to a final assessment (the Congregational Health Assessment—provided by the Sibert Institute of Abilene Christian University) to help formulate mission-critical tasks for the first year of the new minister’s tenure. These “tasks” should be understood as responsibilities shared between the minister, Leaders, and congregation as a whole. Your IMP Representative will spend one of his final weekends with you summarizing the findings of this assessment and helping you formulate goals and areas for attention as you move forward. The cost of this assessment is $295 and will be billed to the church at the time the assessment is done.
  2. The Leaders, committee members, and new minister agree to honestly evaluate the work of IMP with their church. This evaluation will be provided by IMP and used for purposes of gauging their impact on the church and identifying ways in which our services can be improved.
  3. The Leaders understand that effective follow-up when a minister is employed is crucial to the long-term success of the church/Leaders/minister relationship. To that end, the Leaders agree to:
    • Provide a mentor/coach for their new minister on a monthly basis for the first year of his tenure. IMP will work with your church to identify an appropriate mentor/coach. The church should plan on twelve hourly sessions at $150 per hour. (Inquire about scholarships.)
    • Consider a similar arrangement for mentoring/coaching the church’s leadership. Again, IMP will work with you in making these arrangements. However, this service will be provided only at the Leaders’ instigation and agreement.
    • Quarterly follow-up visits over the first year with the IMP Representative to talk about the church/Leaders/minister relationship and trouble-shoot any difficulties that arise. In addition, these visits will address and recommend an “evaluation process” whereby both the minister and the Leaders are mutually accountable to each other. These “visits” can happen via video conference, although we would recommend at least one be an “on the ground” visit by your IMP Representative.

 

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*A copy of this contract will be sent to the Church’s Point Person via email within 72 hours of the contract being signed/submitted.