2016 was another busy and productive year for Interim Ministry Partners. We continue to be amazed how God is opening doors for our ministry and how many churches are looking for help as they make significant transitions.
Together in 2016, IMP partners and associates served 14 churches in a “full service” capacity (i.e., being with a church three-out-of-four weekends a month), and a dozen more congregations in some other capacity. Those congregations were located all over the United States: California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.
In working with these churches, it has been our privilege to partner with shepherds who love their people, members who make incredible sacrifices of time and treasure to serve their congregations, and ministers who preaching and pastoring at the highest levels of competence and character. When you work with such great people, it’s hard not to have a great year! We’ve witnessed leaders develop, congregations rediscover mission and purpose, morale improve, energy and enthusiasm increase, and congregational health blossom. And we’ve arranged some great “fits” between churches searching for pulpit leadership and ministers looking for fresh opportunities to serve.
We keep growing the number of people who represent IMP because the demand keeps increasing. At the beginning of 2016, there were nine of us: Greg Anderson, Bruce Black, Mark Frost, Grady King, Doug Peters, Rubel Shelly, Bret Testerman, Phil Ware, and Tim Woodroof. This year, we added three more people to the mix and are delighted to welcome John Siburt, Randy Daugherty, and Rob McRay to the team.
So, for a great 2016, we want to thank:
- God for granting us the grace of serving his people
- church leaders for their invitation to walk in partnership during transition seasons
- the churches who have embraced us with such warmth and enthusiasm
- Hope Network and its board for their unstinting help and encouragement (IMP functions as a division of Hope Network and is accountable to the board)
- the deepening partnership we enjoy with others who share our interest in serving churches (e.g., the Siburt Institute and Mission Resource Network)
- the donors who have seen the promise of our work and supported our ministry financially
- the many people who have prayed for us, our spiritual and physical health, our families, the effectiveness of our ministry, and the churches we have served
We anticipate that 2017 will continue the trend of increasing demand and growing opportunities for IMP to work with churches in transition. Churches persist in demonstrating interest in our services. All of IMP’s partners and associates are presently booked through the spring—we can’t say “Yes” to a church until sometime in early summer! We are hoping to add another two associates this spring to keep up with the number of churches requesting help. As we grow, learn, and become more experienced, we are fine-tuning the processes we use with churches, the tools we employ, and the resources we recommend.
Finally, the experiences of this past year have deepened our commitment to an idea expressed by the “tag” we use for Interim Ministry Partners: “From Transition to Transformation.” Never have we been so convicted of the power and opportunity of transition done well. Never have we felt more convinced that God has equipped us to help churches find new life and health and purpose. And never have we been more encouraged by the number of churches and church leaders who “get it” that, in times of transition, God partners closely with his people to create a fresh and more effective future.