When a church loses a pulpit minister, one of the most pressings concerns of church leaders during the “meantime” is to provide biblically encouraging and missionally focused congregational preaching along with providing congregational worship of consistent quality. Although other needs are also urgent – like finding the next preacher and addressing wider questions regarding congregational health and direction – the need to fill the pulpit on a weekly basis with encouraging, motivating, and nutritious sermons is a top priority.
Churches often turn to their own members to fill this need. Yet the experience of many congregations who do this is underwhelming. Having members who are willing to preach is not the same as having members who are gifted to preach. The inconsistency of quality and content from week-to-week is often disconcerting for church members. And the realities of scheduling, planning, and participating in a preaching rotation soon wear on leaders who are already stretched-to-the-breaking-point in their attempts to address other responsibilities left vacant by a minister’s departure.
That’s where Interim Ministry Partners can help. You may not be ready – you may not have the time or resources — to take advantage of the full range of our services. Your immediate and pressing concerns might be limited to providing a consistent pulpit presence for your congregation in the “meantime.” Because of our gifts, training, and experience, one of our partners can work with your church to…
- Provide proven messages by a proven communicator on a consistent basis.
- Cover three or four weekends a month of the preaching – for a minimum of three months – with visits by that partner for the purpose of preaching and also possibly teaching.
- Present messages that will raise congregational morale and ensure the vital work of gospel proclamation continues.
- Address specific themes – the importance of vision, the “call” of God in the life of a congregation and a minister, an affirmation of the core gospel – to prepare the church to receive a new minister and experience a healthy season of ministry in the future.
- Allow elders and other key leaders to focus on the pastoral needs of the congregation and focus on the search for the preaching minister.
What does a “Consistent Pulpit” relationship with Interim Ministry Partners look like?
- An initial weekend visit by a Partner to work with elders/leaders, get to know the congregation’s history and needs, set a preaching calendar, and identify key themes that should be addressed from the pulpit.
- Weekly visits by the Partner to preach and teach for the congregation.
- Weekly planning by the Partner and your worship leader to design inspiring assemblies.
- Mentoring a “preaching partner” from the congregation to cover weekends when the partner cannot be present and to ensure continuity of theme and content.
- Minimum three month commitment. (We believe that only a consistent presence over an extended period actually helps a church during seasons of transition). The church can extend this commitment depending on its needs and the Partner’s availability.
Pros and Cons of the Consistent Pulpit Relationship
- Very focused on providing high quality teaching and preaching in the interim.
- Puts a gifted and experienced person in your pulpit on a regular and frequent basis.
- Allows someone who understands churches in transition to address some of the delicate and challenging issues involved with the interim period.
- Calms much of the fear and agitation members experience at the loss of a pulpit minister and during the interim period.
- Helps develop preaching and teaching talent in a member of your congregation without wearing out the leadership.
- Takes much of the Sunday morning planning, scheduling, and leadership off of already-burdened church leaders.
- Allows elders and other key leaders to focus on pastoral care and minister search
- Does not provide the consulting services needed by many churches in transition to address issues of congregational health and growth.
- Does not provide the coaching the search process and leadership often needed in finding a new minister.
- Does not provide the coaching that a search process and leadership often need in finding a new minister without seeking other consulting services.