Search Consulting 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 (hereafter “Leaders”) have agreed to enter into a short-term partnership (i.e., a “Search Consulting Relationship”) for the purpose of strengthening/encouraging the church 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 a “Search Consulting Relationship” for your church. IMP will assign a representative (identified below), who will serve as the search consultant for your church during the period of this agreement. The duties of a search consultant include: 1) preaching and teaching for the church once a month (or as agreed to in “Schedule for Next Quarter”—see below), 2) monitoring/guiding the search process for a new minister, and 3) providing competent coaching for the search committee on a regular basis (via video conferencing). To the degree possible, your Representative will also work with church leaders to address a limited number of church and leadership concerns.

Time Frame

  1. This agreement covers the time frame and weekends specified in the document “Schedule for Next Quarter” (and any extensions to this initial period agreed to by IMP and the Church). [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. The IMP Representative will be present with your church once a month (or as agreed to in “Schedule for Next Quarter”) during the period of this agreement. (See “Scheduling” section below.) The specific dates/weekends committed to during this period are specified in “Schedule for Next Quarter.”
  3. “Weekend” should be understood to include flying (or driving) in on a Saturday (as early as flight schedules make possible), 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.)
  4. Extending our agreement beyond the dates specified in this agreement will depend on the church’s need and the Representative’s availability. 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). The Representative will also work with one or two members of your congregation (to be designated by the shepherds and who are gifted in preaching/teaching) to ensure a “consistent pulpit presence” even when the Representative cannot be physically present.
  2. The Representative understands that his primary responsibility involves the congregation’s search for a new senior minister. He will specify the search process to follow; help build related committees and calendars; recommend suitable candidates; and work closely with the search committee as they evaluate candidates, communicate with the congregation, and make recommendations to the elders.
  3. When not physically present with the congregation, the Representative will expect to visit with the Search Committee chair and the committee itself via video conferencing on a regular (weekly?) basis, as his availability and the committee’s need determines. It will be important—in this regard—that the Search Committee schedule its meetings with the Representative’s availability in mind.
  4. An additional responsibility of the Representative is to serve in a consulting capacity with the leadership of your church. Obviously, the Representative’s time “on the ground” being so limited, there are boundaries to the length and frequency of such conversations. The Representative will make himself available during the week (via video conferencing and at additional cost) at the initiation and request of the church’s leadership. (See costs of video conferencing in “IMP Rate Sheet.”)

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’s primary work will be 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.
  3. 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 arising from visits; 3) developing and implementing any “action items” that emerge from this process, and 4) providing regular coaching for the search committee.
  4. The Representative will be fully transparent regarding fees, expenses, and additional costs associated with our consulting relationship. The basic rule re: finances is “no surprises.”
  5. At the shepherds’ request, the Representative may lead seminars and/or retreats for your church, or contract other work on behalf of the leadership of the church, the costs and timing for which are outlined in “IMP Rate Sheet.”
  6. The Representative will commit to working hard on behalf of your church and giving his best efforts to your success. However, the Representative will make a distinction between work that is necessary to help the church reach its goals and work that involves reaching those goals for the churchAs a consultant, the Representative’s prime responsibility is to help the church do its necessary work, not do that work himself.
  7. Interim Ministry Partners and the IMP Representative make no warranties 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.


  1. The Representative will be responsible for all arrangements (travel, lodging, etc.) necessary for his involvement in this agreement. 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) with whomever your church’s leadership and search committee designate as their “point 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 search consultant by taking on the following responsibilities:


  1. The leaders and staff of your church 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 search consulting work.
  2. Leaders and staff 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. Church leaders will work closely with the Representative to identify, invite, and charge the people who will serve on the church’s search committee.
  4. Leaders and staff will recognize that your church is entering into this relationship with the Representative because of his training, experience, and skills. His role is to help your church accomplish its search for a new pulpit minister in a more effective and Christ-like manner, not perform the work himself.
  5. Leaders and staff will designate one of their number as a “point person” who is responsible for managing communications between the Representative and your church/committee 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 church and needing to focus on other projects. (Fill in “Point Person” box below.)
  6. Additionally, Leaders and staff 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.)
  7. Leaders and staff agree to encourage, exhort, and expect the congregation to be prayerful about this search process, to be positive and encouraging about it, and to use their gifts and talents to support it.
  8. 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.


  1. Church 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 church understands 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 church agrees 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.
    • 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 with the IMP Representative to talk about the church/leaders/minister relationship and trouble-shoot any difficulties that arise in the first year. 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.

Travel Logistics and Expenses

Travel and logistics are important parts of search consultation. 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 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 representative to go over travel expenses, arrangements, and logistics—if and as your church’s leaders feel the need to request such meetings. He will also (at the request of the church) 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 church’s 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 is covered in the IMP Rate Sheet.

Technology Costs

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 churches organized, to help churches communicate, 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. Develop the technology infrastructure required (e.g., reliable broad-band internet access at the church building, video-conferencing set-up)
  2. 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 gains 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).


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., Oct 6/7, Nov 3/4, Dec 1/2). All weekends committed during the initial period of this agreement will be specified in the document “Scheduling for Next Quarter” and attached to the present working agreement.
  2. 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, a 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.
  3. 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 still responsible for paying the Representative’s fee for that weekend and covering whatever travel expenses might already have been incurred.
  4. 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 the cost of the ticket.

  Extensions of this Agreement

  1. The Representative and your church’s 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 representative 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 signed by IMP and the leaders of your church in a subsequent “Schedule for Next Quarter.”
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*A copy of this contract will be sent to the Church’s Point Person and the Church Leadership Representative via email within 72 hours of the contract being signed/submitted.