The understanding of Interim Ministry has changed greatly over the past few decades.
Older View of Interim Ministry -- Filling a Gap. In an older view, the Interim Pastor is merely a caretaker.-- someone who provides necessary pastoral coverage for a congregation which is temporarily without a pastor. The purpose is to fill a gap.
Newer View of Interim Ministry -- Interim Period as a Positive Opportunity. A newer view, based on research from the past few decades, sees the Interim Period as a very challenging and productive period of time in the life of a congregation. It is a time when the congregation has the opportunity to re-evaluate who it is. Typical questions to be asked are, "What is God calling this congregation to be and to do?" and "What does the congregation need to do to prepare itself for its next pastor?"
Advantage of Interim Pastor with Specialized Training. During this challenging period, the congregation can benefit from the assistance of a pastor with specialized training. A pastor with this specialized training is called an "Intentional Interim Pastor."
Intentional Interim Ministry is distinguished from other interim ministry primarily because it is intentional. Intentional Interim Ministry sees the interim period as a unique opportunity for the congregation to determine who it is and what its mission is. An Intentional Interim Pastor can lead a congregation through a carefully thought-out process that helps the congregation to determine its own mission and identity. This process is designed to lead to the selection of its next regularly-called pastor.
If a congregation wishes to consider the appointment of an Intentional Interim Pastor, it should contact the synod office about this possibility.