While I am writing this article for January, I am writing it shortly after leading my first Sunday service as your Interim Pastor, and today I’m thinking a lot about that word, interim. Maybe you’ve been thinking or wondering about that word too. I’d like to share some of my thoughts about interim in this month’s Messenger article.
An Interim Pastor is a person who assumes temporary pastoral leadership in a congregation that is currently without a settled Pastor. In our American Baptist system, it can take a year or longer for a congregation to complete the search process. The Interim provides pastoral care and leadership in this “in between time.”
As an interim, I bring a high level of objectivity to the church. I’m new on the scene here in Haddonfield. I am just beginning to learn some your names and how you relate to the church. I’ll get to know you and your stories about the church in the coming weeks and months, and may be able to bring a fresh approach to subjects that arise. One of the few goals I have for this time together is to be a caring, loving pastoral presence. I’ll remind you about God’s faithfulness in the midst of change and transition. I’ll encourage you to be faithful, involved and engaged when it might be easy to drop off the grid “until the new pastor arrives.”
As your Interim Pastor I will not consider being or be considered as a candidate for your settled, permanent pastor nor will I promote anyone to the Search Committee. I am re-reading a book by Alan G. Gripe tiled, “The Interim Pastor’s Manual.” Gripe writes, “An interim pastor who openly or secretly desires to become the installed pastor has already lost the objectivity that is one of the position’s major advantages…” (p. 12). I can share open and honest opinions without having to spin an answer in a way that would keep me in consideration for “the job.”
So let me wrap up this very brief introduction to “interim 101” by inviting you to one of our Sunday Worship Services. If you haven’t been around in a few weeks or months or longer this is a great time to reconnect with the church. Stop by next Sunday and meet the new guy, me. I’m not going to know how long it has been since you’ve been here so it will really be a judgment-free zone! Seriously come to church and introduce yourself to me next week.
Pastor Nevin Werron, Interim Pastor