Interim Pastor’s Update, 6/23/22
Three Phases of Transition
Regardless of the reason for the departure of a pastor, a congregation goes through an initial phase of crisis. This is often accompanied by uncertainty among leadership, staff, and members. During the crisis phase of ministry, the most important aspect of interim ministry is providing stability and support to staff and leadership. Stability is evidenced by predictable and inspiring preaching, teaching, and leading. Support is provided to the leadership, staff, and congregation by listening, learning, and reinforcing the good ministry the congregation is presently doing.
The discovery phase of the interim period begins once the congregation appoints a search committee and begins to actively engage in a variety of self-assessments that will eventually result in the identification of a new pastor. The discovery phase of the church is marked by cautious optimism where the congregation begins to believe that God has a hope and a future for the congregation. During the discovery phase, as the Search Committee is engaging in the process of searching for the next pastor, the congregation begins to have conversation about identity, mission, and purpose. The leadership has recently engaged in a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Assessment the result of which will provide specific areas of focus for the ministry of ACC. Additionally, I will be inviting the congregation to engage in “3 Conversations” around our identity, mission, and purpose in the upcoming months.
During the anticipatory phase of interim ministry, the Search Team is narrowing the scope of their search to particular pastoral candidates, there is increasing levels of optimism around the call and arrival of a new pastor, and the congregation begins to grieve the departure of the Interim Pastor. As a congregation anticipates the arrival of a new pastor, new ministry initiatives begin, new members express their desire to participate, and the congregation begins to anticipate a new chapter of ministry. As a congregation anticipates a hopeful future, they do so with a sense of gratitude and confidence in God’s future.
ACC has just begun the “Discovery Phase” of our interim ministry. As we look forward to moving through this time, let’s do so prayerfully and with optimism that God is at work in and through us.
Pastor Bradley Bergfalk, Interim Lead Pastor