As the saying goes, all things come to an end, and now is the end of the Intentional Interim Ministry that began here on June 1, 2017.
I was called here by you because of the unique ministry leadership that the IIM offers.
The IIM is carried out in time of change in pastoral leadership and is a ministry of the whole church in support of the local congregation. The IIM is a time of opportunity for a congregation to analyze who it is, deal with internal relationships, discover fresh leadership, focus on definite goals, and encourage a vision for the future. With trained pastoral leadership, it can make this interim time a very profitable and special chapter in the life and mission of the congregation.
John the Baptist is a great Biblical illustration of the ministry of intentional interim pastors. John was the last of the Old Testament prophets and the forerunner of God’s final Word-in-the-flesh, Jesus Christ. John is the hinge of history in God’s grand salvation story. He called people to repentance and pointed to the Redeemer. He was intense; and he was intentional. His ministry was one of presence and purpose as he pointed to the Coming One.
His ministry was temporary as he prepare people for the Permanent.
Although no IIP can do all he wants in any placement, I certainly hope and pray that I at least “opened the door” for this congregation to envision new paradigms and possibilities of mission and vision for its future. The future of St. Paul’s is unlike any of my previous congregations where I have been their IIP. St. Paul’s has the unique ministry and mission opportunity to spread God’s Word here in Farmington Hills with the additional blessings through the merger of a fellow synodical congregation of Faith Lutheran Church. And I know that this new congregation can achieve unimaginable goals under the new spiritual leadership of Rev. Brian Dupre.
And, like John the Baptist, it is now my time to ‘decrease’ (John 3:30), so that ministry here may blossom and increase under the spiritual leadership of Pastor Dupre.
Each one of you gave me so much reason to rejoice in my ministry here, and I will miss you all, and will never forget you; and it is with much sadness that I must now leave you. I hope you all give me a chance to say good-bye to each one of you at my farewell worship service on Sunday, October 21, where I can commune you for the last time, and you can remind me of your names one last time!
May God bless you all, as much as He has blessed me so immeasurably through you.
Pastor Gary Siefert