Let me first say how excited I am to have been called here to be your Intentional Interim Pastor (IIP). My wife Beth and I have been looking forward to being here for this very important ministry.
First of all, some of you may wonder: ‘what exactly is an IIP?’
An IIP is an ordained pastor who conducts and directs a specialized ministry called the Intentional Interim Ministry. This specialized ministry is carried out in times of change in pastoral leadership and is a ministry of the whole church in support of the local congregation, such as St. Paul’s, Farmington Hills. The interim 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 period a very profitable and special chapter in the life and mission of any congregation.
The IIP is trained to intentionally work on these important functions with congregation. He is not a “Vacancy Pastor” in the traditional sense of the term. Vacancy pastors usually fill the Sunday morning pulpit and make basic calls on the sick and shut-ins. This is why pastors who want to do interim ministry are required to take special introductory and continued and ongoing training courses.
Most interims last twelve to eighteen months, some even longer to help the congregation prepare for their new permanent “settled” pastor. Leading the congregation through a five process phase, the IIP prepares the congregation for a new beginning in their ministry. The five phases are:
- Dealing with its history in an honest way.
- Broadening leadership.
- Defining its identity.
- Strengthening its relationship with the district/synod.
- Determining a new direction for ministry and mission.
Depending upon the needs and status of the congregation, emphasis and time spent on any one of the five phases could be vastly different; and to determine what phase/s will need the most attention, I will make every sincere effort to immerse myself in St. Paul’s system, while staying outside the system to provide objective diagnosis and healing through intentional use of Law and Gospel. A trained IIM pastor (such as myself) “begins with the end in mind.” He comes to the congregation knowing he is the temporary shepherd and not eligible to become the settled pastor. His sole purpose is to bring the congregation to the best outcome, which is well defined at the outset of the interim.
Please take a moment to visit my bulletin board as you enter the sanctuary to worship, for any new information regarding the status and progress of this ministry.
May God’s Kingdom grow according to His will, here at St. Paul’s, and I hope to meet you all as you come to worship.
Rev. Gary L. Siefert