• Assessing the State of the Church

As the congregation deals with the leaving of a pastor (no matter what the circumstances), there is a distinct tendency to make decisions about the future from a place of emotion and usually, the overarching emotion is anxiety. When decisions are made from a place of anxiety, they are rarely fruitful.

In partnership with OCLH, there are a variety of things that may need to be assessed.

However, as a good example of the kinds of things we would want to look at together (Board and OCLH staff member) are indicated on this Sample Assessment Worksheet.

In partnership, an OCLH staff member and the board will discern together what the assessment might suggest as a way forward for the “in between time.”

Most Probable Options

  1. Long term Intentional Interim (12-24 months)
  2. Short term Interim (6-12 months)
  3. “Fill the Gap” Interim
  4. No Interim
  5. Intervention period followed by long term Interim
  6. Other, as determined by assessment and mutual agreement

Other Considerations

➢ Discern whether a visit to the local church by a OCLH staff person is desirable, necessary or optional. Some things that might impact this decision:

  1. Strength of leadership (especially Board and Staff)
  2. Strength of relationship with denomination
  3. Depth of understanding about pastoral transitions

➢ Plan visit, which would include:

  1. A forum to explain the process that the board has decided on
  2. Get buy-in and feedback from the congregation in a forum
  3. Leave with a list of characteristics that they believe would be important in an Interim Pastor
  •  Interim Appointment Process

➢ Begin looking for a good match for this church and this situation. Use the list, prayer, knowledge of what is needed to find top candidate. Top filters for choice:

  1. Right skills, gifts, experience and education
  2. Availability and Timing
  3. Right fit for this church

➢ When OCLH feels comfortable that the first two things have been found, we call the board and arrange for a visit. The visit is to accomplish:

  1. An opportunity for the candidate to meet the congregation in formal and informal environments.
  2. An opportunity for the congregation to hear the candidate preach and experience them as a worship leader.
  3. An open congregational forum that allows for questions and answers with the candidate.
  4. Meeting with the board to discuss compensation.
  5. Discern if there is good chemistry between candidate and congregation.

➢ Making the Appointment

  1. Following the visit, the OCLH will call the board VM and find out if the general sense was that the candidate was a good fit or not.
  2. Following the visit, the OCLH will call the candidate to find out if they felt the fit was a good one.
  3. If everyone says yes to the “fit,” then the Elder will move forward with the appointment.
  4. An appointment letter will be sent to the Interim and copied to the VM. Once this letter is received, the congregation can be notified unless there are special circumstances that require a delay in making the announcement.
  5. The board and Interim will begin working on generating the Compensation Contract while the Elder and Interim begin working on generating the Work Contract.

Click here for a print-friendly version of the above process.

Additional Resources:

Interim Supervision Resources:

  1. Sample Interim Report
  2. Readiness Survey (Inventory)