The Center’s goal for Interim Ministry training is to prepare leaders to help congregations make the most of the time between the departure of one pastor and the calling of another. The experience of hundreds of congregations and their leaders confirms that what is done in this transitional interlude greatly influences the formation of a solid ministry team with the new minister and congregation.
The philosophy that undergirds this training is that through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and by prayerfully asking the most basic questions of “who are we,” “who is God calling us to be,” and “what type of pastor do we need,” faith communities can construct realistic congregational and pastoral profiles.
For those individuals who believe God is calling them to serve faith communities in the time between pastors, we offer a three-tier training program. Each course builds upon the skills, tools and processes of the previous course.
- Interim Ministry I: a three-day course focused on the role of the interim minister as they work with a congregation during a transition between pastors. It is filled with practical, generalized tools for guiding a church through this crucial period. Those who meet the course requirements receive a certificate of completion as a Traditional Interim Minister. This course is a pre-requisite for Interim Ministry II.
- Interim Ministry II: a five day course, plus approximately six months of fieldwork following the classroom work that allows participants to practice and hone newly acquired skills. This training equips trained traditional interim ministers to lead a congregation through a systematic assessment of its pastoral needs and congregational goals by looking closely at five areas of a healthy congregation, referred to as Focus Points:
- Heritage: reviewing how the congregation has been shaped and formed.
- Mission: defining and redefining sense of purpose and direction.
- Leadership: reviewing the congregation’s ways of organizing, and developing an effective clergy and lay leadership structure.
- Connections: discovering all the relationships and networks a faith community builds beyond itself.
- Future: synthesizing the interim work, activating and training the pastoral search/call committee, and coaching the committee (as requested) to accomplish its work.
Those who meet the course requirements receive a certificate of completion as an Intentional Interim Minister. This course is a pre-requisite for Interim Ministry III.
- Interim Ministry III: a three-day course that prepares intentional interim ministers to serve as transition facilitators. Some congregations wish to engage in the intentional interim ministry process, but for various reasons desire to use a two-person team: a traditional interim minister and a transition facilitator. In these cases, the transition facilitator helps the congregation establish a Transition Team, trains the team, and then assists the team in leading the congregation through five areas of a healthy congregation as described above. Those who meet the course requirements receive a certificate of completion as a Transition Facilitator.
Since 1992, the Center for Congregational Health has trained over 2,600 interim pastors who are serving congregations across the United States and in four foreign countries. If you believe God is calling you to join this group of trained interims, click on the appropriate course title for dates and registration information.