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Help during the Interim or Transition Period

Please understand that the interim period is not inherently a positive or negative experience. The transition process and its experiences will be a result of how the church responds and handles the decisions and events that must be faced.

With this in mind, take heart and know that God is in control, and that if we allow Him to work through us, the interim period can be one of the finest moments in the life of the church. Where there is hurt, there can be healing; where there is doubt, there can be certainty; where there is confusion, there can be renewed vision; and where there is stagnation, there can be growth.

Much of the following information has been compiled using material freely available from Minister Support Ministries of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia. You may contact them at 1-800-255-2428 or via the Internet at For a very large selection of Transition and Pastor Search material for Virginia Baptists, please click here for a direct link to the document resource page (active as of January 21, 2008).


Good closure of ministry of the departing pastor will lay the proper groundwork for what follows. Do not be in a hurry to find a new pastor. Whatever the reason for the departure of the previous pastor, it is extremely important to work through the many emotions and circumstances of the church body. The interim period will provide the proper setting for this transition.

Church leaders must consider how to move through the interim time. (There are several types of interim ministry. It is important that the church consider the type of interim ministry that will help the church use the interim period as an important time of growth and healing in the church. A part of this would be to have a presentation of the intentional interim process.)

  • There are three basic types of interim pastors, each with varying responsibilities and financial expectations. A supply interim who will do nothing more than fill the pulpit for scheduled services, a full-time interim who will serve much like a full-time pastor, and an intentional interim who will serve as a full-time pastor with the added responsibility of helping the congregation move through the five developmental tasks of the interim period.

Church leaders will decide on the direction of the process of the interim ministry.

  • These early stage decisions will shape the things to come, therefore much careful prayer and effort is required.

Church leaders, along with any needed outside assistance, will present the interim process to the church for their consideration.

  • Outside assistance may include help or counseling from a state office or a local association.

The church votes on the interim process.

A Search Committee is appointed to find an interim pastor that will be a part of the interim process decided on by the church.

  • Please note that this committee is concerned only with the interim selection process and not that of a regular pastor.

The candidate for interim pastor is presented to the church for their approval.

The interim pastor is called by congregation and covenant with interim pastor is voted on at the time of the call.

  • Do not overlook the need for a covenant that attentively maps out the kind of relationship and expectations between pastor and people.

The Transition Team is elected by the congregation following the interim pastorís instructions.

The Transition Team is oriented by the interim pastor.

The interim pastor and Transition Team guide themselves and the congregation through the "Developmental Tasks". These tasks include:

  • Coming to terms with history
  • Examining leadership and organizational needs
  • Rethinking denominational linkage
  • Developing a new identity and vision
  • Commitment to new leadership

The Transition Team recommends to the congregation the creation of a Pastor Search Committee.

The Pastor Search Committee is chosen based on established church process.

The Pastor Search Committee is trained for their task by a State representative or an Associational director.

The Pastor Search Committee begins their work of searching for a pastor. We offer many links to various Southern Baptist databases of prospective pastors/ministers on our Links Page.

  • This process must be carefully planned and coordinated in order to avoid "bumps in the road". There are many helpful resources for accomplishing this great task.

The Pastor Search Committee presents the pastoral candidate to the congregation for their consideration.

  • Never work with more than one candidate at a time! Each candidate must be considered separately, and no new candidate will be considered until the current one is either called or rejected by the church.

The evaluation of the interim process is conducted. This will be valuable the next time the church must work through an interim period.

The newly installed pastor takes up the call of the congregation and the interim period concludes.

The pastor and church embark on their "Honeymoon" time.

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Strawberry Baptist Association
P.O. Box 91
Bedford, VA 24523

Copyright© Strawberry Baptist Association
Updated 1/28/2008
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