Our last blog post centered on the biblical support for an intentional interim pastor. We referenced the book of Titus, and specifically Titus 1:5, which says, “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.”
Titus 1:5 is a verse we often reference internally at VitalChurch Ministry because it offers us six things to keep in mind when we are serving as interim pastors and working with churches in transition or crisis.
- Do What You Do with Intentionality
At the beginning of the verse, Paul points out that there is a reason he put Titus on the island of Crete. As interim pastors, we always need to remember the reason why we are in a church and to be intentional about our approach. The diagnostic work we do before we send an interim pastor into a church allows us to plan how we’ll approach a new church assignment before we even begin. This allows our interim pastors to “hit the ground running” and start making an impact right away.
- Correct Problems
Paul instructs Titus to “straighten out” things in the churches on Crete. This phrase is only used once in the entire New Testament and it implies that there are things that need to be corrected and set right or set in order. In the Old Testament, one of the terms for sin is “iniquity,” which, when literally translated, means “twisted.” Part of the “straightening out” work we do in churches involves dealing with any sin that has contributed to the problems the church is facing.
This part of our work makes the interim pastors at VitalChurch more than just chaplains who fill in while a church searches for a new senior pastor. They are there to make changes, correct problems, and get the church on the right path, so they can be a healthy place for the arrival of their next senior pastor.
- Deal With the Real Issues
Paul indicates in Titus 1:5 that there are things that have been “…left unfinished.” These are the things that need to be straightened out. They are the issues that need to be focused on. There will always be multiple issues in a church facing a crisis or transition, but it is our job as interim pastors to get to the root issues, because often, the presenting issues are not the real problems in the church.
- Empower Leaders
Paul also gives Titus the task of appointing leaders (elders). Part of what we do when we serve as interim pastors in churches is we source leaders from within the church and then release them to do God’s work. We develop good leadership habits and put processes in place that will continue to serve the church long after the VitalChurch interim pastor has left.
- Think Regionally
Paul tells Titus to do all of the above in “every town.” Paul had God’s greater kingdom in mind when he was instructing Titus, and we must too. We are constantly encouraging churches to not be inwardly focused, but to look outward for ways to minister to others.
- Work as a Team
The phrase Paul uses at the end of Titus 1:5, “…as I have directed you,” implies that Paul and Titus were working together to finish their work in the churches on Crete. Paul wasn’t just sending Titus to take care of things however he wanted; he gave specific direction.
It is always in the best interest of a church for leaders to work as a team. Within the VitalChurch organization, we have different pastors with different gifts. Some of our interim pastors are gifted in the area of church assessment, while others are gifted teachers. Others have administrative and training skills that are needed in certain churches. Working together for a common purpose is the best way to ensure that a church becomes what God wants it to become.
If your church is in a period of transition or crisis, and in need of an interim pastor who can help bring about change and revitalization, contact VitalChurch. We would love to speak with you about your church and its needs and see how we can work together.