In the next few months, we will be using this blog to talk about some of the questions our interim pastors seek to answer when they work with churches in transition. As you can imagine, churches in transition have a lot of questions that need to be answered—some bigger than others.
When a congregation completes one of our church health assessments, a lot of initial questions are answered about the church. Things like:
- How connected do people feel within the church?
- What is the congregation’s level of doctrinal knowledge?
- Does the congregation trust church leadership?
Finding answers to these types of questions is important, but what about the bigger questions like, “What are God’s plans for this body of believers?” This is a question that can’t be answered in a survey or a diagnostic assessment. It takes time and a lot of prayer to determine the answer. It can also require guidance from a pastor who is experienced working with churches in times of transition.
People sometimes ask us why our intentional interim pastors typically stay in a church for 12-24 months. The assumption seems to be that it shouldn’t take that long to get a church through a transition time. However, at VitalChurch, it isn’t our goal to just get a church through their transition season—it’s to take them through a complete church revitalization process. We aren’t there just to “fill the pulpit” and help the church find their next lead pastor. We’re there to prepare them for their next lead pastor by facilitating any needed changes and by helping them become a vital and vibrant place.
When we come to a church to serve as intentional interim pastors, we often find a church who lacks a unified and compelling mission, vision, and set of values. The church hasn’t taken the time to really ask and seek out who God has called them to be as a body of believers. As a result, VitalChurch interim pastor Dave Miles explains, “…churches are often aimless, and congregants are disconnected and unengaged with what God wants to do in their congregation and in their community.”
To help lead churches to unity in the areas of mission, vision and values, our interim pastors walk the congregation through a “Focusing the Church” process, which we talked about in detail in a previous blog post. The process is centered around three all-church Summits, during which congregation members are invited to be involved in answering the important question of “What are God’s plans for this body of believers?” Prayer is a key component of the Focusing the Church process as the church intentionally seeks to discern God’s will. The end result of a successful Focusing the Church process is a clear path forward for church leaders and unity among the congregation.
Is your church in need of focus in the midst of a season of transition? Contact us at VitalChurch. Our pastors can come alongside your church to provide whatever level of assistance you need.