As you look around our website, you’ll read a lot about our three-phase process of church revitalization, which includes a church assessment (the diagnostic phase), the interim pastor phase, and the follow-up phase. When church leaders call or email us to talk about our services, they don’t often ask about the third phase—follow up—but it is a very important part of our process.
Usually, when someone from a church contacts us, it is because their church is in some sort of crisis or in a challenging situation. Their senior pastor may have left abruptly, or there may be ongoing issues within the church body. They are looking for help to get things turned around. They call us because we are known as an organization that helps to get to the root issues of problems within churches, and because we provide interim pastorate services to churches that find themselves without pastoral leadership. Rarely in the initial conversations we have with churches, do they ask about the level of follow-up support we provide.
In our three-phase process, the follow-up phase is just as important as the first two phases. The time period immediately following the transition of leadership from the interim pastor to the church’s new senior pastor is a pivotal time for any church. There may be an initial “honeymoon period,” but it can be easy for churches to return to their old ways of doing things. In the follow-up phase, the VitalChurch team stays in close contact with church leadership, including the new senior pastor, to make sure the processes we helped to implement are still serving the church well, and also to make sure the church’s stated vision and mission is being adhered to.
This follow up involves much more than just brief phone calls and emails to “check in” with church leadership. We schedule follow-up visits and converse in depth with church elders and pastors. An interim pastor will often return to the church in which he previously served to deliver a Sunday message. For example, one of our interim pastors, Gregg Caruso, will be preaching at Sunridge Community Church in Temecula, California this summer. The church’s new senior pastor, Britt Sipe, invited him back to teach a message in their summer sermon series on love.
Pastor Sipe also speaks very highly of the level of follow-up support his church has received from VitalChurch. He says,
Our church has been so impressed with the follow-up support we’ve received from the VitalChurch team! They have been much more than a consulting firm, they’ve been loyal confidants. Not only do they check in with us periodically to make sure we are still on track, but I feel like we can call them at any time and get their expert advice. It’s very evident that they care deeply about our church, and didn’t see their time here as just another job.”
Pastor Sipe echoes what we hear from the leaders of many of the churches we work with. They see our team as trusted advisors and friends who want to see their churches operating in the ways God intended. In addition, they recognize that our job in churches, when we are there as interim pastors, is truly to be pastors, as opposed to church consultants or chaplains. We become intimately connected, as any pastor would, with the people we serve in churches around the world and take their long-term spiritual health and vitality seriously.
We’d love to talk with you about how VitalChurch Ministry can help your church! Whether your church is in crisis, or just in need of some guidance from a seasoned team of interim pastors and church assessment experts, contact us today to see how we can help.