If you’ve been a part of a church for any length of time—on staff, on a board of elders, as a volunteer, or just as a member of the congregation—you have probably experienced a period when your church faced some sort of transition or crisis involving your church’s leadership. It could have been that your pastor left (or was asked to leave) in an abrupt manner, or that he passed away unexpectedly. Whatever the specific circumstances were surrounding this event, it likely left you and other members of your church in a state of uncertainty, and maybe even confusion about what to do next.
It can be difficult to know what the next best step should be when your church suddenly finds itself leaderless. Should you immediately appoint someone from within the church (like an elder or staff member) to take the helm? Or would it be better to seek help from outside of your congregation? The decision is never easy. If a church is part of a denomination, they may get some support from denominational leadership, but independent, non-denominational churches often have limited options.
An Outside Perspective is Invaluable
Once the initial shock from an incident wears off, a church often begins asking, “How did we get here?” They wonder how the sudden absence of one person could have such a huge impact on the church, and why they weren’t able to prevent or minimize the impact of the situation in which they now find themselves.
Answers can be hard to come by when you’re in the midst of a transition or crisis. That’s why it’s important for churches to get an outside perspective before making any big decisions (like appointing a new lead pastor).
At VitalChurch Ministry, we’ve been that outside voice for many Christian churches throughout North American and even in other parts of the world. Through our diagnostic analysis, we can pinpoint the underlying factors that led to a church’s current struggles. They aren’t always obvious to discern—especially for church leaders who are so close to the situation—but it’s important for churches to discover these root issues. The last thing a church should do is bring a new pastor into a situation that is unhealthy or in conflict and unaware of how they got there.
A diagnostic expert at VitalChurch can conduct a full church health assessment that can give your church important insights that will aid in discovering not only your church’s weaknesses, but also its strengths. This can help you determine what you should be looking for in your next pastor and what your church needs to work on before they are hired.
How an Interim Pastor Can Help
The next step for many churches facing a sudden lack of leadership is to look to interim pastor ministries, like VitalChurch. An interim pastor can come to your church for as long as you need while you search for your next permanent senior pastor. Unlike some other interim pastor ministries, however, the interim pastors at VitalChurch Ministry will take your church through our process of church revitalization while they are there. We’ll help your church work through the issues that were brought to light in the diagnostic analysis while providing biblically based teaching that points your congregation to Christ.
Bringing an interim pastor into your church during a season of transition or crisis can also help you not feel rushed to bring in a new permanent senior pastor. You can take the time to really pray and seek God’s guidance, knowing that there is an experienced pastor there during the transition to lead your staff and your congregation.
Transitions are never easy, but our interim pastors have walked with many churches through difficult seasons and have seen them come through them healthier, more vibrant, and more dependent on the Holy Spirit than ever!
If you think your church could benefit from an interim pastor from VitalChurch, we’d love to talk with you! Contact us through our website and we’ll get back to you soon!