Recently, two of our interim pastors, Gregg Caruso and Dave Miles, appeared on the Vanderbloemen Leadership podcast. They were interviewed by Sarah Robins, VP of Sales and Client Relations at Vanderbloemen. Vanderbloemen is an organization based in Houston, Texas that works with churches around the country on succession planning and executive staffing.
Over the years, the work of VitalChurch Ministry and Vanderbloemen have overlapped more than once. On several occasions, Vanderbloemen has come in toward the end of our time as interim pastors at a church to help that church hire their next permanent senior pastor or to fill other staff positions. We have a high level of respect for what they do, and we know that the churches they have worked with value their expertise and commitment to the church at large.
On their podcast, the staff at Vanderbloemen interviews various experts on church leadership, from lead pastors to leadership coaches to executives at Christian nonprofits. They called on two of our partners to get their perspectives on leading churches through a transition or crisis. The full episode of the podcast is about 40 minutes long (you can listen to it here), and is full of wisdom from these two men, who have been working in interim pastor ministry for decades.
Miles and Caruso begin by talking about their approach to interim pastor ministry, explaining that they don’t come to a struggling church pretending to have all the answers. Rather, they come in humbly, asking a lot of questions. They also seek to be a calming presence in what is often a tense situation. Caruso explains, “I think that’s one of the most important things that we can offer a church going in is that non-anxious presence, because anxiety is already high because of this situation, crisis, or otherwise. Just going in there and being calm and loving and leading and listening is really, really important in those moments.”
Another thing they talk about in the podcast is the importance of providing churches with an outside perspective. They encourage churches to do a regular check-up (a Tier 1 Diagnostic Analysis), even if they aren’t in a season of transition or crisis, as it can help a church minister more completely to their congregation and to the community. However, an outside perspective is even more critical when a church is experiencing some hardship. Miles explains, “When there’s significant distrust of leadership or…when there’s blind spots that you know are there but for the life of you can’t figure it out, that’s when you need to bring in outside help.”
Toward the end of the interview, Robins asks Miles and Caruso about some common mistakes they’ve seen in churches in their many years of interim ministry. The pastors identify several mistakes they’ve seen churches make over and over again that can lead to crisis situations, and offer some helpful advice as to how churches can avoid them.
Finally, the two interim pastors are asked what they would like to say to current church leaders. They both encourage pastors, elders, and other church leaders to be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading. To ask questions like “What is the Spirit saying to this church?” and then do that…even if it’s unpopular or difficult.
VitalChurch Ministry is grateful to Vanderbloemen for the opportunity to have our interim pastors appear on their podcast and share about our ministry.
If you’d like to learn more about what we do or speak to someone about having VitalChurch come to you for a church health assessment or to serve as an intentional interim pastor, get in touch with us today.