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However, the General Conference of 1996 placed the term Interim Minister in the Book of Discipline. The 2004 Discipline reads, Par. 338.3:
Interim appointments may be made to charges that have special transitional needs.
a) Interim clergy may serve outside the annual conference where membership is held under the provisions of paragraph 337.1, with approval and consent of the bishops involved.
b) Interim appointments will be for a specified length of time, established in advance following consultation with the district superintendent, the pastor parish relations committee, and the interim pastor.
So why do we need interim ministers anyway? The idea of pastoral transitions in the UMC is similar to running the mile relay race in the Olympic Games. A baton is passed from each runner to the next, in full stride, never missing a beat. So the total race is run more efficiently by multiple runners than could be achieved by any one runner. That’s fine, unless the baton is mishandled – not passed at the right time or within the prescribed space – or dropped.
And it can happen in pastoral changes, too. The “opening” comes at the wrong time. The “right” successor is not presently available. The church is so wounded by the circumstances creating the opening that healing time will be required before it can fully embrace the leadership of a regularly appointed pastor.
An interim minister, sometimes called a TIIMS, a Transitional Intentional-Interim Ministry Specialist, is an experienced, mature, United Methodist pastor trained for the specialized ministry of the interim time. He/she is appointed by the bishop “for a specified length of time, established in advance” to lead the congregation in a time of healing and renewal as its wounds heal and it prepares for a new day in its life with a new pastor, yet to be appointed.
Interim Ministry is a far-cry from simple “pulpit supply!” Supply is akin to just keeping the doors open so the congregation still worships during the transitional time. Interim Ministry is a time of analyzing the wounds and hurts of a church and leading it to face or deal with these with clearly stated goal of bringing new congregational health and a return to vital ministry in the community.
Transitional Intentional Interim Ministry Specialists are NOT supply pastors. We are NOT filling a pulpit. We are specialists serving for a specific period of time with specific ministerial tasks. Our functions are suggested by each of the words in our title:
Transitional – One function is to bring the church from wherever it is to a new, hopeful and creative place in ministry. Part of our job is to move the church to a new place in preparation for its next pastor and to help it through that transition.
Intentional – We enter into a church with four specific formative tasks:
1. Identity: To help the church see its identity realistically.
2. Direction: To guide the church in discerning God’s leading for the church.
3. Leadership: To equip the church’s changing leadership.
4. Connection: To strengthen the church’s denominational connection.
The only pressure we allow ourselves is completing these tasks in the allotted time.
Interim – We are here to serve for a limited period of time with a specific beginning and ending date.
Ministry – What we do is every bit as important and essential to the church as the generalist in ministry, the local pastor. However, out tasks are limited, time bounded and specific.
Specialist – What we do is highly specialized ministry. We are very intentional and specialized in our tasks of ministry for a designated period of time, helping churches transition from whatever their situation is now to a new situation.
Probably the most helpful way to think of us is as specialists. If you needed heart surgery you wouldn’t go to a general practitioner. You would want a heart specialist with skills in heart surgery. Sometimes churches need interims who are specially trained to help churches through transitions to come to terms with their history, their identity, their changing leaders during the transition, their connections with the conference and their hopes for the future. That’s where interims can be helpful. Part of their effectiveness comes in knowing that they are only temporary and will only be serving in the interim between regular pastors.
Another helpful way of thinking of us is as backup quarterbacks. When the quarterback is injured or incapacitated in some way a backup quarterback can play a vital role in helping the team to win the game. A few years ago, we saw the importance of a backup quarterback dramatically demonstrated in the recent Orange Bowl game between Texas and Alabama when Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was injured. Unfortunately, Texas really didn’t have a capable backup quarterback freshman who was sent in to replace McCoy and the game was no contest after that. Interim ministers, like backup quarterbacks, can play a vital role in helping congregations to become equipped and ready for their new pastor.
I love interim ministry and know God has called me to this specialized area of ministry. I consider it a privilege to work with you and ask that you pray for me as we work together through the five developmental tasks in preparation for your new pastor.
See you Sunday.
In Joyful Service,
Sunday schools can be a real blessing to those who attend them. I am pleased to be a facilitator for the Promise Class that meets in the Ministry Center every Sunday morning at 9:45. For the past several sessions we have been enjoying a series written by Adam Hamilton called “Enough”. The following are key insights that Rev. Hamilton offers to enhance our Christian calling. “Enough” refers to money and how we utilize it. He asks, “If you were free from debt, how might you be able to use your resources to make a difference in the lives of others?”
It’s about money and more importantly our life’s purpose. “Society tells us that our life purpose is to consume; the Bible tells us that our life purpose is to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our money and possessions should be devoted to helping us fulfill this calling.” How do we accomplish this when there is barely enough to pay our family’s expenses?
Without a plan to reach our goals, we are in danger of becoming like the prodigal son who wasted his inheritance and had no plans but to spend his money foolishly. A plan gives us concrete steps that we can take to accomplish our goals.
Here are six financial planning principles that can help all of us become better money managers:
Pay your tithe and offering first.
Create a budget and track your expenses.
Simplify your lifestyle (live below your means).
Establish an emergency fund.
Pay off your credit cards, use cash/debit cards for purchases, and use credit wisely.
Practice long-term savings and investing habits.
“To be a Christian is to follow Jesus Christ and to seek to do his will in our lives. It is to say, ‘Here I am, all of me! I’m yours. Put me to work, help me to serve, use me to accomplish your work.’ Now, if this is our life purpose, then our money and possessions should be devoted to helping us to fulfill this calling….We are blessed to be a blessing.” --Adam Hamilton
I must admit that money and how to use it is a constant struggle for me. Do we view money in its proper context? Is it a tool or is it an obsession? When is enough, enough?
And above all, please remember our purpose: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of time.” – Jesus
Herb Miller once told an interesting story about the honey bird. The honey bird is a strange fowl that lives in the jungles of Africa. It gets its name from its fondness of honey. Not only does it like to eat honey but it will also lead people to trees where the bees have stored their honey.
The honey bird calls to people until it gets their attention. It then flies from tree to tree calling for them to follow. When the bird finally gets to the honey tree, it stops and the natives find the honey. After the honey has been gathered the people usually leave some of the honeycomb on a branch of the tree so that the honey bird will have a reward for its services.
The natives and the honey bird are good examples for us Church folk. We are indebted to many, yet often take people for granted. Have you thanked anyone lately – have you left honey on anyone’s branch ?
I want to leave some honeycomb on the branch.
I want to thank all of the men and women who gave their time for 24 weeks during the school year to make His Kids such a successful event.
Special thanks to Children’s coordinator, Gayle Fuller, for her superb organizational skills, leadership and enthusiasm.
I also want to thank the Vision Committee, UMM, UMW for staffing a booth at Mineola May Days.
Even more, I want to thank our church staff for all of their hard work on behalf of our Lord’s church here in Mineola. They labor diligently to do God’s work here at FUMC. It is truly a calling. If you appreciate what they do, leave a little honey on the branch for them.
Here is some honeycomb for the mentors who have helped with the Confirmation class this year.
I would also like to thank all of our volunteers who have taken on the mantle of servanthood, have embraced the fact that they – like all Christians – are called to ministry, and have pulled their weight (or more) as a part of the Body of Christ.
Here is honey for all of you. But, better than honey, may our Father draw you into a closer and deeper relationship with Him.
See you Sunday.
Mother’s Day is just ahead and I have been thinking about the importance of a good mother and how she can give her child the ability to face the world valiantly. I remembered a statement that I read in a book by John Killenger. I found it in a book he wrote entitled “Lost in Wonder, Love, and Praise.” I hope this is a blessing to you, especially you mothers.
I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the loving God, who was born of the promise to a virgin named Mary..
I believe in the love Mary gave her son, that caused her to follow him in his ministry and stand by his cross as he died.
I believe in the love of all mothers, and its importance in the lives of the children, they bear. It is stronger than steel, softer than down, and more resilient than a green sapling on the
hillside. It closes wounds, melts disappointments, and enables the weakest child to stand tall and straight in the fields of adversity.
I believe that this love, even at its best, is only a shadow of the love of God, a dark reflection of all that we can expect of him, both in this life and the next.
And I believe that one of the most beautiful sights in the world is a mother who lets this greater love flow through her to her child, blessing the world with the tenderness of her touch and the tears of her joy.
Thank you, moms, for all you do for your families.
See you in church on Sunday!