Remembering the Interim
We have been developing a series of blogs on a unique gift that the interim can offer a church. Sometimes an interim is remembered fondly because s/he has helped heal the church from some painful chapters in their history. Sometimes an interim is grudgingly respected because s/he has helped the church confront some difficult issues and make changes the church had been reluctant to face. There are also times when the match has not been good and the interim is remembered more for having been there and now is gone. Even that, at times, can be a gift, because now the church looks forward to the new pastor.
A PARTING GIFT
The parting gift that an interim can leave the congregation is for them to be prepared to receive the new pastor. There are several suggestions that the interim pastor can make that may lead to the creation of a welcoming atmosphere for the new pastor. Some of them may seem obvious and yet can easily be overlooked.
- Basic office supplies can be provided to ease the transition, plus some clear directions, and maybe some discount coupons to the best office supply store.
- Ask if the new pastor needs additional bookshelves, etc. for the office or any other minor changes that can help facilitate the move into the office.
- If the residence is known, some staples for the home and maybe some canned goods might be provided.
- A welcome packet with restaurant suggestions, maps marked with places of interest, DMV office, hospitals, parks, etc.
- Approach some groceries, restaurants, etc. for a pack of discount coupons.
- Maybe arrange a tour of the community with a church member who is well acquainted with the area–time to be arranged.
A SPECIAL GIFT
Invite the session and the pastoral search committee to each contribute $10 towards a pastor’s fund to be used in the following manner.
- The session will think about the community and identify a pastor they think is seasoned. Someone will approach the pastor and ask if they are willing to go to lunch once a month for six months with the new pastor to share insights from their experience.
- At six months, the pastor and spouse go to supper with this mentor and spouse to share conversation about their shared experiences.
- Also, after 6 months, the session and the search committee has supper with the pastor and spouse. Before the supper, both the elders and pastor and spouse provide a simple statement of the things they think have gone well for the past six months.
- All of these experiences are paid for from the fund. If there is any money left over, the session asks the pastor to purchase one or two books that s/he thinks might be useful in guiding the church.
Regardless of the diverse emotions that may follow an interim out the door, this very practical set of suggestions can leave a very positive memory.