Originally published in the February 2016 Monthly Explorer
Before I agreed to serve as the interim preacher for RRCB, I had to clarify in my own mind exactly what I was being called to be and do. What follows is a compilation of my thoughts.
- Interims are necessary in the life of the church. The term describes a person, a position, a period of time, and a process. What it signifies is a transition from what has been to what will be. The church as a living organism inevitably will journey through such transitions.
- Interims are times to gratefully savor the past, to objectively evaluate the present, and to eagerly anticipate what lies ahead.
- Interims do not represent inactivity or institutional stasis. The church continues to actively live out its call and its mission.
- Interims can be stressful for those who are anxious about future direction. Frankly, some stress can be a good thing, lending itself to a healthy, creative tension out of which grows fresh vision.
- Interims are, by definition, temporary states. They serve as links of continuity so that a church maintains a healthy forward pace.
- Interims are appropriate occasions for a church to engage in honest self-study and self-reflection, to invite objective outside counsel and evaluation, and to reverently seek where the Spirit of God is leading the congregation.
- Interims that are too short can lead to insufficient opportunity for healthy transition; interims that are too long can lead to loss of focus and momentum. What constitutes the “right” length of time for an interim varies according to the church’s situation. Wise leaders monitor the interim experience to maximize its effectiveness.
- Interims can be the best of times or the worst of times for a congregation. It is important that the church family embrace the challenge placed before them and determine to work together to meet it.