How Pastor Mark approaches Intentional Interim Ministry
The interim time is a process of spiritual discernment to discover who the congregation is, who the congregation’s neighbors are, and what God is calling the congregation to do and become. My approach to each interim ministry varies, depending on the needs and circumstances of the setting. I work with church leaders to set goals and expectations for the interim time before I ever become “employed” by the church. I am an intentional interim minister because I work toward specific goals and objectives. I do this work collaboratively with congregational leaders, but also through discernment that comes from my own spiritual practices. I believe that the Holy Spirit is constantly moving in churches that are spiritually alive and open hearted. Open hearted congregations are open to testing the Spirit and doing discernment together. Together, we create a future based in vision and mission.
This time of uncertainty is exhilarating and scary. The risks we take for bringing the gospel to life bring us closer to God and our purpose as human beings. What we are striving for is a transformative spiritual movement. Having had extensive training and served numerous congregations, I have tools for ministry to help congregations for present challenges and to help create a new and revitalized future. In congregational life, numerical growth begins with spiritual growth. I want to help lead a congregation who desires spiritual growth. The present changing landscape of ministry in which we find ourselves is ideal for that.
From Pastor Mark’s May 6, 2020 Letter to Our Church’s Search Committee:
Thank you for your important work during this uncertain, scary, and blessed time of global transition. As we emerge from physical distancing, local churches will have opportunities as never before to serve communities finding themselves in various states of trauma, grief, and deep spiritual need. I feel as if God has prepared me to lead and serve your remarkable congregation as we work toward re-ordering values, common life, and priorities in ministry.
Throughout the last twenty years, I have served congregations in transition and trained other pastors to help churches to become more faithful, healthy and resilient. More than a few of those congregations had fears about their future. I helped lead them all to a place of stability and helped set up the next pastor for sustainable and fulfilling ministry.
The congregation I presently serve is a mission church for people living in poverty. Our liturgical life is “bare bones” as most of the congregation’s energy is focused on food ministries. I have been working 40-plus hours a week adapting the operations to go from serving indoors to outdoors, 400 to 700 families a month, securing PPE, re-training volunteers, and partnering with other organizations….