How do Intentional Interim Pastors differ from other Interim Pastors?
Intentional Interim Pastors have received specialized training (described below) in assisting congregations during the interim period.
Where do I obtain the specialized training for intentional interim ministry?
Two organizations — NALIP and IMN — provide most of the specialized training for ELCA Intentional Interim Pastors.
NALIP (National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors). One organization providing specifically Lutheran training is the National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors (NALIP), a Lutheran group which is jointly sponsored by IMA-ELCA and its Missouri Synod counterpart, the Interim Ministry Conference-LCMS. The actual training consists of two one-week sessions offered at several different locations throughout the country. NALIP also offers a one-day Discernment seminar for those pastors who are considering intentional interim ministry. For the NALIP website, go to www.nalip.net
IMN (Interim Ministry Network). The other major organization providing interim training is the Interim Ministry Network, an ecumenical group with headquarters in Baltimore, MD. IMN sponsors training courses in various locations around the country. The format consists of a 3-day Introduction to Interim Ministry, followed later by a one-week course that goes into more detail. IMN does not offer one-day discernment seminars, to the best of our knowledge. For the IMN website, go to www.imnedu.org
What are the advantages of Intentional Interim Ministry as a specialized ministry?
- Service to the Church. The Intentional Interim Pastor has an opportunity to make a significant impact on a specific congregation during the interim period, by assisting the congregation to determine its true mission and to prepare itself for calling a new pastor.
- Excitement. Intentional Interim Ministry is a very intense experience, especially during the first nine to twelve months.
- Variety. The typical Intentional Interim Pastor serves 12 to 18 months in each interim parish. This provides more variety than an ordinary settled call.
- Mobility. Experienced Intentional Interim Pastors are in demand. There is a possibility of serving congregations in different areas of the country.
- Pastors at or approaching retirement age. For pastors at or approaching retirement age, Intentional Interim Ministry may be especially appealing. It offers an outlet for using their accumulated experience, along with flexibility in choosing where and when to work. They can take time off between interim assignments. Age is not a barrier.
What are the disadvantages of Intentional Interim Ministry?
- Initial Investment. there is an initial investment in time and money to take the specialized training.
- Less Security. Interim Ministry does not have the same security as a settled call. Every 12 to 18 months, your assignment ends and you need to find a new interim position.
- Roster Issues. There can be roster issues in some synods. If a synod does not issue a synod call to Intentional Interim Pastors, the pastor may be in danger of being removed from the roster.
- Separation. Finally, leaving a congregation is difficult. You just get to know and love the members of a congregation when you leave to make room for the next permanent pastor. Many intentional interim pastors find this a difficult part of the job.
What steps should I take if I feel called to Intentional Interim Ministry?
The first step is to take the interim training or a discernment course to find out more about interim ministry. Depending on your situation, you may want to contact your synod to see what opportunities might be available within your synod for Intentional Interim Ministry.
If cost is an obstacle, the National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors has a few scholarships each year to help with the cost of basic training for interim ministry. Check the NALIP website for more information and applications.
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