These days, there seems to be an online seminar for just about anything you want to learn more about. Provided you own a computer and have internet access, you can get training in any number of niche subjects from the comfort of your own home.
Recently, a nonprofit organization conducted an online interim pastor training seminar. An interim pastor is someone who comes into a church temporarily to serve as their pastor when they don’t have a permanent pastor in place. To be a good interim pastor, it takes a special set of skills. Not only should interim pastors be gifted Bible teachers, they also have to be adept at things like organizational leadership, development, and management; conflict resolution; and change management—especially as they relate to churches in seasons on transition. These are very specific skills that aren’t often taught to prospective pastors in seminaries. Some of these skills are developed naturally as one serves as a pastor, but many of them need to be taught by those who are experts specifically in interim pastor ministry.
VitalChurch Ministry is an organization that specializes in interim pastor ministry. For several decades now, their organization has been placing interim pastors in churches around the country. Their pastors have a unique approach to interim pastor ministry. They not only come into churches to fill a temporary role. They also work with the churches they serve to make any needed changes during their tenure there. Maybe a church needs some assistance in modifying their system of governance, or perhaps their discipleship process could use some further development. In some churches, there is some conflict that needs to be resolved before the church can move on to their next phase of ministry under a new pastor. VitalChurch Ministry has developed systems and processes that aid interim pastors in working with churches in transition. Through their interim pastor training seminar, they work with current and prospective interim pastors to teach them these much-needed skills, along with other important things that they need to know to be successful.
In their interim pastor training seminar, pastors and other leaders from VitalChruch Ministry spent four days conducting sessions on a variety of topics related to interim pastor ministry. Some of those sessions included, “Theology of Intervention,” “The First 90 Days,” and “Transition Teams and Training Leaders.” All of the sessions were interactive, and there were lengthy question-and-answer sessions built into the seminar as well. For participants, this was key! One attendee remarked that he enjoyed “…the back-and-forth nature of the presentations.” Another said that he appreciated the “…interaction with others with the same goal—building the Church for the kingdom of God.”
Overall, the interim pastor training seminar was deemed a success, with 90% of the participants who responded to the event’s follow-up saying they would recommend the training to a friend or colleague.
According to VitalChurch Ministry’s Chief Operating Officer Laurel Schumacher, they plan to offer the interim pastor training seminar on an annual basis every February, and are open to holding additional training events if the need is there. You can learn more about VitalChurch Ministry, including the services they offer to churches in transition, at their website: https://vitalchurchministry.org/