What Am I Looking For?
The Interim Search Process is one of match-making;
Where your needs and my skills meet.
Yet, there is something more required from both of us . . .
What Am I Looking for?
This time is an opportunity for both of us, for you, as the congregation’s search committee and me, a minister in search of a church. You’ll look at dozens of websites, read hundreds of pages of sermons, follow up with references, weigh each candidate’s gifts carefully. It’s a truly herculean effort you have freely chosen to do, because you love your congregation and want to find the right leader for it. Let me just take a moment of your reading time to thank you, Search Committee members, for all your hard work and for considering this website.
Of course, I’m looking at you too! I’m looking for a congregation wherewhich will bring out my best self, which will use well my almost-twenty-five years of experience with three different size congregations, and my abundant enthusiasm and energyfor the tasks at hand. When I decided to enter the ministry it was because I found a vocation that brought all my natural gifts togethe: a love of preaching, worship and music; providing opportunities for members to mature spiritually; offering focused witness against social injustice; and being a pastoral presence from birth to death.
I’m looking a congregation that:
1. Is ready to engage with the tasks of Interim/Transitional Ministry
2. Loves worship and expects high quality services to be offered every single week.
3. Expects the minister to be a visionary and inspiring leader and who encourages and supports that leadership.
4. Knows how to handle conflict, and has systems in place to manage it.
5. Is comfortable with an inclusive and expansive use of religious language.
6. Is interested in spiritual depth and growing in spiritual maturity.
7. Is passionate about social justice and is willing to take some risks on behalf of those most at risk themselves.
8. Believes in the power of the institutional church to change and transform lives, and in so doing, change and transform the world.
From my perspective there are many excellent congregations out there who are in search of an interim minister. They are full of thoughtful, caring, dedicated and passionate volunteers and laity. We’ll both be asking ourselves, “Can we walk together for an indeterminate period of time? Can we not only learn to put up with one another’s foibles and flaws, but grow and learn and love one another, not in spite of them, but because of them? That’s what I’ve learned in my ministries. There’s certainly some science to this process of making the right match, but at a certain point, it involves something more. It comes down to an intuitive knowing.
How will we know we’re the right “match” for each other? Although selecting an interim minister is different than finding a settled one, there is still some magic in finding just the right fit. Most interims have beyond the basic skills to serve your congregation. Many of us are specially trained and/or accredited. All things being equal (skills, salary requirements are acceptable, etc.) it comes down to “can I see this person as my minister for a year? or eighteen months? or two? When the match is right, ministers and congregations can fully engage with the transitional tasks of ministry, learn from one another and, at the end of the transitional time, bid each other a fond farewell, knowing that they both have grown because of the interim time.
I am minister because I believe in the power of liberal faith to transform lives, communities and in ways both great and small, the world. I know this to be true because I have witnessed it in my years as a minister. It is not the only place where transformation occurs; but it is within the context of a community gathered together by the common experience of worship; bound to one another in a free covenant; committed to values and ideals we believe will help build the common good are all ways in which we live our lives full of meaning and purpose.