Organizations that staff Christian churches with interim pastors are nothing new. For decades, various interim pastor ministries have served as resources that churches can call upon when they find themselves without a lead pastor. The interim pastors that are placed in churches serve for a season until the church can find a new permanent lead pastor. It’s often a great solution to a temporary problem.
One organization that specializes in providing churches with experienced, gospel-centered interim pastors is VitalChurch Ministry. Their pastors have served in churches throughout the United States, in a variety of denominational and independent Christian churches. They even have a UK division that serves English-speaking churches in Europe.
VitalChurch Ministry has made a name for itself as having a team of interim pastors who do more than just “fill the pulpit” for Sunday morning services. Their pastors go into churches and spend one to two years with their congregations and help them deal with any internal issues or conflicts. VitalChurch’s interim pastors also do things like help the church discover its mission and vision, develop outreach and discipleship programs, clarify staff roles, and strengthen or upgrade church governance structures.
Church Health Assessments
As if all of this wasn’t enough, VitalChurch Ministry offers other services that have been helpful to churches that aren’t currently in need of an interim pastor. Specifically, the organization is known for its in-depth church health assessments, which they call diagnostic assessments.
VitalChurch COO Laurel Schumacher describes their diagnostic assessments in this way: “[Our diagnostic assessment] includes an online survey and individual input sessions with people from the church. From these, our diagnostic division prepares a report for the church. The report generally identifies three to five core issues to which the church needs to pay attention, as well as several recommendations for each issue.”
In a nutshell, the resulting report provides the church with what VitalChurch likes to call a “mirror and a map.” If a VitalChurch interim pastor is subsequently sent to the church, the recommendations in the report essentially become the agreed upon initiatives that the interim pastor and the church leadership seek to tackle together during the pastor’s time there.
The church health assessments are not just for churches that have known issues. Rather, they are designed to aid any church that is wanting a clear picture of their current reality. VitalChurch recommends that every church go through a church health assessment every few years.
Interim Pastor Training
Another service offered by VitalChurch Ministry is interim pastor training. The organization puts on an annual conference to equip and train individuals interested in interim pastor ministry. The conference is led by highly experienced interim pastors, using industry-leading materials written by the VitalChurch team. VitalChurch also offers training for interim pastors who are staffed by denominations to serve in their member churches.
To learn more about VitalChurch and the services they offer to Christian churches, or to contact them for assistance, visit their website: https://vitalchurchministry.org/