8 Reasons to Hire An Interim Pastor

When a pastor leaves, it can be a difficult time for the church. Even if the pastor’s departure is somewhat desired by the church, it is still a very challenging season. One of the keys for success during this time is for the church to hire a good interim pastor. Here are a number of reasons why most churches should hire an interim pastor.

8 Reasons to Hire An Interim Pastor

1. The church needs consistency. When a church chooses to use guest preachers every week during this time of transition there is no consistency in the pulpit. This often leads to tension and confusion in the church.

2. You protect the doctrine of the church. It is much easier to vet one interim pastor than to vet a different guest preacher every weekend. A church is more open for doctrinal errors when using guest preachers, especially when those guest preachers are lay-members of the church who have no formal theological training.

A church is more open for doctrinal errors when using a guest preacher…”

3. The church needs time to grieve. When a beloved pastor leaves there is a time of grieving. Church members may not recognize that they are dealing with grief, but they are. It is important for them to work through that process before the new pastor begins so they will be emotionally ready to embrace him as their new pastor once he arrives.

4. There is a leadership void. When a pastor leaves it creates a leadership void. If the church does not hire an interim pastor, two dangers exist. First, the void does not get filled and the church lacks direction. Second, the void does get filled with church members who should not be leading and who are reluctant to relinquish the role once the new pastor is in place.

5. It gives the Search Team breathing room. The Search Team looking for the new pastor is under a great deal of pressure. The church has asked them to find their next pastor which is a huge responsibility. Having a good interim in place will relieve some of that pressure and help them to not feel rushed.

6. Fresh eyes. An interim pastor will have “fresh eyes.” He will have the ability and authority to address issues that exist with the facility, worship services, staffing, etc.

7. New ideas. Most interim pastors have years of successful ministry. As a result, they will have lots of new ideas that can help the church continue to move forward during this interim period.

8. Staff guidance. Even the most capable church staff will find it very awkward if nobody is filling the office of “pastor.” An interim pastor gives them someone with whom they can talk, plan, and consult.

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10 Things I Love About Being A Pastor

I have served as pastor of four Kentucky Baptist churches and as an interim pastor of several more. Here are ten things that I love about being a pastor.

10 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT BEING A PASTOR

1. Walking through life with people you know and love. This is not true for all pastors because some pastors are introverts, but I love people. As their pastor, church members often include you in the important moments of their lives.

2. Encouraging members when they’re going through difficult times. No one is exempt from difficulty. As a pastor, I’m called upon during difficult moments which allows me the unique privilege of encouraging church members during these moments. 

3. Preparing to preach each week. Every week as I prepare to preach God’s Word, God does a work in my life! The biggest challenge each week is figuring how to narrow down my study notes into a 25-30 minute message.

4. Working closely with fellow staff members. Serving side-by-side with a Godly church staff is a joy and a privilege.

5. Watching church children be children. Children provide lots a good laughs as well as constant reminders of what really matters. Children helped to keep us young-minded!

6. Seeing people become passionate about Jesus. This is especially rewarding from a pastor’s perspective. The process of disciple-making never gets old.

7. Being passionate about Jesus. Serving as pastor helps to fuel my passion for Jesus and for His Word. Knowing that your church members look to you for spiritual guidance and strength is a strong motivator.

8. Helping a church refocus for effectiveness. Every church needs to refocus on an ongoing basis. Leading a church towards a new, more effective focus is very rewarding.

9. Leading. Churches are desperate for Godly, visionary leadership. Without question, the pastor is the KEY leader of the church.

10. Following. Leaders need to model being a good follower. In other words, they should not micro-manage their staff or those who lead ministries in the church.

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3 Keys to a Successful Year

Success

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13-14, ESV

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church at Philippi, he gives us insight into his personal walk with the Lord.  You could call it a “formula for success” or as I prefer, “keys to success in our walk with the Lord.”

THREE KEYS TO SUCCESS IN 2015

1.  Release the past.  The Apostle Paul said, “….But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind….” (Vs. 13).  He is not saying that he actually lost memory of the past, he is saying that he put the past in the proper place–behind him!  He knew that the past can cause us to lose focus on the present and block our vision of the future.  He knew that the past can sometimes riddle us with guilt, lure us, haunt us, taunt us, rob us of intensity and passion, and even cause us to rest on our laurels.  Regardless of what we faced in 2014, let’s learn, let go, and move forward.

2.  Reach for the future.  Paul seems to say, “don’t look back, but BE SURE to look forward.”  He describes it as “…..straining toward what is ahead.”  I can remember running my first 10K race when I was 30-yrs.-old.  Because of my excitement, I started the race at a pace that was too fast for my fitness level.  As a result, my side began to hurt at mile 3 and I desperately wanted to stop and walk.  At that point, I saw my wife standing on the side of the road, so I didn’t want to quit in front of her.  Somehow, I kept plodding along and shortly after I passed the 5-mile marker, I saw the finish line about a mile away.  Something about seeing the finish line lifted my spirits and injected bounce in my step.  I finished fairly strong even though I had almost stopped to walk just a few miles earlier.  Paul seems to say that he keeps the finish line in view and it encourages him to do his best.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, let’s set some goals for 2015–spiritual goals, financial goals, vocational goals, fitness goals, nutritional goals.  Let’s “reach” for those goals day-by-day throughout this new year.

3.  Run for the prize.  What is Paul talking about when he talks about “the prize”?  We know he is not saying that we can live in such a way that we earn salvation because he just said in Vs. 9 that righteousness is “through faith in Christ.”  I believe Paul is saying that he is running for the goal of pleasing Jesus with his life and running for the satisfaction of knowing that he gave his best.  He is saying what he later says in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  If God tarries His coming and if He allows us to live to see 2016, I pray that we will be able to say the same about the way we served the Lord in 2015.

PRAYER:  “Lord, please help us remember the lessons you taught us in 2014, but Lord, help us to release last year and not relive it.  Help us to see Your plan and goals for 2015 and strain towards them in the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Help us to cherish your divine approval as our highest prize!  Be glorified in our lives!  Amen.”

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Church Revitalization & The Great Commission

priorityThe past few weeks I have been privileged to travel around Kentucky and speak to several pastors at the annual gathering of their associations.  As I began to pray about what I should share with them, God laid Matthew 28:16-20 on my heart.  Although He had been teaching and modeling “The Great Commission” principles for the last 3 1/2 years with the disciples, since they were so important, He gave them a final, post-resurrection reminder!  Here’s my sermon in a nutshell:

16  Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17  And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) 

 Three Post-Resurrection Reminders for the Disciples

1.  He reminded them about His POWER.   Jesus had already taught and demonstrated His power to the disciples.  They were there when He gave sight to the blind.  They watched the infected skin of the lepers become perfect and unblemished.  They heard him yell, “Lazarus, come forth!”  They’re looking at him, now alive, after coming back from the dead, yet He STILL reminded them about His power.  He said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Vs. 19).  “His authority or power in his earthly life had been great. Now it is boundless and includes earth and heaven” (A.T. Robertson).  WHY?  Why did Jesus feel the need to remind them one more time?  Jesus knew there would be times in the future when the disciples would need every possible reminder of His power!

2.  He reminded them about his PRIORITY.  In this reminder, we find the keys to unlock church growth and revitalization.  Forgetting to focus on God’s priority insures that a church will not flourish in the eyes of God.  He told them to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Vv. 19-20).  In other words, Jesus reminded them that His priority was for them to focus on evangelism and discipleship!  When churches place priorities above evangelism and discipleship they are destined for decline.

3.  He reminded them about His PRESENCE.  He said, “….I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Vs. 20).  They spent the last 3 1/2 years with Jesus.  With His presence, they had gone through storms, faced persecution, walked on water, but now, He was going away.  Jesus knew that they needed to be reminded about His continuing presence through the Holy Spirit.  It seems to me that Matthew 28:20 links back to Matthew 1:23 where the angel announced “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us.”  What a glorious way to began this Gospel acount and what a glorious reminder as we close this Gospel account, GOD IS WITH US!

Churches should continually focus on evangelism and discipleship with the knowledge that God is all-powerful in helping the church fulfill His priority while assuring His presence during the process!  TO HIM BE PRAISE!!!

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RED

What is it about the color red that gets our attention?  Just drive through our subdivision and you’ll see that about half the home-owners have painted their front door red.  Get a work assignment back at school and the teacher’s comments are generally in red.  Most ads that catch our attention contain red.  There’s just something about the color!

That’s also true when it comes to the Bible.  Although all the words in the Bible are truly the Words of God, the words in red usually garner extra respect.  Red-letter Bibles have become so common that it’s easy to assume they have been around for as long as Bibles have been printed, but the first red-letter New Testament was not published until 1899.  The first red-letter Bible followed two years later.

According to the Crossway.org website, the idea of printing the words of Christ in red originated with Louis Klopsch, editor of Christian Herald magazine. Klopsch was a close friend of such contemporaries as T. DeWitt Talmage, D.L. Moody, and Ira Sankey. Klopsch was an early supporter of Moody’s Bible Institute in Chicago, rallying Christian Herald readers to send in contributions for the financially strapped school. In his eighteen years as proprietor of Christian Herald, Klopsch raised more than three billion dollars for relief work throughout the world.

In my fall sermon series we will take a closer look at some of the words written in red.  Every sermon will be based upon the very words of Jesus; the words that are written in red in a red-letter edition of the Bible.

Plan now to be present every Sunday if possible.  Remember that you can also access our Sunday sermons at www.shelbyvillebaptist.com.

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