What is an Interim Pastor?
The responsibilities of the PASTOR part of the title are simple. From the N.A.L.C. congregation constitution:
The duties of the pastor will consist of but not be limited to the following;
1) preach the Word;
2) administer the sacraments;
3) conduct public worship;
4) provide pastoral care; and
5) speak publicly to the world in solidarity with the poor and oppressed calling for justice and proclaiming God’s love for the world.
b. Each ordained minister with a congregational call shall, within the congregation:
1) offer instruction, confirm, marry, visit the sick and distressed, and bury the dead;
2) supervise all schools and organizations of this congregation;
3) install regularly elected members of the Congregation Council; and
4) with the council administer discipline.
c. Every pastor shall:
1) seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel and strive to extend the Kingdom of God in the community, in the nation, and abroad;
2) impart knowledge of this church and its wider ministry through distribution of its periodicals and other publications.
To accomplish these responsibilities, I am available 24 hours a day/7days a week. I will set up office hours as soon as I arrive at All Saints Lutheran. I can be reached at any time at 740-794-1001. I also will set up a day off each week.
The INTERIM part of the title is not as easily defined. The period in between pastors, is not an easy time for congregations. After a pastorate, there is a temptation to try to “replace” the pastor immediately. There is an attempt to rush the Call process and often the real ministry needs of the congregation are overlooked. There is a fear that without a pastor, ministries will fail, and congregation attendance and support may be reduced. The result is often a bad match between pastor and congregation and the fears become real.
The interim ministry allows time to breathe. Time for the congregation to deal with the loss of the former pastor and to move on to a future ministry. It provides time to continue ministry while deciding through prayer and thought, where the ministry of the congregation needs to be going. It allows time for the Holy Spirit to shape the people of God to hear and follow the voice of Christ.
As an Intentional Interim, I will not be available for a Call to the congregation. The work I am doing as an Intentional Interim is needed throughout our denomination. I am committed to the North American Lutheran Church through the Rev. Dr. Wendel to serve in this ministry.
I will for the next several months want to hear the stories of all the members of All Saints Lutheran. This will allow me to help meet the needs of the congregation as we move forward to the call process for your next pastor. Hearing your stories will allow me to know who you are as disciples of the Lord and give you opportunities to seek the “match” in a pastor that will faithfully aid you in serving our Lord. To accomplish this, I will be available to all members of the congregation. I will work with your leadership and all the various ministries of All Saints Lutheran.
As pastor, I will pray for you, care for you (whether we agree or disagree) and share the love of Christ with you. As interim, the only question will be “How does this serve the mission of Jesus Christ?” There may be a temptation to want what is thought of as “idea” pastor. Time and prayer will allow us to seek the Lord’s guidance. If we seek His face and His will first, then His grace and Holy Spirit will guarantee His blessing.
Your fellow servant in Christ,
Pastor Scott Baker