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Frequently asked questions regarding Intentional Interim Ministry.

How does one go about getting an Intentional Interim Ministry pastor?

Email to find out whom to contact in your district about getting an Intentional Interim Ministry pastor.

How long does an Intentional Interim Ministry pastor serve a congregation?

This depends on many factors, but typically from one year to two years. The factors depend on the condition of the congregation, the depth of the challenge at hand and congregational leadership. Length of interim ministry is one of the early conversations a congregation will have with a potential interim pastor. It should be noted, as a congregation prepares to receive its next resident pastor, the length of the call is not as important as the health of the church.

Can I get the same benefits from a vacancy pastor as from an intentional interim minister?

A vacancy pastor does meet certain needs of congregations, but is not trained to provide ministry, insight and guidance during the times of transition or crisis.

What is the involvement of the district?

Some districts provide and sustain an Intentional Interim Ministry program that includes consultation and supervision. In all cases, the district president and staff will be involved in helping to determine the need for an intentional interim minister and, additionally, help the congregation formulate goals and parameters for the interim period. The district can also assist in identifying an intentional interim minister to serve the congregation.

What is the structure of Intentional Interim Ministry training?

The training program consists of Basic Training in Transitions (Phase 1 online and Phase 2 on-site, residential, followed by Phase 3 fieldwork. This Basic Education qualifies a pastor as a candidate for Intentional Interim Ministry. Contact www.lutma.org for detailed information.

It is highly recommended that pastors attend a discernment webinar or equivalent before entering Basic Education. Contact: www.lutma.org or

In addition there is continuing education that is normally under the auspices of either the Lutheran Transitional Ministry Association (LuTMA) or the Interim Ministry Network (IMN). These training programs are offered annually at various sites. Some districts offer an initial training course plus required attendance at advanced educational workshops per year for work exclusively within those districts.

What is the process a church will go through?

There are five interactive areas of development (or focus points) a congregation will typically explore through its Transition Team during the Intentional Interim Ministry period. See: CCH Intro Video

  1. Heritage - Reviewing its historical heritage with appreciation, honesty, and transparency - talking through the issues, strengths, and challenges of the past to be able to go forward.

  2. Mission - Renewing identity, purpose, and vision, the congregation gets clarity about why she exists and what opportunities are being provided.

  3. Leadership - A new pastor often brings along shifts in lay leadership and a chance to review organization, governance, and staffing.

  4. Connections - Strengthening the congregation’s relationships with the circuit, district, and synod, as well as those in the community setting, help them to focus beyond themselves.

  5. Future - Exploring new directions for ministry and mission, the congregation describes herself (profile) and the pastoral leadership gifts necessary to be ready for a Divine Call—answering the question: “What is God calling us to do, at this time and in this place?"

Each interim ministry process has unique emphases depending on the goals agreed upon by the congregation in agreement with the District and the Intentional Interim Pastor. Congregations that have experienced trauma, misconduct, or extreme conflict may require specially trained pastors.

How do I start an Intentional Interim Ministry program in my district?

Intentional Interim Ministry is available to all districts, even if they do not have their own program. A district interested in setting up its own program can call the Interim Ministry Conference for a presentation. Representatives are available to explain in further detail how Intentional Interim Ministry works.

The Interim Ministry Conference, LCMS, will work with you to tailor interim ministry to your needs. Districts with these programs have developed different and creative services.

Representatives can also make presentations at conferences and offer training through NALIP for those interested in becoming interim pastors.


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