You’re an interim pastor looking for the next call. A potential client church is toying with the idea of retaining your services. After the first consult you get a gut feeling that something’s not right.


If you don’t dig further or if you jump in because you need the job you may wake up one day in a mess that’s going to leave a bruise, maybe even a permanent scar.

Interim pastors should have a predetermined way to screen potential client churches. Having these questions answered ahead of time minimizes the likelihood of making a bad decision under the duress of needing or wanting a job.

In my years of vocation as an interim pastor I’ve developed my own disqualifying list. From personal experience and that of my colleagues I’ve learned that there are certain churches that don’t make the cut.

There are at least 10 churches I would not serve as an interim pastor:

  1. A church that will not contractually give me the needed authority (if it is an autonomous church)
  2. A church whose executive will not give me the needed authority (if it is not an autonomous church)
  3. A church that will not cover my expenses and pay at least 1/2 salary
  4. A church in litigation with its former pastor
  5. A church that is mobile
  6. A church that insists I do counseling
  7. A church that wants a favored staff member to do the preaching
  8. A  church that has staff members on the governing Board
  9. A church that has doctrinal positions I can’t “preach around”
  10. A church in foreclosure (not default, foreclosure)

Where do you draw the line?

These are the churches that don’t make the cut for me. Chances are you’ve got a different qualification list. Every interim pastor should. What’s yours?

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