[dc]I[/dc]nterim ministry can be quite a ride. The thoughts, emotions and concerns ebb and flow. Sometimes the ride is calm and soothing but other times it feels like a whitewater, white knuckle cauldron!
Today I feel like I’m traveling in two directions at once.
I’m in the odd place of knowing that yesterday (week three of the interim) was a good day but also feeling like I didn’t get the job done in the sermon. I don’t feel I delivered the goods.
What marks an interim pastor’s success?
Yesterday we achieved several important milestones that indicate things are moving in the right direction:
- A few folks that left for various reasons over the past year have filtered back in. The grapevine tells us that more of the flock who have trodden other paths for a while will likely return.
- A couple of last week’s first time church visitors returned yesterday. I had the opportunity to chat with one couple who are in “church search” mode. Our casual conversation made it clear that God is doing something in their lives. I sure would like to be a part of that!
- Once again I saw a very healthy spiritual sign in the Board of Elders: the ability to disagree without being disagreeable and the ability to work through that disagreement until consensus was achieved. I can’t stress how important it is for any relationship group – there must be enough trust in the group that people can be open about their thoughts and feelings.
- People are beginning to look to me for leadership, not just pulpit supply
How does an interim pastor know when the sermon doesn’t connect?
- For whatever reason – I’m sure I’ll never know fully – I just didn’t feel like things “clicked” in the sermon. I labored rather than sensing the free flowing and invigorating sense that the Lord so often blesses me with when I deliver the Word.
- But when we got into the Elder’s meeting (it was a “dry run” for the upcoming business meeting) several comments told me that for some there was game-changing information.
The sermon was about pastors. I suggested that there were some things about the nature of pastoral ministry they needed to know so they’d be better positioned to make a wise choice. Two main points with a 3rd as conclusion:
- Jesus gives temporary shepherds to nourish, protect and nurture the church (Ephesians 4:11-16)
- Jesus stations permanent shepherds to fend for the flock (Acts 20:17ff – I take the view that Elders are pastors)
- The purpose of the pastors’ ministry – both temporary and permanent – is to enable the church to increase numerically (that’s my understanding of _oikodomeÅ)
The exegesis was solid, the theology was sound and the sermon outline made sense.
But I just didn’t “feel it” yesterday. But, in the end, that makes no difference.
Next week I start into a lengthy sermon series – an overview of God’s mission – that spans from Genesis to Revelation.