The right way to hire an interim pastor – Part 2

The first article in this series offered guidance on three issues that churches considering retaining an interim pastor need to address.

  1. Deciding on the kind of interim pastor your church should retain.
  2. Determining the cost of retaining an interim pastor (and what a church stands to lose if it doesn’t)
  3. The church board’s first task in preparing the congregation for the interim pastor and the transition period.


This article touches two issues:

  1. How do you evaluate an interim pastor?
  2. How do you avoid a “paycheck” interim pastor?


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7 simple steps to 1st rate church hospitality


friendly-churchWhen was the last time you visited a place that billed itself as “the unfriendliest church in town?”

Me either.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to one. But they’re out there in spirit if not in name. Tim Dolan reports that one of his lay ministry students found one.

As an assignment, I encouraged my students to put on their “visitor hat” and attend a local church service to find out for themselves. Normally, students do not take me up on these kinds of challenges. Barb did. Barb attended a worship service as a first time visitor the very next Sunday and reported back to me what she had experienced.

Barb’s experience at this church confirmed what I feared. No one greeted her at the door when she entered the church building. A man standing in the narthex did not know what time the service began… No one greeted her as she entered the sanctuary and sat down. One woman came along with a bus load of children and gave Barb that “you’re sitting in our pew” glare… When Barb went forward for communion, the pastor simply stared at her and said nothing. Just a blank stare.

After the service, not one person came up to her or greeted her. After what seemed like an eternity, Barb finally left. As she entered the parking lot, she noticed the pastor fully engaged with a church member, so she quietly slipped away.

Is it an understatement to say that “churches are not always as welcoming to first time visitors as they like to think they are”? Church hospitality needs to be continually refreshed. Pastor, this is so important that you can’t afford to delegate this to just anyone. Find someone with passion about church hospitality!

Simple things please church visitors (more…)

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Can megachurches be church visitor friendly?

A colleague of mine once visited a mega-church in southern California while on vacation. The 6,000 seat auditorium was filled to capacity that Sunday morning. He was quite surprised when, during the ritual exchange of the secret Churchman’s handshake, an elderly lady made her way down the aisle from several rows back to greet him with a, “Hi, this is your first time here, isn’t it?”

He was flabbergasted! “Yes, it is. How did you know?”

“Because you’re sitting in my seat.”

According to my friend this is a true story.

Church visitors: opportunity and challenge


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6 ways to show grace when feeling grumpy

One Sunday morning he slept through the alarm. He just didn’t feel up for church.

His wife elbowed him. “Get up. You’ll be late to church.”

“I don’t want to go today. I’m tired. The people at that church aren’t nice to me. They are unfriendly, they say things behind my back and I feel like they’re always waiting for me to make a mistake, so they can pounce.”

“Well that’s too bad. You have to go. You’re the interim pastor.”

Have you ever felt like that?

Of course you have. You are an interim pastor. You deal with cantankerous saints, engage in spiritual warfare, carry the burden of spiritual care and deal with all your own stuff.

But feeling grumpy is just that – a feeling. Although it is more difficult for some than others to learn, it is still a fact: you have control over your behavior regardless of how you feel. You have within your grasp the tools needed to be gracious when feeling grumpy.

Here are six.


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1 powerful technique to revolutionize church hospitality

Turnaround pastors have a unique opportunity to permanently change the trajectory of church hospitality.

Our “information gathering” in churches doesn’t even capture the majority of guests. Auxano research shows that five to eight percent of your worshipping community will self-identify as guests. Therefore the number of guests in one year is: [ (Ave. weekly worship attendance) x (.05) x (52)]

  • Will Mancini

Two factors work in your favor. First, you have more church visitors in a year than you think.

Second, you have a great deal of freedom because the church hired you to guide them thru change!

In this article I want to share with you one powerful technique that will rock your next church visitor’s world. By recognizing and using the power of narrative you can make it one of the most attractive and hospitable churches a church visitor will ever encounter.

Recognize the power of narrative


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Give church visitors a fresh face to look at

Church greeters who serve well are essential to the church that wants to convert church visitors into church members. They are the picket line, the gatekeepers of an effective assimilation process.

I’ve written elsewhere that how a church visitor perceives the church’s friendliness is crucial in church visitors returning for a second visit Thom Rainer’s research confirms this. His book,  Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them, lists friendliness as #3 on the list of factors that determine whether visitors return. He cites the following factors:

  1. The Pastor and the preaching
  2. The doctrines of the church
  3. The friendliness of the congregation

The battle for return church visitors is waged in the lobby


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