Interim Ministry is a strange thing – it’s seven months now since I went to St Peter’s, Lutton Place, in Edinburgh. It wasn’t an easy moment and I had some fairly difficult times at the beginning. The Annual General Meeting was particularly memorable.
Interim Ministry isn’t really just about filling a space until a new appointment can be made. It uses the space as creatively as possible – partly to calm things down and partly also to provide the best possible starting point for the new ministry which will follow. That’s the John the Baptist bit – always having an eye towards the one who is coming.
I have quite enjoyed undertaking a series of development initiatives at about three times the speed which one would approach the same things in a long term ministry. But there is very little at stake for the Interim Pastor. I can revert to the retirement armchair any time.
At the moment I’m enjoying running some ‘Looking to the Future Groups’ – twenty five people have volunteered to take part in two groups. We are looking at – call it what you will – the future of the congregation or the vocation of the congregation or the beginnings of a mission plan. Of course I won’t have to turn any of this into policy and attempt to do it. But I think the material which comes out should go into the Congregational Profile so that ‘the one who comes after’ can see that the congregation is ‘up for this’
But this is a sort of high speed ministry. And after seven months, I’ve probably now done most of what I can. People have responded well and have be prepared to journey with me. And I have learned a lot too.