I Need Your Help Learning More About Intentional Interim Ministers, by Pr. Rossow

A congregation has just gone vacant. It used to be that a vacancy pastor was assigned. Now I hear of “Intentional Interim Pastors” going into vacancy congregations. I have seen the intentional interim process from a distance and have had some serious questions about it. I have recently had opportunity to view it a little more close-up and have even more reservations about it.

A congregation is in a very fragile state during a vacancy. They may have just lost a fine pastor or just gone through a difficult pastorate. Either way, it is a fragile time. Some of the stories that I have heard is that intentional interims come in and seek to make some changes during the vacancy. Does that seem right? Shouldn’t the congregation wait until its next called shepherd arrives before they think about making changes. In my recent close up look I noticed that the intentional interim led the congregation through the process of writing a new constitution. Wow! That does not seem like an interim project.

I would like the BJS readers/bloggers help in learning the history of the intentional interim program. Where did it start? Who is responsible for bringing it into the LCMS? Who gets an intentional interim? And so forth and so on. Help me out here if you know anything about this program, know of any good stories and horror stories coming out of intentional interim and any other helpful insights or resources you might have.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


I Need Your Help Learning More About Intentional Interim Ministers, by Pr. Rossow — 77 Comments

  1. While I agree an intentional interim is not there to make major changes, he ought to at least suggest changes that they might want to consider. Like being prepared to move the secretary out of the parsonage if the incoming pastor wants to use the parsonage. Like being prepared to have a pastor’s study in the church, even a small one, if the incoming pastor wants to use the parsonage. Like having a plan in place to fix up the parsonage if the incoming pastor wants to use the parsonage, and not have the incoming pastor worry if the moving truck carrying all his possessions will arrive before he can put them in the parsonage.

  2. I have seen this in action and it has some good points. The intentional interim is just that.
    This is their speciality. Hopefully they will bring the congregational to a point of health where the new permanent pastor can start on a good basis with some of the problems already resolved.

  3. In the ELCA, the original purpose of the intentional interim was that he be used only for
    a parish that definitely needed to go through a healing process. Perhaps the parish had
    gone through a scandal with the pastor’s moral life or there was a crisis in the parish
    that had split them 50/50. The intentional interim was suppose to lead the parish for a
    minimum of one year to help them achieve unity of purpose. This would help the next
    pastor arrive with hopefully the parish on the same page. I have no idea how this position
    came to the LCMS.

  4. The Northern Illinois District of the LC-MS used to have called “intentional interim” pastors who would be sent to congregations that requested such a service during a vacancy. I believe they were used much like what Rev. Knuth describes. However, the NID Board of Directors got out of that business at the beginning of our current District President’s tenure, several years ago. We no longer have intentional interims in the NID. I do not know about other districts.

  5. If a person agrees it’s a good thing for the synod to hire madison avenue marketing consultants, he would likely also appreciate intentional interim hirelings. I wouldn’t call them pastors, belly-servers would be more accurate. We experienced one several years ago. The only good thing about it was it was short. Rev Gerold W Goetz wrote a paper you can find here http://www.confessionallutherans.org/papers/goetz.html comparing intentional interim ministry to the word of God.

  6. when I was in high school my church had an intentional interim. His contract (yes, that’s what it was) was for two years. He stayed two and a half and by then we finally had a senior pastor. He came in during a senior pastor vacancy that was having trouble being filled. He stepped on a lot of toes, led (I think directly) to an associate pastor leaving, and was rather aloof throughout his tenure. It was not a good experience. Perhaps my parents would have more horror stories. I was just a youth group kid who noticed things were not getting better with the guy who was supposed to prepare us for a new senior pastor… maybe that was the idea. Give us a guy so impersonal and unlikeable that whoever came in afterward would have a longer honey-moon period.

  7. I’ve seen situations where intentional interims sabotaged those who followed them, even after the call was a officially made. It’s anecdotal, but was very disheartening at the time.

  8. So interim pastors can come in a author some changes… What is really unhealthy about that is he is “making his bed but not sleeping in it.” he can do thing she wants, and if they don’t take, and the congregation get scontentious, who cares, because he’ll be gone soon an dwon’t have to deal with the aftermeth. A very bad opening to be exploited.

    And it should be blatantly obvious this is a bad idea. He is contracted, not called. He is to perform specific tasks, which may not necessarily be shepherding the flock. Sometimes reading and participating on this site makes me wonder why so many want to be Lutheran, when they do so much to undermine the Confessions. But at least we try to encourage one another to resist the Devil’s schemes. I do pray for God’s blessing on our synod.

    Iterim minister = bad idea. If a person cannot commit to any one place, does this correlate to not being committed to ideas and beliefs? Like say Scripture and the Conffessions…

  9. I think I know one of those “Intentional Interim Pastors”. He is serving just south of Chicago…is that the Northern Illinois District? His working schedule is, imho, not healthy. I think he is under a lot of pressure. He commutes long distances to serve the parish. I have my reservations as to the effectiveness of such a program….

  10. I have had two indirect experiences with intentional interims. One experience was okay but the other was not. In theory, they come to a congregation with problems and help the congregation work through the problems so they will be “healthy” when a pastor is called. In one congregation, there had been deep divide over the former pastor who left under pressure. The interim seemed to help the congregation move on and get prepared to call a new pastor. The only bad thing was that it seemed to take such a long time, over two and a half years. I think they were ready to call after about a year and a half.

    In the other situation the intentional interim was brought in to help institute change. What happened in actuality was the interim peddled CoWO and church growth theology. It seemed the DP felt the congregation was too liturgical and confessional so changes needed to be made.

  11. Intentional Interim Ministers:

    a) A plan to give really sweet gigs in semi-retirement to liberal has-beens in a desperate effort to keep “significant” congregations as long as possible out of the hands of young confessionals creeping up the demographic ladder.

    b) In many districts forced upon congregations that are holding out and still semi-confessional or semi-liturgical, in the guise of “healing,” often after the long tenure of a faithful pastor, so that a liberal “burn” pastor can violently undo his years of faithful labor, tear them away from their confessional moorings, and force upon them contemporary worship in particular. (In contrast, liberal and contemporary worship congregations, which are usually the WORST basket cases in every regard, NEVER need “healing.”)

    c) The pool they are almost exclusively drawn from is prominent liberals who supported Seminex but never actually left, in particular retired liberal district presidents and their old college and seminary roommates, buddies, and brothers-in-law.

    d) What the “Old Lutherans” derisively called the “Synod man.” Beware the man who shows up at your confessional congregation and declares, “I’m from the district, and I’m here to help you.”

    ‘Nuff said.

  12. I guess I fail to see the actual pastoral logic behind a temporary man in a pulpit. Wouldn’t it be best to expedite the call process so that a patient new pastor can come into a troubled situation and care for the congregation? That way the congregation could grow to regain trust in the pastoral office and in their lifelong called pastor (instead of a temporary one). It seems that actual healing would be best served in the stability that only a called pastor can provide. I think the experiences and training of these specialized pastors could be used to provide counsel to the called pastor in that place. I understand that some pastors would fail in being patient enough to take a hurting congregation and helping them heal, I am not sure that would warrant going to a different system.

  13. Is a divine call a divine call or isn’t it?

    If it is, then consider this: Does an intentional interim pastor have a divine call?

    Also consider: Shouldn’t the congregation be placing a divine call?

    Another question: Does a divine call have a known time limit?

  14. For the last several summers, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis has offered
    a training seminar for intentional interim pastors. The fee was several
    hundred dollars and it was necessary to take 2 complete seminars
    to be accepted for any duty in the Synod.

  15. In the past–even a really conflicted congregation was served by one of the men in the circuit. This man took on the extra duties because there was the desire to help fellow saints. It also meant that the one from the circuit knew something about the congregation such as its needs, its like/dislike of the previous pastor and so much more. With the intentional interim pastor, he knows nothing of this–he would only know what the DP would tell him. I think time is wasted by the interim coming in and have to get to know some of the things that were right/wrong during the last pastoral period.

    In the past if a pastor had served more than 10 years at a place it was thought that the next man along would have some problems/challenges but would upon his leaving, leave a more smooth time for the next one. Now we have the interim, who as some have said, may bring about more problems than they can fix.

    I am convinced that the old way was the best way no matter how conflicted or how good the feelings of a congregation may or may not be.

  16. Pastor Joshua Scheer :I guess I fail to see the actual pastoral logic behind a temporary man in a pulpit. Wouldn’t it be best to expedite the call process so that a patient new pastor can come into a troubled situation and care for the congregation? That way the congregation could grow to regain trust in the pastoral office and in their lifelong called pastor (instead of a temporary one). It seems that actual healing would be best served in the stability that only a called pastor can provide. I think the experiences and training of these specialized pastors could be used to provide counsel to the called pastor in that place. I understand that some pastors would fail in being patient enough to take a hurting congregation and helping them heal, I am not sure that would warrant going to a different system.

    I agree. There seems to be this perception, now standard procedure, that Word and Sacrament ministry ala AC V is not enough, that a congregation needs someone “specially trained” to straighten them out first. And that, by definition, is motivation and change via the law. The Gospel is insufficient- Jesus needs some help.

    Lord, have mercy.

  17. Simply put, I don’t see an Intentional Interim being able to do anything more than what the vacancy pastor/s and district can and should do, even in a “conflicted” or “tragedy-stricken” (pastor dies suddenly in office, e.g.) congregation, while they simply go about calling the new pastor God has for them, who will shepherd them with the Word of Christ, with his own clay feet and all, just like any IIM “pastor” has. And beyond that, there are serious theological questions about the whole practice that have never been adequately answered. In short, IIM gives no *real* advantage, and has several serious disadvantages, not least of which is questionable theology underneath it.

    Intentional Interim Ministry is just another example of our *lack* of trust–both as pastors and districts, and as laity in vacant congregations–in the Word of God. We have to come up with a new (and questionable) idea to try to “fix” problems among God’s people, instead of trusting the God really does work through His Word and Sacraments.

  18. Some insights from an ELCA pastor who has seen IIM at work in the ELCA.

    First, we must distinguish the theory from the practice. IIM was suppose to be used for only exceptional situations. The two most often mentioned are very long term ministries and congregations experiencing serious conflict with the past pastor i.e. removed from office because of sexual misconduct etc. The theory is that these kinds of congregations has special needs and if a pastor is trained to deal with them, the transition will go smoother. In simple terms, the IIM takes all the grief and allows the next man to have an easier time. Certainly in my present call that happened. I followed a man who had an affair and IIM worked with the congregation for six months while they were actively calling. He was a God send.

    However, theory and practice don’t match today. Today almost every ELCA is encouraged to have an IIM. This slows down the call process. I have heard rumors of something like 20% of parishes served by IIM at any one time in some synods.

    That brings us to the second point, the character of IIM pastors. Healthy older pastors who serve a couple of interims at the end of their active ministry are not the problem. It is professional interims that are the problem. They are universally disliked by ordinary clergy. First, because they are arrogant know it alls. They love to trash the past pastor and explain how they are fixing the congregation. Second, because they often are people who couldn’t actually serve a congregation as a actual permanent pastor. Indeed many are failed parish pastors who have figured out that congregations can only stand them for 9 months!

    Third, IIM are always company men. A DP or SP (ELCA) would never have a IIM who wasn’t loyal to him. Sycophants is the term that comes to mind. Now if a person likes the direction that the larger church body is going, fine. If not there is a problem.

    In any case that’s what it looks like from the ELCA

  19. Our DP seems very fixated on this thing for every vacant congregation. (seems) In our town 2 of 5 parishes have the interim contract worker. He tried to get our parish to accept one during our last vacancy. We impolitely said “fahgetaboutit.” In one parish the man has been the interim since 2006. Some longtime, active and interested members have left during his tenure. I really do not know if things are better for it. The hear-say indicates not so much. When I talked to an elder at the second parish and he joyfully told me the congregation was going to get a interim, I asked him why they would do that, it’s a contract worker. He was not able to give me much of an answer. Tells me they were only doing it because the District thinks it’s a good idea. Too many congregations (like people) don’t think for themselves anymore.

  20. nbfzman :
    Is a divine call a divine call or isn’t it?
    If it is, then consider this: Does an intentional interim pastor have a divine call?
    Also consider: Shouldn’t the congregation be placing a divine call?
    Another question: Does a divine call have a known time limit?

    If you shoot down the Intentional Interim Minister with those questions, doesn’t a good old fashioned vacancy pastor fail the same test?

    As to the congregation placing the divine call, I would say “it’s complicated” for two reasons. 1) A divine call comes from the Lord, but he uses a congregation to issue it. Yeah, we can talk about the congregation issuing a call, but it’s like saying that the pastor baptized someone. No, he didn’t, but the Lord used that pastor’s hands to baptize that person. 2) When a vacant congregation fills out the paperwork to call a seminary graduate, they usually sign over their choice to the placement process, right? So they don’t get to pick which graduate they get (though they can tell their DP or the Placement Director who they’d like or what they’re looking for in a candidate and there are sometimes interviews). And as this pertains to the Intentional Interim Minister, is it not the case that the DP can suggest that a congregation should have an IIM, and that they consent to it? I don’t think a DP can place an IIM against the will of a congregation. Just like a congregation consents to have a seminary graduate placed with them, they consent to have an IIM placed with them.

    Maybe I misunderstand, but I have been under the impression that the DP can suggest that a congregation should have an IIM, it doesn’t happen unless and until the congregation requests one.

  21. My church currently has an Intentional Interim Pastor. I want to clear up some of the false assumptions reflected in several of the comments above:

    1) An intentional interim pastor is called and installed by the congregation, just like any other pastor. The congregation still has to do whatever their constitution delineates for calling a new pastor (in our case, a call committee, a call list, etc.). The biggest difference is that the congregation cannot populate the call list unless they already know any of the intentional interim pastors, thus the DP provides all names considered. Also, the call is not tenured, but a renewable contract is extended.

    2) According to our DP, the synod has around 30 approved intentional interim pastors right now – hardly the epidemic some are portraying.

    3) Intentional interims are only supposed to be called in specific situations (pastoral sexual misconduct in our case, followed by a messy attempt by the previous pastor to get the church to vote itself out of the LCMS so he could remain the pastor).

    4) Intentional interims are contracted by the congregation to focus their time in the pastorate on particular healing goals formulated by the congregation in conjunction with the DP. The contract is immediately void on the acceptance of a call by a new pastor.

    5) The intentional interim ministry network was originally started by non-Lutheran churches (Presbyterians, I believe), but the Synod, as shown above, has developed their own process.

    6) Our pastor is not yet retirement age and had never met our DP until our church had need of an intentional interim. Nepotism may drive some placements; it had nothing to do with ours.

    Now, the debate about the appropriateness of this role can still go on, but with some first-hand factual basis instead of speculation and second-hand anecdotes.

    Grace and peace,

  22. Any temporary calls are a bad idea. That is why in the past they have been condemned.

    There is a phenomenon in the world that seems to me to be much like temporary calls. It’s the “rebound boy/girlfriend”. The idea is that after a painful breakup, you do not want to date someone seriously until you’ve had time to heal, so instead you date someone whom you have no intention of being serious with for any length of time, then eventually dump them and get on with someone else. (Hence, an “intentional interim boy/girlfriend”)

    If real healing is desired in the congregation, it requires nothing less than the Word and Sacrament ministry of a pastor. Saying, “We are calling you for one year, but then you’re out,” is not a proper call, nor is it trusting that God will give healing through His Gospel gifts.

  23. @Rob #25

    Would you agree that your comments come entirely from what you have seen in your situation. Should they then be broad stroked any more than the comments you are deisring to clear up??

  24. Our congregation had an intentional interim pastor because it was thought [as I understood it] that because our retiring senior pastor had been here for many years, it would be easier on the new pastor if there was a bit of time between pastors and that we could take some time for a self-study to determine exactly what we wanted in a senior pastor. Since we had two wonderful assistant pastors, it wasn’t as hard on the people in the pew as if we’d had no pastor; but after three years [self-study plus two pastors called before the third one accepted] it was good to have a senior pastor again.

  25. My former congregation had an interim who was really retired, but did interim work as needed. He took many vacations and did very little work. We were all pretty stunned because it was expensive to, uh, hire him.

    Anyway, it seems like such interim pastors should really only fill in for true emergencies like when a pastor has to leave suddenly because of totally unforeseen circumstances like he passes away or something. Is that how it is now done?

    My former congregation’s pastor just simply retired. They knew it was coming, it seems they could have made an effort to get someone ready to take over as soon as he retired rather than have a rather disinterested interim pastor for over a year. I was in my 20’s and didn’t really know how all that worked. I still don’t really, but still. We didn’t have any problems before our pastor retired, rather the rudderless year or so, I think lead to problems.

  26. My (LCMS) brother is head elder at a church that currently has an intentional interim pastor. He is there because the congregation fired their last pastor and (because they are dying) only hire part time pastors. They’ve closed their school and can barely keep the lights on, but they want to stay open. They are working with the iPastor to address the issues that are killing them. They’ve dealt with everything from learning not how to chase visitors out of their “regular pews” (which, for some reason , was an issue) to piling all the work of a few members, to studying and understanding the role of the pastor. The iPastor has offended some people with his constant insistence that they do something in addition to unlocking the doors on Sun mornings. While it seems that most understand that they Confessional Lutheranism and evangelists are not mutually exclusive groups, there is a solid minority that try to shoot down everything proposed by iPastor and other members. They insist that midweek adult Bible Class, VBS, food pantries, and door-fliers inevitably lead to unionism and diluting doctrine. The iPastor, fortunately, isn’t looking for a mutli-year committment or afraid of being fired so he doesn’t have to risk his family’s financial wellbeing by telling this congregation the truth.
    I personally think they the congregation is already dead and might as well disband, but that’s just me.

  27. @Rev. Roger D. Sterle #27
    My point is that I am not talking about what happened in my relatives’ church, or a church I heard about. I went through the entire process as our congregation weighed what is an intentional interim pastor and what would calling one entail.

    Thus, I had first-hand information from our DP which I thought would be helpful: the original intent of Pr. Rossow’s post. Only the last point I made is anecdotal (that nepotism played no role in our congregation’s situation) and I noted it as such .

  28. God intentionally places men into the pastoral office. God intentionally removes men from the pastoral office. All Pastors are Intentional Interim Pastors.

    Human designations based on human intent are not relevant. That doesn’t prevent some folks from pretending otherwise, but their arguments that expedience trumps biblical revelation carry no weight.

  29. “the synod has around 30 approved intentional interim pastors right now”

    This figure is not credible to me. That would be LESS THAN ONE per each of the 35 LCMS districts. Here is the list just for the Missouri District, as listed in the current “Voice of Missouri”:

    Affton, Salem (Rev. Dr. Darrell Zimmerman)
    Emma, Holy Cross (Rev. Richard Swanson)
    Florissant, Salem (Rev. Gordon Beck)
    Lemay, Gethsemane (Rev. Roger Henning)
    Scott City, Eisleben (Rev. Dr. Richard Foss)

    If the figure of 30 is correct, just one of 35 districts has five of them, or 16%. I bet if others start reporting from their districts we will surpass the supposed figure of 30 very quickly. Maybe your district president meant there are 30 in your district?

    I remember about 20 years ago a pre-call meeting with the district president, who apparently was on the cutting edge and already then recommended a temporary pastor for a period of “evaluation and healing.” The church treasurer, a crusty university professor in her 70’s, said to the district president: “We don’t need to sit around staring at our belly buttons for a year. What we need is a PASTOR.”

  30. @Kebas #12

    Yes. What “Kebas” said.

    @Rob #25

    Pastors in the LCMS are not to be “tenured” (implies a working up to permanence) or “contracted” but called, to stay as long as the Lord wills.

    “Temporary” preachers lead pewsitters to think, “If we don’t like this guy, there’ll be another one along next year” instead of listening to and working with the Pastor.

    Down here, the accepted practice seems to be turning Lutheran congregations into “praise” organizations with II’s. [We’re Texas] 🙁

  31. @Josh Schroeder #24

    Who said I was trying to shoot down IIM with these questions? If the answer is that the IIM is a divine call, issued through the congregation, then the conversation is pretty much settled. Therefore, I think the central issue shouldn’t be speculation over people’s intentions, experiences, or pragmatics, but whether or not an IIM’s call is a divine call. The other questions I posted were questions related to this central issue. I’m not sure what the answers are, personally, so I threw them out there for discussion.

  32. Since I am serving a sister parish as an Intentional Interim Pastor I would be very happy to discuss some of the misconceptions, errors, and blatant garbage that have been spewed here. I would be happy to speak by phone, in person, or if you would like to list some questions that I can answer pertaining to my present Call situation at both the parishes that I serve.

  33. I’ve got an idea: Since we’re supposed to “run the church like a business,” let’s conduct a study of congregations that have had “intentional interim” ministers and determine factually what the actual results have been. I wouldn’t approve regardless, because I believe it violates God’s Word, but let’s judge them by their own standard of “practical results.” EVEN BY THAT STANDARD I am positive it is a DISASTER.

    Similar to the “Transforming Churches Network.” I once had a Synodical official tell me, with a straight face, “Well, of course the congregations that go through TCN actually drop in attendance and lose most of their membership, but that is the first step toward healing.” He likened it to chemotherapy nearly having to kill you in order to cure you, and added that the TCN process is really doing us all a favor if in some cases it ends up weeding out and closing down “weak” congregations that have been a “drag” on our Synod. Sort of like GM and Chrysler closing down all those underperforming dealerships.

    I am so thankful these atheological bozos who nearly did a TCN job on the whole Synod are history or headed that way.

  34. Rev. Ellul,

    I am curious why your congregations are not listed in the current “Voice of Missouri” as “Served by Intentional Interim Pastors” [http://www.mo.lcms.org/ClientData/1076/Assets/voices/february%20march%202011%20voice%20of%20missouri%20web.pdf — page 14] In that case there are six out of the supposed 30 “intentional interim” ministers or 20% in the Missouri District alone.

    However, regarding the congregation linked to your name, St. Paul, Jonesburg, the Synod’s web site indicates that you have been pastor there since 2005. Do you perhaps mean you are serving two congregations in a vacancy capacity rather than the formal “intentional interim” program?

  35. @Kebas #38
    “I am so thankful these atheological bozos who nearly did a TCN job on the whole Synod are history or headed that way.”

    Optimistic, I think!
    That would require housecleaning at the district level, too, in many cases.
    Texas has a good share of “intentionally unemployed w/o cause” Pastors, but the departed IC seems to have moved down here en masse, and oddly (?) enough, calls can be found for them!

  36. @Kebas #34
    That’s some Missouri-centric reasoning there. My district barely has thirty churches total – they are not all pastored by Intentional Interims. It wouldn’t surprise me one little bit if the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod had most of their Intentional Interim Pastors in the Missouri district. What percentage of total LCMS churches are in Missouri, for starters? Then compare that number to the percentage of Intentional Interim pastors. Then recognize that this is a relatively new thing and many (Pastor Rossow included) didn’t know much about it. Many of the people who did know about it are located, you guessed it, in Missouri. Starting to see my point?

    But regardless, that’s speculation. Ask your DP how many approved Intentional Interim Pastors there are. My DP was my source. Your source is?

  37. “the departed IC seems to have moved down here en masse, and oddly (?) enough, calls can be found for them!”

    I had the same thought when I got this month’s Missouri District newsletter:

    Other Calls:

    Krueger, Larry (assistant to the LCMS President, St. Louis) to Atonement, Metairie, LA (declined)

    Krueger, Larry (assistant to the LCMS President, St. Louis) to Word of Life, Surprise, AZ (declined)

    Krueger, Larry (assistant to the LCMS President, St. Louis) to Concordia, San Antonio, TX, as assistant pastor (accepted)

    Third time’s a charm I guess — in just one month!

  38. @Kebas #41

    Interesting… Pr. Schindler was interested at me former congregation a few years back. He had just lost (yes lost, he was running to hold his job) his election in South Dakota. He mentioned how SD was taking a more conservative route, and he was somewhat of a moderate. So what does that mean? And I looked up at lcms.org about him and his church in SD, some new SD native very recently being ordained and installed, both as seionr, but Schindler listed with two assignments (SD and TX). I just don’t know what to make of it until I go to read more webpages. Things just get so messy. So to the original post, insofar as what happened to a man being rightly called to A congregation? Is LCMS, Inc. really muddying up the definition of “pastor?”

  39. @Kebas #12

    I have to agree, Kebas. My district is considering this program for churches who lose their pastor. One situation I know of worked out well, as the congregation needed healing. The other was a strong confessional congregation where the interim attempted to adopt open communion within a month of two of being there. Fortunately, the elders remained strong and it never happened. I know of a number of IIM here in Florida.

  40. By my count we’re up to nine reported “intentional interim” ministers so far. Also I know that St. John, Rochester, Michigan, has TWO serving them at this time, which gives us 11:

    Rev. Gordon Beck
    Rev. Gary Ellul
    Rev. Dr. Richard Foss
    Rev. Richard Swanson
    Rev. Roger Henning
    Rev. Howard Patten
    Rev. Ray Scherbarth
    Rev. Stephen Schilke
    Rev. Vernon Schindler
    Rev. Dr. Thomas Zehnder
    Rev. Dr. Darrell Zimmerman

    Anyone know of any others? I think we could top 30 pretty quickly.

  41. And why are you not just asking your DP instead? Particularly given that the term “intentional interim pastor” might be misapplied to someone who hasn’t actually been credentialed by the synod. I was given a number of credentialed Intentional Interim Pastors by my DP. What’s your thinking for not doing the same?

  42. It makes no difference to me if they are “credentialled” or not. Indeed, I’ve been told that retired district presidents are on the “fast track” for “intentional interim” and are not required to be “credentialled” because it is assumed that by virtue of having held that office they are qualified, and I understand this has been extended to other retired district and synodical officials, retired pastors of some (church growth) congregations, etc.

    However, you will note that nevertheless in the references above both the synod’s Reporter and the South Dakota District newsletter officially describe two former district presidents as serving as “intentional interim,” regardless of whether or not they are “credentialled.”

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