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The Intentional Interim Ministry Difference -
the difference between intentional interim ministers and vacancy pastors.

Both intentional interim ministers and vacancy pastors can provide clear benefits to congregations, these two models of ministry are actually quite distinct and need to be thought of as different ministries, as the following chart shows:

Intentional Interim Minister Vacancy Pastor
Part-time to full-time status provides stability and reduces anxiety. Rarely serves full time. Purpose is not to provide a full range of pastoral services.
Has special training and experience in effective transition facilitation. May have little or no training in transition facilitation.
Sustains the on-going programs and ministries. Often only covers basic pastoral functions.
Helps make the transition time an ideal time for dramatic renewal. Can deal with past problems, creating stronger internal structure and vision. Vacancies are often viewed as "not a time to change anything."
Preaches and conducts Bible class, usually every Sunday. Guest pastors may be used on Sundays.
Works to understand what is happening and ministers in a timely, sensitive and relevant manner. May not be aware of or deal with the issues surrounding the congregation and its well-guarded secrets.
Helps congregations and individuals handle their grief and sense of loss - especially in instances where there has been conflict, breach of trust, or long term pastorate. Rarely deals with grief processes.
Facilitates visioning for future mission and Ministry. Maintains congregational stability while awaiting the next resident pastor.


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