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The difference between intentional interim ministers and vacancy pastors.

While both intentional interim ministers and vacancy/interim 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. Has 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 visioning. Vacancies are often viewed as "not a time to change anything."
Preaches and conducts Bible class, usually every Sunday. Guest pastors are often used on Sundays.
Works to understand what is happening and ministers in a timely, sensitive and relevant manner. May not be aware of the issues surrounding the congregation.
Helps congregations and individuals handle their grief - especially in instances where there has been conflict or breach of trust. Rarely deals with grief processes.


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