A Time of Transition (Visiting Church #23)
We attend a contemporary service at a Presbyterian church. Their interim minister gives a message on “Listening to God”; today is his first official day on the job. Their former minister of twelve years left a few weeks ago and they are in a time of transition. This interim cleric is their “in between pastor” and not a candidate to become their regular one.
His message from Matthew 43:1-17 (the parable of the sower) provides encouragement for this season in their church. He says this is not a time to coast until a replacement arrives. It must be “business as usual.” While most “congregations are too pastor dependent,” this one is an exception, with their former leader training them to not rely on him or need him to function. They are well prepared to make this transition. “The new pastor should find us fully engaged” when he arrives. “In the interim, we will listen to God.”
At the end of the service, they hold a brief congregational meeting to confirm the pastoral selection committee. Nonmembers may stay and observe. A team of ten, a nice cross-section of the congregation, is presented for approval.
Afterwards is a time of fellowship. We spend much of it talking with two longtime members. They confirm their former minister equipped them well for this time. They have great respect for him, as well as for their interim pastor. They expect to be just fine.
As we make our way to the door, we meet more people, who confirm what we’ve just learned: this congregation is ready to navigate their time between ministers.
I heartily agree and pray for God’s blessing on them.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.