Candidates: as you consider signing a contract to serve as an interim pastor take time to consider the role you are being asked to play in these areas of oversight. Ask to speak with the most knowledgeable leader in each area. Take notes.
- Administration: analyze the church website and social media. Is it adequate to meet the needs of a pastor search? If not, estimate and share the anticipated cost of updating. Understand the type of office and technology available to support your work.
- Buildings and Grounds: tour the church campus. Ask the leader about ‘aging’ issues, upcoming projects (such as updating handicap accessibility), and the adequacy of resources to address these needs.
- Discipleship/Christian Education: find out how the church seeks to mature disciples in Christ – mentorship, classes, new members, youth confirmation, etc. Understand the teaching role you are expected to play.
- Finance: review the budget, balance sheet, designated funds, giving patterns, and any debt the church holds.
- Mission and Outreach: consider what this church is committed to in this area, and if you share missional interest and alignment.
- Personnel: talk with the chair of the Personnel Committee about staff culture, job descriptions, goals, and how the staff evaluation process works including your own evaluation. Ask to see an organizational chart. Discuss supervisory relationships. Rapport with this leader will be vital to your success as an interim leader.
- Worship: come to an understanding about the preaching and leadership tasks expected of you and others in both paid and non-paid roles. Review worship attendance patterns.
A clear-eyed understanding of your role in these tasks is vital to your success in interim ministry. Negotiate a job description and contractual arrangement that fits your skill set, interests, and sense of call. If you sense hesitation in your spirit talk it over with someone you trust. Take your time. Trust your instincts. Listen to what comes. Practice the discernment you expect to find in the church’s Pastor Nominating Committee.
Search Committees: your proactivity in covering these bases will help to ensure you and your final candidate are in agreement about the roles and responsibilities you are asking them to oversee.