8 Ideas for Churches Seeking an Interim Pastor

  1. Write a thoughtful job description outlining the desired leadership traits you are looking for: pastoral care, teaching gifts, conflict management and resolution skills, etc. Be prepared to articulate these traits clearly in the interview and explain why each is necessary. 

  2. Record online conversations and interviews—always ask for the candidate’s consent before doing this. When talking to many people, it's easy to forget details, take incomplete notes, or come away with differing opinions, so a recording provides a way to go back and replay the conversation later. It is also a helpful resource to share with others who did not participate in the original call.

  3. Move the hiring process along as swiftly as prudence allows. Keep in mind that most candidates are actively seeking their next position and appreciate knowing where you are in the process each step of the way.

  4. Outline the type of support a candidate can expect if he or she is hired – for example, might a few of the hiring team members consider serving as an onboarding team for 3-6 months? Are there other systems in place for staff support?

  5. Be honest about issues facing the church. Candidates need to know what to expect to discern how they can best prepare to provide leadership and guidance.

  6. Utilize local Chamber of Commerce and tourism resources to help out of town candidates get a sense of your ministry context. Consider developing a Newcomer's Guide on the church website. Whatever it is you brag about, find a creative way to share it. Local real estate agents can be a useful resource. 

  7. Roll out the welcome mat. It's important to extend warm hospitality to all candidates, but "wining and dining" the final candidate demonstrates an extra level of welcome and care. Consider this a practice round for the Pastor Nominating Committee ahead.  

  8. List the reasons for your nomination and repeat them often when introducing the candidate to session, the congregation, the presbytery, and your neighbors. This not only encourages and affirms the candidate, but shares a vision about how God will be working during the leadership transition.