If I were you, I would want to know what your new Interim Pastor hopes to accomplish by coming to Nacoochee. In a nutshell, I hope to lead you through the transition period which brings you to readiness to call and welcome your next long-term pastor.
Nacoochee had Bob Prim for twenty-four years, which is about twenty years longer than the average pastorate. (Of course, Bob is anything but average!) Odds are, you won’t have another pastorate of that great duration for a long time. But I am here to increase the odds in your favor. The more ready you are to select and welcome your next pastor, the more likely you will be to keep him or her for longer than average.
Your next question may well be, “How do you intend to accomplish that?”
First, trust must be built and nurtured within the congregation and between myself and the congregation. If we are going to pull together to get Nacoochee through the valley to the next mountaintop experience, we need to learn to trust one another and to know what to expect from one another. That will take a couple of months.
Then we’ll be ready to start working together to answer some basic questions about the congregation’s sense of identity and hopes for the future. As Bob has already told you, we’ll do a Mission Study or Self-study together, the purpose of which is to begin to answer the foundational questions of who you are and who you want to be. The Mission Study is estimated to take six to nine months. When it is complete, the congregation will be ready to nominate and elect the committee which will search for the next pastor. It is called the Pastor Nominating Committee or PNC.
Getting ready is a process. Everything that needs to be done in preparation can’t be done all at once. Lots of things must be built in stages, like remodeling a house. You can’t put new walls and flooring in until you have removed the old paneling, carpet, and linoleum and hauled it away. (And maybe done some cleaning.) There will be a point when the new cabinets can go in and the old pine floors refinished, but that time won’t come in the first month of renovation.
Preparing to call and welcome a new pastor, also, is a process. There will be distinctive steps we will take along the way. I am here to help you negotiate the twists and turns through the process, and I am very happy to finally arrive on the scene and get to work alongside all of you.
Thank you for welcoming me so graciously.