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How Do I Become an Interim Pastor?

By Lisa Mooney
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An interim pastor is the leader of a church's ministry during a period in which the congregation is without the regular pastor. This might be because the minister has died, is ill, has retired or has resigned, or it might be a period during which a new church is forming. Interim pastors have the same responsibilities as those of regular ministers. To become an interim pastor, you will need the appropriate education and training for this pivotal role in the church. It can be beneficial to earn a divinity degree and develop your skills by completing an internship if you want to become an interim pastor.

Someone who is seeking to become an interim pastor should pursue a degree from a divinity school. Some denominations do not require their ministers to possess divinity degrees, but it is expected by many churches. An aspiring leader should enroll in a school of theology or a seminary. These institutions provide religious instruction and allow the opportunity to become ordained or otherwise qualified for specific ministries.

After you obtain the proper education for a career as an interim minister, you should become acquainted with the various aspects of the job. You can do this through an internship in a congregation in which the minister is willing to take on an apprentice. Concentrate on developing your communication skills, persuasive speaking, ministering to the sick and elderly and studying religious texts with members of the congregation.

You should become familiar with various congregations throughout the area in which you are comfortable traveling. To become an interim pastor, you should make yourself known to the local clergy and churchgoers in these areas. You also should make your availability as an interim minister known, because you might be called on by a particular church at some point.

An interim congregational leader actively looks for opportunities by perusing denominational publications and other classified advertisements. Someone who wants to become an interim pastor for a congregation must exhibit flexibility, because these positions vary in terms of duration, salary and hours. You also must dedicate yourself to serving the needs of the church members, who are often experiencing struggles that might be compounded by the absence of their regular church leader.

Among the duties often performed by the interim pastor are preaching at weekly services, visiting bedridden and hospitalized congregation members and evangelizing in the local area. These ministers might officiate at weddings and funerals. They also provide religious counseling to those who seek their services.

It takes a special, dedicated individual to become an interim pastor. This person should be properly educated and trained in the ministry in order to serve an entire congregation. Someone who chooses this career path must step in when and where needed to spiritually lead others.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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