"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Transition is the word we use to describe the time following significant change. In congregations, that change might be the departure of the pastor, a catastrophe such as Hurricane Katrina or 9/11, or simply the changes caused by growth. Transition calls for clergy with special training to respond to the needs generated by the special time. “Task, training, and time limit” are the hallmarks of transitional ministry. Trained intentional interim clergy must have the skill and experience to lead congregations during transition.
However, transitional or interim ministry has a bad reputation in some places. As one diocesan leader said, “We have never had a church in this diocese that was so bad off that an interim was needed.” Indeed, there are some “sick” churches, but most congregations have some good things happening and some things that need attention. Intentional interim ministry can be medicine for the sick, but in most cases it is better compared to vitamins that are taken to promote health.
This book seeks to clear up misconceptions about transitional ministry and present an accurate and up-todate picture of transitional ministry and to describe the various settings in which this specialized ministry can be helpful.
Chapter authors, all expert in transitional ministry in mainline Protestant denominations, include: Robert Friedrich, John Keydel, George Martin, Loren Mead, Barry Miller, Nancy Miller, Ineke Mitchell, Ken Ornell, Molly Dale Smith, and Rob Voyle.