About Us

Interim Ministries-ABC

Our Mission and Structure

Interim Ministries-ABC's mission is to partner with ABC regions for excellence in interim leadership for congregations seeking God's "new thing."

Interim Ministries-ABC partners with state and regional staff to provide intentional interim leadership for churches, enabling the congregation to use the in-between time to become more vital and healthy.

Our ministry is an Associated Ministry Organization of the American Baptist Churches, USA.  Interim Ministries-ABC is a non-profit corporation, supported by fees for service, sales of program related resources, and individual contributions.  We draw no funds from mission dollars and apply all of our income to strengthening interim ministry.

Our Goals

To resource state and regional staff with capable interim ministers ready to lead churches between pastors

To provide churches with the interim ministers they need

To enlist, train, and place interim ministers in churches that are without pastoral leadership.

Our Philosophy

Interim Ministries-ABC is a partnership ministry.  We work closely with state and regional staffs, who in turn, work closest with the local churches.  Our partnership enables us to personalize our services.  Churches that make use of our ministry benefit from three resources:  the intentional interim minister, the state or regional staff, and the Interim Ministries-ABC national staff.  This collaboration ensures timely placements, experienced advice and counsel, and a wealth of resources.  Churches going through transition have the support of multiple caring leaders who want them to thrive.

Our ministry enrolls women and men, representing the full range of American Baptist Churches and other denominations and seeks to serve the diversities of geography, theology, race and church size.  Regional and state leaders carefully consider the perspective of each church before recommending an individual as interim minister.  Characteristics of personality, skill, and prior experience are taken into account to make the best possible match between church and minister.  Our goal is to help reverse the tendency of ministers to be "lone rangers" through a collaborative model of leader and church with region, state and national staffs. 

What are the dramatic changes that make interim ministries so special?

The church used to say: "It's a time to save money."
Interim Ministries says: "It's a time to invest wisely!"
The church used to say: "It's a time for holding, for maintaining."
Interim Ministries says: "It's a time to work purposefully and differently, examining the past and experimenting for the future."
The church used to say: "It's a time when almost anybody can fill in."
Interim Ministries says: " It's a time for the most competent leadership available."


Our Programs

Ministers-at-Large (MAL) are high-quality, well-trained individuals who serve as interim pastors.  These individuals are typically retired ministers who relocate to the church community and serve 4 1/2 days per work for an average of 12 to 18 months.  Click Ministers-at -Large for more information.

Appointed Interim Pastors (AIP) are individuals between pastorates who are available for interim assignments.  With support of the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board, these ministers are able to serve churches in transition while they search for their next pastorate.  Click Appointed Interim Pastors for more information.


Interim Ministry Specialists (IMS) hold certification from the Interim Ministry Network and are assigned to churches with special situations.  These pastors are trained in church transformation (leading a declining church back to health and new growth) and in conflict transformation (leading a conflicted congregation back to close relationships and better functioning).  Their assignments are sometimes in churches whose previous ministerial staff has shattered trust or violated ethical codes. 

Interim Ministries-ABC National Staff

Rev. Patricia Hernandez National Director
Joyce Lake Administrative Assistant

Our History

Early in the 1970's, the need for capable and loyal American Baptist Interim Ministers became apparent. The Rev. Dr. Joseph I. Chapman, Executive Minister in Ohio, crafted the first response to this need.  The ministry's value was so quickly proven that by 1977, the experimental program was expanded to national scope and the Ministers-at-Large program was launched.

During that same decade, the Alban Institute published initial findings indicating that transitional phases in the life cycle of the local church were viewed as times of institutional maintenance without implication for the church's future. There was growing awareness that the churches, like individuals, experience developmental phases and the time between pastors can be a critical stage of tension and conflict or renewal and restoration.  The Interim Ministry Network, our training partner, grew out of the initial work of the Alban Institute.  They gathered practicing interim clergy from various denominations to study the theoretical framework of pastoral change and began developing specialized training and resources. ABC's Ministers-at-Large program was a partner in the development of best practices and strategies of intentional interim ministry.

By 1996, denominational leaders recognized the need to expand services on response to growing expectations of local churches, regional staff and pre-retired ministers. These ABC constituents realized the need for a systematic approach to this unique pastoral ministry by forming Interim Ministries-ABC. The new ministry was introduced to the denomination at the Indianapolis Biennial in 1997. Since that time our aim has been to continue to administer the highly valued Ministers-at-Large Program and expand leadership resources for churches undergoing transition and transformation in the 21st century.

"Thus says the Lord who makes a path in the mighty waters...
'Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?'"
(Isaiah 43: 16, 19)

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