Greetings from Pastor Siefert

Greetings in the name of the Lord from your new Intentional Interim Pastor, Rev. Gary Siefert!
Let me first say how excited I am to have been called here to be your Intentional Interim Pastor (IIP).   My family and I have been looking forward to being here, and we really like the Rochester area.
First of all, some of you may wonder: ‘what exactly is an IIP?’ 
An IIP is an ordained pastor who conducts and directs a specialized ministry called the Intentional Interim Ministry.  This specialized ministry is carried out in times of change in pastoral leadership and is a ministry of the whole church in support of the local congregation, such as Living Word, Rochester.  The interim is a time of opportunity for a congregation to analyze who it is, deal with internal relationships, discover fresh leadership, focus on definite goals, and encourage a vison for the future.  With trained pastoral leadership it can make this interim period a very profitable and special chapter in the life and mission of the congregation.
The IIP is trained to intentionally work on these important functions with congregation.  He is not a “Vacancy Pastor” as we use that term. Vacancy pastors also have a special role, usually in filling the Sunday pulpit and making basic calls on the sick and shut-ins.  This is why pastors who want to do interim ministry are required to take special introductory and continued and ongoing training courses.
Most interims last twelve to eighteen months, some even longer to help the congregation prepare for their new permanent “settled” pastor.  Leading the congregation through a five process phase, the IIP prepares the congregation for a new beginning in their ministry.  The five phases are:

  1. Dealing with its history in an honest way.
  2. Broadening leadership.
  3. Defining its identity.
  4. Strengthening its relationship with the district/synod.
  5. Determining a new direction for ministry and mission.

Depending upon the needs and status of the congregation, emphasis and time spent on any one of the five phases could be vastly different; and to determine what phase/s will need the most attention, I will make every sincere effort to immerse myself in Living Word’s system, while staying outside the system in order to provide objective diagnosis and healing through intentional use of Law and Gospel.  A trained IIM pastor (such as myself) “begins with the end in mind.”  He comes to the congregation knowing he is the temporary shepherd and not eligible to become the settled pastor.  His sole purpose is to bring the congregation to the best outcome, which is well defined at the outset of the interim.
May God’s Kingdom grow according to His will, here at Living Word, and I hope to meet you all at my installation here this Sunday, Feb. 7, at 10:15am.

Rev. Gary L. Siefert