What Does an Interim Pastor Do?

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  • Written By: YaShekia King
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 02 April 2020
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An interim pastor is a minister who temporarily assumes the role of a church leader until the organization designates a permanent minister for the position. Hiring interim pastors is necessary if a lead pastor is removed from his or her position or has to resign due to illness or other reasons. To become an interim pastor, a person typically needs to have a four-year bachelor’s degree in theology or pastoral ministry. Interim pastors must be able to communicate lessons about various religious topics as well as cater to people who have physical ailments. In addition, he or she oversees a church’s general business operations and may participate in the selection of a new pastor.

A major interim pastor duty is to preach to his or her congregation during the absence of a regular pastor at the church. He or she must plan sermons to share during scheduled services as well as special religious events in an effort to encourage members to improve their lifestyles and learn more about the deity that they acknowledge. In addition, temporary pastors should be prepared to perform wedding services and even give messages during funerals when requested to do so.


Visiting the sick and meeting the needs of people who are struggling with emotional issues also constitute important responsibilities of an interim pastor at a church. He or she is responsible for going to the home of church members who are ill as well as visiting people in the hospital. An interim pastor facilitates counseling sessions in which he or she listens to people explain their personal problems and then recommends solutions based on the church’s doctrinal beliefs as well.

Handling various administrative responsibilities at a church also is on a transitional pastor’s agenda. He or she has to make sure that the church is operating according to its established budget so that a new pastor can begin the job with the organization’s finances in order. The interim pastor also might be required to manage the congregation’s Sunday school department, in which he or she would help to select teaching materials and weekly lesson ideas.

An interim pastor may also help his or her church choose the pastor who will replace him or her on a long-term basis. This includes helping the congregation to recruit job candidates, reviewing ministers’ resumes. and interviewing them to see if they fit the church’s mission. Also, the interim pastor might have to lead meetings during which a pastor search committee provides updates to other organization officials about the hiring process.


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