Do You Want to be Told or Shown?

The Powerful Impact of an Intentional Interim Pastor (Jean-Frederick Fortier)Last week I had errands that took me into two different “big box” stores. I wasn’t sure where to find what I needed since I was unfamiliar with the layout of both stores.

In the first, I asked an employee where the item was located. He was very knowledgeable, friendly, and immediately informed me of the right aisle to go to.

In the second store, when I asked the same question, that employee responded by saying, “Come on, I’ll show you.” They personally took me to the aisle and pointed out where on the shelf the item was located. They also mentioned several other options that I might consider depending on my needs.

What a difference between being told and being shown. And it just feels different, doesn’t it?

When a church enters a season of pastoral transition most leadership teams realize they need help, but most are not quite sure what that means or what that looks like. It can feel like you’re wandering up and down the aisles of a huge store but not finding what you seek. Where can we find the help we need, and how do we choose from among the varied options we see?

There are many knowledgeable and friendly church-helpers who can point out where to go, and even describe the journey. But during the critical time of pastoral transition, how much better to have someone walk with you! Here’s the critical question: when facing pastoral transition, what will best help the leadership team -information or incarnation?

That is the difference between an intentional interim pastor and all other options. Many can tell you the way, or even describe the way (and most of the time its accurate and helpful advice). But then there is the intentional interim who walks alongside a church through their pastoral transition by “living in it”.

An intentional interim pastor doesn’t come to implement predetermined answers and solutions, rather they come with a process to find the needed answers and solutions. They’ve taken this journey many times, so they come, for a season, to guide and coach a church in finding out what God has in mind for their future.

A living example….

Three years ago I became the interim pastor of a church that was dying. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to identify their problems. But if I had come in assuming I knew the “fix”, then we all would have missed what the Spirit of God had wonderfully intended to do.

Concerted prayer and an openness to do whatever the Lord wanted, led us to merge with a new church-plant in the area which was experiencing 50% conversion growth. They were also connected into the local community in a relationally organic way.

The result, even now 2 years later, a powerful expression of kingdom work is being done in a difficult neighborhood for the glory of God!

When the leadership team of a church wants help with the task of making wise choices for how their pastoral transition is handled, there is an enormous difference between being told and being shown.

To help church leadership teams make wise decisions, get my free mini-ebook “Leading without a Leader: How to Jump-start Your Church during Pastoral Transition” at my website:

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *