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The Interim Pastor Ministry

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an interim pastor?

  • An interim pastor is not simply pulpit supply. He is a pastor who serves a church that has lost its pastor. He pastors the church during the interim.
  • Interim pastors are men who have served in American churches, have retired, but still desire to shepherd as pastors.


What is GFA’s role?

  • GFA seeks to match interims to churches in need. We vet couples by checking ministerial references, conducting criminal and financial background checks, and interviewing them.


How long do interim pastors normally stay at a church?

  • The length of service varies, depending on how long it takes for the church to call its next pastor. On average, this takes one year or longer.
  • The interim will initially serve at a church for three months. After this three-month period, the interim and the church leadership will evaluate their relationship and determine if the interim’s ministry should continue.


Where will they live?

  • Churches must provide furnished housing, utilities, and internet service for their interim pastor. Housing could include a parsonage, a rental home, or an apartment. If the church provides a rental home or an apartment, we ask the rental contract to be in the church’s name instead of the interim’s name.
  • Prophet’s Chambers are normally not suitable for interim pastors because of the length of their stay.
  • Most interims need to leave for a few days about once a quarter to check on their homes, go to doctors’ appointments, etc.


How much should churches pay their interim pastor?

  • Salaries vary from church to church and region to region. As a rule of thumb, a church should pay an interim 80% of the total compensation the church would budget for its next pastor. Furnished housing, utilities, and internet service are included in this 80%.
  • We recommend mileage reimbursement for church travel and a hospitality allowance for coffee and meals with church members and visitors. Some churches also provide a monthly cell phone allowance for the interim.
  • GFA provides a way for the church to pay their interim pastor through GFA, eliminating the need for the church to file tax forms for the person’s salary.


What are the interim’s responsibilities?

  • The church and the interim jointly determine the interim’s ministry responsibilities.
  • Normally interims fulfill most of the responsibilities of the senior pastor. This includes preaching, teaching, visiting church members, following up with visitors, and assisting in leadership and pulpit committee meetings.
  • The interim should also assist the church in locating prospective pastors, evaluating church policies and documents, working on the budget, and taking care of items that may impact the next pastor and his ministry.


Will the interim assist the pulpit committee?

  • Yes, he will assist the committee by giving input from a pastor’s perspective. However, the interim would not be a voting member of the committee since he is not a member of the church where he is serving as interim.


What is the process of calling an interim?

  • Submit Info: The first step in seeking an interim is to submit a GFA Church Information Sheet to Marshall Fant.
  • Initial Assessment: After the Church Information Sheet is submitted, someone from the interim program will visit your church for a weekend to assess your needs. We will discuss your constitution, finances, philosophy of ministry, the tenure of your previous pastors, your pulpit committee, the Bible translation you use, your style of music, and any current or unresolved conflicts. We will also teach and/or preach for you as desired. Part of this assessment may include engaging your leadership in a study of the first church in Acts 2 and the seven churches in Revelation 2-3.
  • Interim Recommendation: After the visit, GFA will recommend an interim for your church to interview. This recommendation is based on the needs of your church and the interims that are available.
  • Interim Visit: After GFA recommends an interim, the church sets up a time for him to come for a week or weekend visit. This visit provides an opportunity for the church and the interim to get to know each other.  If both parties agree to proceed, the church votes to call this man as its interim pastor. 


Does the church have to sign a contract with GFA or the interim?

  • No, there are no contracts involved. A church calls an interim pastor in the same way it calls its permanent pastor. If the church or the interim reach a point where they do not think the interim pastor/church relationship is working, either can terminate the relationship.


Does GFA charge for this service?

  • No, there is no charge for this service. However, we do ask the church to cover all expenses when someone from the interim program visits for the initial assessment as well as the interim’s travel costs to and from the church.

Can our interim pastor become our permanent pastor?

  • No. A GFA interim pastor is not to be considered a pastoral candidate for your church. This could create a conflict of interest for the interim and the church.