So, how does a congregation (using an intentional interim minister) get from here to there? What needs to be done (or better... what's most helpful?) during the transition?
Most presbyteries require some sort of "mission study." Surveys are done asking questions such as, "Who is your congregation (age groupings, ethnic make up, etc.)? What does the congregation do? Who makes up the local community? What are the needs of the community?" By sorting through the information collected, and through small group conversations with church members and friends, a vision emerges (where God is leading) so a mission strategy (what needs to be done) can be created.
This vision / mission exercise gets the congregation thinking about its mission and what kind of competencies the next Pastor will need in order to lead the congregation into fulfilling its mission.
The next step for Calvin Church is to start work on a mission study. This will begin in May. (A flowchart with a projected time-frame can be downloaded HERE.)
As you'll see on the flowchart, there are a lot of steps to be taken before consideration of a pastoral search is even contemplated. When congregations take their time and take the journey in a prayerful, discerning way they're better able to sense that the person they eventually chose will be the person God has placed before them. "Slow and steady wins the race."