The pastor has resigned or retired.
That pastor was in the pulpit 45 times a year.
Should a staff person become the interim preacher until the new pastor arrives?
Like many other situations in a church, the non-answer is, “It depends.”
Rather than provide definitive guidelines, here are some questions to consider:
1. Does the staff member have a capacity to preach on a regular basis? You would assume the staff member already has full-time responsibilities. If sermon preparation takes fifteen to twenty hours a week, from where will those hours come?
2. Is the staff member already taking on other additional responsibilities in the absence of a pastor? This issue is again one of capacity. The pastoral vacancy means that someone not only has to take care of the preaching, but others have to take care of all the other responsibilities of the pastor.
3. Will the staff member become a candidate to be the pastor? In most cases, we recommend that whoever is filling the pulpit should not be a candidate for pastor. The weekly presence of that person can cause many church members to default to the staff member instead of seriously considering other candidates.
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Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.