I’m Just The Interim

By Wanda Bell

“I’m just the interim.”

Dear Lord, forgive me, but this is a phrase that I uttered to myself several times during my first go around as interim Worship Minister at my church. I was asked to take this position in an awkward, not so pleasant situation that had surfaced rather quickly with little warning.  My task was to keep the music program running while acting as a peacemaker.

And that is exactly what I did.

 I planned the Worship program each week and worked with the choir to prepare a special. Oh yes, and I also made sure we had some sort of soloist each week. Sadly, this is where my duties ended. Granted, I was the mother to two young children, as well as a full time teacher. My time was stretched and so was I. What more could I do? After all, I was just the interim. 

The congregation appeared to be happy with the arrangement and it was not unusual to hear someone call out after a particularly lively song, “Sing that again!” Wasn’t that the litmus test of true worship? After four years, my time as Interim came to an end as the church called a full time Minister of Youth and Music. I had fulfilled my duty in leading our church in worship. Or had I?

Let’s fast forward eighteen years. Once again, the church was in need of an interim Worship leader. After our Pastor’s resignation, our Minister of Youth and Music was asked to step in as Interim Pastor and I was asked to fill the role of Interim Worship leader.  This time, things were very different. As I met with the Pastor, who I knew very well, we both agreed that we didn’t want to just keep the church afloat, but we wanted to see it move forward, even though we were both “just” interims. We loved our church, our God, and our community. The Pastor’s passion for ministering and reaching out to our community served as an example to me. I began earnestly seeking God’s direction for my ministry regardless of how long I would serve in this position. I began to see that worship was so much more than pleasing a congregation with music that was comfortable, familiar, and dare I say, entertaining.

As I began this journey of stepping out of my own comfort level, my selection of music became more deliberate. My thoughts now consisted of “What can I do to bring the congregation to worship, to help them understand that true Worship is all about Him, not about us?”

 I no longer wanted to utter the mantra of “I’m just the interim.” Instead, I wanted every action, every song, every video to be solely an offering to our Lord and Savior. I became an active participant in the direction and vision that was being created for our church.

Our interim Pastor is now our Pastor. I am still officially in an interim position, but in name only. The Pastor and other staff welcome and respect me as a part of the leadership of the church. Why is this time different? I truly believe it is because I looked past the term “interim” and realized that we are all called to be lay ministers of the gospel. We should not limit our service and devotion to God because we do not have an official title. Instead, it would serve us well to remember,

“In all that you do, do all to the glory of God.”  1st Corinthians 10:31.

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