DALLAS—Jimmy McLeod, intentional interim pastor of Park Central Baptist Church in Dallas, received the 2015 Maples/Williamson/Daehnert Award from the Texas Baptist Intentional Interim Ministry Network.
McLeod is the seventh recipient of the award, given annually to pastors who have completed intentional interim ministry training and have shown exemplary leadership, vision and mentoring in their churches and with ministers.
“Dr. McLeod has demonstrated his unique gifts in encouragement, unifying congregations and mentoring leaders,” said Karl Fickling, interim ministry coordinator for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Members of the Intentional Interim Ministry Network are pastors who have completed more than 80 hours training in the intentional and traditional interim process and five months of field education.
McLeod’s interest in intentional interim ministry dates to 2005, when he was trying to discern God’s plan in his next season of life, after he served more than 40 years in ministry.
Through a friend, he learned about intentional interim ministry. In 2010, after completing training requirements, he began serving as an intentional interim pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Weatherford.
“It is my heart’s passion,” said McLeod, who also is a licensed professional counselor. “I saw a way that in this new season of my life, I could help people and churches heal and learn how to deal with things more healthily and really become a healthier part of the body of Christ.”
Guiding churches through a self study process
From examining a church’s history to helping a church envision its future, intentional interim pastors are trained to guide congregations through a self-study process to identify problems before launching a search for a new full-time pastor.
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“The real significance in intentional interim ministry is that it allows the church to slow down, to pause, to reassess where they are and then to get the help they need from a trained pastor,” McLeod said.
An intentional interim pastor arrives as a non-anxious presence into an anxious situation and helps churches identify and address issues, he added. Then, the intentional interim pastor can help the church gain a fresh vision for the future.
Preparation for the new pastor
Intentional interim ministry “gives an opportunity to give the church an identity of who they are and who God has called them to be,” McLeod said. “Then they can take a look at the blockages. When the next pastor comes, he doesn’t have to deal with all that. The church can embrace him, and he can then enjoy that new vision God gave them.”