The surgical model involves three stages and as many as ten redevelopment tasks:
1. There's a DIAGNOSIS STAGE that takes about 2-6 months. The interim pastor will major on getting to know people and getting to know the congregation.
During this time the church may need to get real regarding its history. Some churches have a history of "too-short" pastorates. Others have periodic blow ups. Many churches need to revisit how and why they began. Are we making the same mistakes over and over again?
The church may also need to get real regarding its identity. How old are we? (Are we still a church of young couples or do we just think of ourselves that way?) How many children do we have? Who are we reaching? Are we growing or shrinking? Do we "match" our community or have we, or it, changed?
Towards the end of this time the board retreats with the interim pastor and agrees on a surgery plan.
2. The SURGERY STAGE usually takes about a year. All are encouraged to engage in the process of revitalizing the church. It can be emotionally grueling at times, but it's worth the effort.
Some churches need to get right with God. They need to repent of some things before God will be able to bless the church. You may want to look at the article, The Surprising Secret To Church Growth (or The Sign on the Roof).
Many churches need to use this time to get healthy. How do we handle our conflicts with each other and our complaints against our leaders? Do we need to forgive each other? Do we need to seek reconciliation with each other?
Most churches also need to get focused. Do we know what our mission is? Do we have a vision from God? Do we know what our values are and what they should be? Who are we trying to reach? What is our strategy?
Most churches that need a redevelopment interim pastor also need to get leaders. Tired leaders need to be allowed to step back with the permission and gratitude of the church. New leaders need to be trained. Continuing leaders need to get re-trained and re-energized.
Many churches also need to get organized. Churches which request interim pastors are often congregations which have fallen on hard times in more ways than one. Sometimes the buildings are messy, the lines of authority are unclear, responsibilities are garbled, membership roles are long-lost, etc.
3. The RECOVERY STAGE lasts about a year. This is the fun part of the process. During this time churches:
Get excited about the future. The Word of God will show us that God wants to do great things in and with our church.
Get hitched, by way of a long-term pastor search process. Your redevelopment interim pastor won't choose your new pastor, but he will coach the search team and help make it successful.
Get ready for company. The church's "grand opening" happens when the new long-term pastor begins his ministry. Are we ready or do we need to improve our building and grounds, advertising, signeage, etc? Do we need to improve the welcome that we give to our guests?