- “This Old House” crew members
- Dog or horse whisperers
- Special forces units
- The unusual caregiver, Nanny McPhee
- The surgeon
- The Harbor pilot
- The emergency room physician
The following are three more analogies which you might find helpful:
A Middle Relief Pitcher
When I was a kid (and a Minnesota Twins fan) I only knew about two kinds of pitchers: starting pitchers and relief pitchers. As in so many fields, there are more specialists than there used to be. The redevelopment transitional pastor isn’t a starter (church planter) or a closer (nobody wants to do this!) but something like a middle reliever who “gives it all he’s got” for a couple of crucial innings in the middle of the game and sometimes turns the game around.
“The Miracle Worker”
I’m not saying that the interim pastor is a miracle worker; I’m talking about the extraordinary Anne Sullivan who moved in with the dysfunctional Keller family and took over the care of the very troubled and troublesome blind and deaf family member, Helen. After transforming both Helen and the functioning of the family, Anne packed up and went her way.
Some of our churches have members who are as out-of-control and unpleasant as Helen. No one has taught them how to behave. They are allowed to disrupt the entire church and scare away its guests and all of this is done in the name of “grace” or “unconditional love.” Redevelopment interim pastors sometimes function as interventionists who are used by God to restore such churches to peace and harmony for the glory of God.
The new sheriff in town
In 1879, the Arizona mining town of Tombstone was awash with violence. In one version of the disputed story, the powers-that-be got together and sent an urgent message to the already famous Earp brothers, Wyatt, Morgan, Warren and Virgil, two of whom were, at that juncture, delivering law and order to Dodge City, Kansas.
The Earp brothers came to Tombstone, exercised an unusual degree of authority – insisting, for instance, that all firearms be left at the outskirts of town – and cleaned up the place. Sadly, some churches have out-of-control situations which require an transitional pastor with nerves of steel and a constitutional intolerance for bullies.
If you don’t like the image of a pastor as a gun toting sheriff, maybe you’re familiar with Ransom Stoddard, attorney at law, from my favorite movie, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Determined to clean up Shin Bone with his law books, Stoddard ended up shooting it out on main street with the terror of the territory, Liberty Valance.
While I’m not suggesting that pastors should shoot people, I am saying that some church trouble makers must be faced and “defeated” in order to spare the church.
Interestingly enough, at the end of a funeral I performed during our southeastern Arizona transitional pastorate, I received an unusual complement from a cousin of the deceased, “You gave it to us gun-barrel straight.” Some churches need somebody who knows he’s not going to be there long anyway, to give it to the church “gun-barrel straight.”
Do you know of a pastor-less church that needs a middle relief pitcher, a miracle worker or a new sheriff? Is God possibly calling you to begin this exciting ministry?