Several of our members have asked about Developmental Ministry and how it is different from Interim Ministry. Here are the basics:
Interim ministry is a long-standing option recommended for congregations whose settled minister is leaving and who intend to call a new minister. Experience has shown that choosing a period of interim ministry dramatically increases the chance of success for the next settled minister. Interim ministry has five areas of focus that prepare a congregation to work with a new settled minister. Typically, an interim minister serves for two years.
Developmental ministry is a newer development among UU congregations. When a church realizes it has significant issues that challenge its ability to thrive, they may ask for a Developmental Minister. The aim of developmental ministry is sustained change in congregational culture. The issues are different in different congregations, so the focus is different in each developmental ministry. We are not talking about garden-variety church issues like the need for growth or encouraging more volunteer participation or increasing pledge levels. Examples include the issues following sexual misconduct by clergy or members of the congregation, a history of significant unresolved conflict, or congregational norms that prevent respectful relationships. Developmental ministries may last from three to seven years depending on the severity of the presenting issues.