What are the typical assignments and arrangements

Some small British Baptist churches that were once beacons of evangelism are at risk of closing. In many cases, if the Baptist church closes, the community will have no evangelistic outreach. Church decline is alarming! A ten to twenty percent reduction in membership in ten years is not uncommon. Congregations are aging rapidly and young people are becoming scarce. The most urgent need is for visionary pastoral leadership and youth/children’s ministry. Some Baptist churches have declined to the point that they can no longer pay a pastor’s salary and paid youth workers are even less likely for them.

Volunteers are a viable option and American workers have been remarkably effective in British Baptist churches. Experienced American pastors and other staff members have the skills and experience to do the work of an interim pastor. Perhaps surprisingly, many American lay leaders are also qualified to serve as interim pastor. And, if God calls them to such a ministry, lay preachers are acceptable to British Baptists. Regardless of the background and experience, the three most important traits are a genuine love for the Lord, love for people, and a willingness to listen.

University students or recent graduates are ideal candidates for youth and children’s ministry in Great Britain. Those who are willing to take the summer or a semester or both off from studies or to delay their career start can serve in assignments of 2 to 24 months. With back-to-back assignments and by thoroughly briefing replacements interim pastors and youth/children’s workers, a reasonable amount of continuity can be achieved.

Our commitment to the church is that we will continue working alongside them and help the church grow until it can afford the salary of a British Baptist pastor or youth/children’s worker. When a British person is available, American Interim Pastor Ministries (AIPM) will step aside and turn over the work to the British minister. Our experience is limited, but it appears that some three to five years may be required. This is not a short-term undertaking.

Each interim pastor and youth worker serves without salary and a “love offering” is not expected. However, for interim pastors the church provides a furnished house with utility bills paid, a car with taxes and insurance paid, and reimburse for airline tickets and visa expenses. For youth workers, the church provides accommodations and either meals or a modest allowance for food and other living expenses. Youth workers pay for their own airline tickets, visa expenses, and local transportation.

Project teams have proven valuable to British Baptist churches. The church meets the cost of all materials and tool rental and provides housing and meals. The American volunteers pay for their own airline tickets. AIPM will be pleased to try to recruit volunteers for UK churches that identify project needs. We will also try to find projects in the UK for those USA church teams that wish to volunteer to do project work.