American Interim Pastor Ministries, Inc
places experienced US pastors with British Baptist churches that would otherwise be without a minister.
It offers people with a heart for sharing the Good News in Christ and supporting the congregation by working alongside and being an encouragement in God’s work.
Since the turn of the century 31 American couples have served in 15 UK Baptist churches, from County Durham to Essex and from Lincolnshire to Warwickshire. Their aim is to help the church grow until it can afford a British pastor.
AIPM started at Cambridge Road Baptist Church in Middlesbrough in 2000. Next, Thornaby Baptist invited American interim pastors in 2001 and continued until 2005. Seven American couples served six- month assignments (one couple served twice) until Thornaby was able to call a British Baptist pastor in mid-2005. David Whitehall was called and spent the next six-years until his retirement ministering in Thornaby.
They have baptized dozens of people, and some American interim pastors have followed their ministry in British churches by bringing both adult and youth project teams to help with major projects or fix-up work in UK churches. Also, volunteer youth and children’s workers have served in established ministries and have helped start new ministry.
American interim pastor assignments are normally six months, but some candidates’ circumstances permit longer assignments. The church may invite one or more interim pastors in back-to-back assignments until their goals are met.
Importantly, the UK church, not AIPM, selects the interim pastor. AIPM does screening interviews, collects profiles, reference checks, CRB checks and videotapes with sermons and interviews for candidates. AIPM sends information on several candidates to the UK church. The church prepares a short list then selects which candidate, if any, to invite. AIPM assists with visas so that all UK Border Agency requirements are met.
American interim pastors receive no salary. The UK church provides a furnished house or flat with bills paid and a car with expenses paid. The church reimburses for airline tickets and visa application fees (currently £200.00).
In a film profiling AIPM, the then Northern Baptist Association regional minister John Singleton was in doubt of their impact. ‘We in the UK have benefitted immensely from people coming over from the States to help our churches,’ he said.
And the blessing works both ways. Darrell Grice and wife Faith have had several interim pastor assignments in the UK. ‘What a joy it was to serve these loving, responsive and committed congregations,’ he said. ‘We made many dear friends during our interim in these churches and continue to keep in touch with them. Faith and I have been blessed beyond measure.’