We welcome Rev. Dan and Libby Ivins back as our interim pastor and family.
Pastor Dan Ivins, and his wife of 58 years have served in churches all across this country for the past 51 years. The last four have been interim situations. This is the 2nd interim at Warwick Central Baptist.
“We have lived most of our time in the DC/Maryland area. Then called to churches in Alabama, Arizona, the northwest in Oregon, and the midi-west in Indiana. Interims include Syracuse, NY, Loudon, TN. And most recently Lincoln, VT. So we’re glad to be back in RI, Warwick/Providence.”
The Ivins’ have 2 daughters living in the Southland and 4 grands, 1 great. Libby is an active contributor in her own right and gets involved in church and community activities. They enjoy traveling, and getting to know new friends, and old acquaintances. Dan rides his motorbike, and is an avid Yankee fan! Waaah! There’s a price to pay for that in this area. They are also big Tennessee football fans, and women’s basketball fans. They love to make the church hum. That is why they are here.
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There are two ways a congregation can spend the interim period between settled pastors. The most common way is by reclining. The easy chair model; that charges a search committee to go fishing for another pastor and during the interim, spinning wheels, waiting til the new pastor arrives to set a course of action. That is the typical way most churches proceed.
A more productive way is the pathfinder model. A pathfinder never remains in neutral but moves ahead, deliberately, aware of the terrain so the church can continue to improve, even during the interim. That's what interims are for.
The search process swings both ways. The committee has questions of the candidate and the candidate will have questions of the church. My biggest question would be how adaptable is this place? Some? Not much? A little of both?
Just realize this. Fit is not static but dynamic. Fit is not a one-time thing. Having a good fit is always in a constant state of adjustment. Those unwilling to adjust will not have a good fit for long in any endeavor. How willing are our people to adjust to the new and unfamiliar? I have been able to experience some of that in my time here.
The Apostle Paul provides us with the biblical formula for growth or adjustment (Philippians 3:13-14). The most important thing is Paul didn't see himself as one who has "arrived." But he offers three areas that make for a successful process: 1) "forgetting what lies behind," 2) "straining toward what lies ahead," and 3) "pressing toward the goal."
Three qualities that surely make for healthy pastor/congregational relationships: flexibility, an openness to change; exposure, to something new; and perseverance, never giving up. When those three are present church can be good. Without any one of them, not much.
I hope our church will have the pathfinder approach. I believe it has the most to offer.