The Transitional Specialists Podcast provides continuing education, resources and tools for trained transitional leaders who serve as interim ministers in United Methodist congregations. We interview people who have a story to tell about going through wilderness times and emerging as stronger people of faith. We also discuss the nuts and bolts of how to be a modern day Moses, guiding your congregation through a “liminal” or wilderness season. TIIMSA (Transitional Intentional Interim Ministry Specialists Association) of The United Methodist Church produces this podcast.
Our Host is Rev. Bill Kemp, a United Methodist retired elder in the Western Pennsylvania Conference, a longtime member of the TIIMSA Board of Directors, a novelist, self-help author, web-content provider, and an unofficial instigator for change. He has written over a dozen books, many of them dealing with transition, including The Church Transition Workbook, and Going Home: Facing Life’s Final Moments without Fear (with Diane Kerner Arnett). He also provides a weekly lectionary-based blog at www.billkemp.info.
Our Production Coordinator is Rev. Keith L. Head, United Methodist retired elder in the North Texas Conference and TIIMS who serves as the Communications Coordinator on the TIIMSA Board of Directors. His 48+ years in ministry includes appointments in a variety of settings, from a local church pastor, to the Oklahoma Conference Council on Ministries, and nine years as associate editor/media specialist on the United Methodist Reporter.
“Embracing the Next Normal
with Rebekah Simon-Peter”
March 8, 2023 – In a world of huge transitions, what is the “next normal” for congregations with effective ministries? This podcast seeks to answer that question featuring Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter, a United Methodist pastor, coach, consultant and founder of the award-winning leadership development program, Creating a Culture of Renewal®. This Episode #6 of The Transitional Specialists Podcast is offered to leaders of the Christian faith who are challenged to “move forward” through the struggles of our current liminal season.
This podcast is also offered as a preview of Rebekah’s keynote presentations at the 2023 TIIMSA Virtual Gathering set for April 25-26 (see “SHOW NOTES” below).
In Rebekah’s 2022 book, FORGING A NEW PATH: Moving the Church Forward in a Post-Pandemic World, she writes, “My question is, How we can best organize ourselves going forward? It’s time for Christians to get ready for the next normal – and the one after that – by intentionally reimagining the way we do and be church. In fact, we have an extraordinary opportunity before us.” [Page 57]
Hosting this conversation about that opportunity is Rev. Bill Kemp, a United Methodist retired elder, author. and an experienced Intentional Interim Minister. We also have Rev. Karen Dungan bringing the perspective of an active local United Methodist Church pastor and former District Superintendent. Karen is also President Elect for the TIIMSA Board of Directors.
Bill frames the conversation on “Embracing the Next Normal” around the three questions that Rebekah askes in her book: When do things get back to normal? How do we get people (back) to church? and How do we do more with less?
You are invited to personally join Rebekah in the conversation about “embracing the next normal” at the 2023 TIIMSA Virtual Gathering on April 25-26. Learn more about the event and register at https://tiimsa.org/2023-gathering/. The registration includes Rebekah’s book, FORGING A NEW PATH: Moving the Church Forward in a Post-Pandemic World, and access to the 2023 Gathering recordings and resources.
“The History and Future of Interim Ministry
in the UMC”
February 1, 2023 – When most local churches need a pastor, a search is made and a new pastor is called. During that time an Interim minister cares for and maintains the congregation until the new pastor arrives. However, in The United Methodist Church (UMC), a new pastor is not called, but SENT. The bishop of that congregation’s Annual Conference makes the appointment through a consultative process that involves the Pastor Parish Relations Committee and their District Superintendent to find the best pastor for that church at that time.
In the 1990s, annual conferences began to realize that a pastoral change often happened when a congregation was in the midst of a crisis, such as the death, illness or moral failure of the former pastor. During this difficult time, a short-term leader was needed with special knowledge, skills and a non-anxious presence, to prepare the congregation for a fresh start with their new pastor! Out of these situations grew a uniquely United Methodist approach with pastors trained as Transitional Intentional Interim Ministry Specialists or TIIMS. This episode tells the story of how this approach began in the UMC, how it has evolved, and where it is going, in a season that definitely needs “transitional” specialists.
Guiding us through this three-decade journey is one who was there at the beginning: Rev. Dianne Christopher, a Retired Elder in the Iowa Annual Conference and now the Lead Trainer on the TIIMSA Board of Directors. She is responsible for making sure that the TIIMS training curriculum reflects what she calls “the plumb line” of the basic values and skills that were first established. If you are involved in Interim Ministry, you’ll want to meet Dianne and experience her always optimistic approach to effectively serving Christ throughout her career as a “transitional specialist.”
→ Download “TIIMSA: A History of Transitions” This slide deck PDF is an updated timeline to the Powerpoint, “TIIMSA: Where It All Began,” presented by Rev. Christopher at the 2019 TIIMSA Gathering in Nashville, Tennessee. During this time a new Mission and Vision were created for the organization now listed on the Home Page.
→ Download “TIIMSA Tasks” as an example of training materials.
→ Download “Rev. Dianne Christopher Resume Summary”
“Becoming a Nonanxious Presence”
July 19, 2022 – The heat of this summer is breaking historic weather records around our nation. We are also feeling the rising temperature of political/social friction within our nation and congregations. Isn’t summer supposed to be “Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of sodas, and pretzels, and…”? Well, you probably know the old Nat King Cole song and the need for a vacation and that slower summertime church schedule. But, how do we find a way to cool down in the midst of all this anxiety that seems never ending and share that attitude with our people? Perhaps a less than 8-minute inspirational podcast can help!
Everyone who has been trained as a United Methodist transitional specialist has learned about managing their anxiety in a stressful situation. The congregational systems consultant, Peter Steinke, said In his book, Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times, “To be a nonanxious presence means to acknowledge anxiety, but not let it be the driver of behavior.” He also noted that “Of Jesus himself, it was said; ‘When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten’ (1 Peter 2:23).”
In this fourth episode of our podcast, Host Bill Kemp finds inspiration from a cat in a box and the eighth chapter of Luke to share a brief, yet powerful, message about becoming a nonanxious presence. It is central to the work of leading a congregation through these anxious times of change and stress.
“What We Learned from Susan Beaumont”
June 9, 2022 – In this third episode presented by, for, and with United Methodist pastors serving in interim ministry, our host and a panel of three veteran intentional interim ministers review “What We Learned from Susan Beaumont” at the May 10-11, 2022 TIIMSA Virtual Gathering from her Keynote presentations using her book, How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season. Whether you attended this Gathering or not, you will find some valuable concepts to use as a transitional specialist leading congregations through a liminal season! Please note that this is the second of a two-part series. Our first podcast at the end of April was, “Looking at Liminal Time,” when we introduced our panelists and defined “liminality.” This second part was recorded on June 2 with the same panel host, Bill Kemp, and participants, Karen Dungan, Jane Sautter, and Keith Head. Listening to this podcast may just bring you some new learnings, as well!
“Looking at Liminal Time”
April 29, 2022 – In this second episode presented by, for, and with United Methodist pastors serving in interim ministry, our Host Bill Kemp is “Looking at Liminal Time” with a panel of veteran intentional interim ministers as they review the book, How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season by Susan Beaumont. This podcast also served as a preview to the 2022 TIIMSA Virtual Gathering, May 10-11, with the theme of “Leading Through a Liminal Season.” Susan was the keynote speaker at the event. She defined the term, liminality, as “a quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs during transition, when a person or group of people is in between something that has ended and something else that is not yet ready to begin.” The first of three panelists was TIIMSA Board of Directors President-Elect Karen Nichols Dungan, an Elder for 36 years in the Iowa Annual Conference who has pastored parishes of varying sizes, contexts and configurations, and served as a District Superintendent and Assistant to the Bishop and became an approved TIIMS in 2020. The second panelist was TIIMSA Board Secretary Jane Sautter, a Retired Elder in the Upper New York Annual Conference. She graduated from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio with a dual degree, MDiv and MTS in Church History. For part of her career, Jane served in a missionary appointment on the Yakama Reservation in White Swan, Washington. Jane has served in two Interim appointments since her retirement and is a Lead Trainer for TIIMS. The third panelist was Keith Head, “The Transitional Specialists Podcast” Production Coordinator. Whether or not you attended the Gathering, you just might find some key learnings about transitions from this conversation!
“What Do Interim Ministers Need Podcasts For?”
Mar 25, 2022 — In this inaugural episode of The Transitional Specialists Podcast, Keith and Bill discuss the rising popularity of podcasts and what that means for church leaders, especially those serving in a transitional setting. COVID-19 has forced us to use Zoom and other online tech for worship and committee meetings, as well as for our continuing education and denominational gatherings. Podcasting is mass communication; half of our lay people already enjoy listening to podcasts. Having moved to a Zoom format for the TIIMSA (Transitional Intentional Interim Ministry Specialists Association) annual gatherings in 2021 and 2022, we are now adding podcasts as a resource to help interims “sharpen the saw” of their transitional skill set. Bill and Keith offer practical suggestions on the use of podcasts in the local church setting. They also look ahead to upcoming podcasts for interim ministers, or “transitional specialists.”