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Pastor writes book on being an interim

For the past decade, John Helgeson served in various churches across the nation as an interim pastor. And throughout his interim career, he has yet to find a book explaining the freedoms of being an interim pastor, so he decided to write one himself.

Helgeson's book "Freedom and Interim Ministry  12 Freedoms of the Interim," was released through Tate Publishing in paperback in August and will be available in hardback Tuesday. Helgeson is serving as interim pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Lawton and has been there for two years. It's his fifth church to serve as interim after serving in churches in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and now Oklahoma.

"I do a lot of reading and I've gone through a lot of training and I've seen what's out there," Helgeson said. "And, you know, the materials are drawn from a lot of sources  some technical and some theoretical. But I really had not seen anything that really describes and works through what interim is about, and what's on a day-to-day basis and what exactly is involved. There are all types of other situations I could talk about from an interim perspective, from theories and stuff like that. It's helpful to understand the workings of the interim system and situation, but I have yet to find anything about what the freedom means and what actually applies to local situations."

The 12 freedoms in Helgeson's book include: the freedom of speech; the freedom to worship; the freedom to act; the freedom to disagree; the freedom to override or veto; the freedom to heal; the freedom to explain; the freedom to terminate; the freedom to change; the freedom to experiment; the freedom to leave; and the freedom to hope.

"Each of those freedoms are basic to what an interim minister does," Helgeson said, "because an interim minister comes in between pastors. And this is very common in Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Episcopalian, etc., regularly use interim ministers. They're certainly there to provide the transition between the previous pastor and the new pastor yet to come, which often means they have certain jobs and tasks to do."

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