By: Dezaray Barr
Dave Steinke is currently serving as the Supply Pastor for Converse United Methodist Church and Sweetser United Methodist Church. “That’s right,” he said, “I travel from one church to the other every Sunday morning.” Although Steinke did attend Indiana Wesleyan University as a student, he has taught in the Adult and Professional Studies Division and the College of Arts and Sciences as adjunct faculty.
Steinke graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois in 1990. He earned a Master of Arts in Religion with an emphasis on evangelism and discipleship. “When I enrolled in seminary, I wanted to study psychology and theology; however, I was required to take an Introduction to Evangelism class. I was required to interview ten people, present the gospel and write a reflection paper after presentation. Two out of the ten people accepted Christ. I always point back to that class as changing the whole trajectory of my vision for ministry,” Steinke shared.
Steinke went to seminary to prepare to teach and serve overseas. “I did not consider a pastorate in North America,” he said. “One of the guys I went to seminary with planted a church in the southern suburbs of Milwaukee. As I tried to raise funds for my support, we kept crossing paths. I struggled to raise the needed funds, and with our second baby on the way, he called me and invited me to join the staff and help with the church plant… I remind every congregation that I have served that their local church is God’s Plan A for their community. There is no Plan B.”
Essentially, Steinke has been serving as an Interim Pastor since 2015. Interim Pastors go into churches that are experiencing transition, assess the current situation and begin to address the difficulties that the congregation is experiencing. The intention is to establish a platform for revitalization and renewal. An Interim Pastor could work with a congregation for just six months or for as long as two years. “To use a gardening analogy,” Steinke said, “the Interim Pastor is intentionally preparing the soil for optimal conditions for spiritual and numerical growth to occur for the next pastor. As the congregation gets greater clarity about its own unique identity and what it has to offer the community, the role and gifting required for the next pastor become apparent. It is a valuable gift for the new incoming pastor to have the groundwork prepared. Once the groundwork has been laid and the best candidate is selected, the Interim Pastor moves onto the next church and begins the process all over again.”
“I find the role of the Interim Pastor both challenging and rewarding,” Steinke shared. “It enables me be to be both genuine and authentic. I can ‘speak the truth in love’ without worrying about the potential of losing my job. The nature of the position is to facilitate transition, not to put down roots.”
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.