H. Lynn Eckeberger honored with Intentional Interim Ministry award for dedicated service

by Meredith Poe on January 25, 2024 in News

Texas Baptists Interim Church Services and the Intentional Interim Ministry (IIM) network named Dr. H. Lynn Eckeberger the 2023 Interim Pastor of the Year. Eckeberger was honored with the Maples Williamson Daehnert (MWD) Award in a service towards the close of the year at First Baptist Church of Hawkins, where he currently serves as an intentional interim pastor.

Eckeberger has guided over a dozen Texas Baptists churches through the IIM process, including First Baptist Churches of Sanger, Bryan, Port Neches, Mineola and others. Before his long tenure as an interim pastor, he served as director of missions for Concho Valley Baptist Association, minister of Education/Administration and senior pastor at several local churches, as well as in several leadership positions for Texas Baptists.

Eckeberger holds a Master of Religious Education and a Ph.D. in Administration. He also serves on an advisory committee and peer review team for IIM. He has trained others in intentional interim techniques, promoted the ministry and been an encourager to many.

Karl Fickling, coordinator of Interim Church Services, presented Eckeberger with a commemorative desk clock in appreciation for Eckeberger helping churches innovate and move positively forward.

“It was an honor to recognize Dr. Eckeberger for his many years of service through Intentional Interim Ministry,” said Fickling. “This award is a way of affirming him while at the same time encouraging others to excel.”

Intentional Interim Ministry explained

The vision for the specialized approach to interim ministry was brought to Texas Baptists by Dick Maples, Charles Lee Williamson and Jan Daehnert — namesakes of the MWD Award. Since 2009, the award has been presented annually to a pastor who excels in Intentional Interim Ministry.

“With IIM, a church decides not to call a new pastor immediately. Instead, the church allows an interim pastor to guide it through a health check. The church works to improve in certain areas and learn more about itself so it can better know whom to call as the next pastor. This process typically takes nine months to a year,” said Fickling.

In 2023, the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation provided a generous grant to help train pastors in IIM. This year, that grant has doubled in size so that twice as many pastors may receive training as intentional interims.

“Many who are trained and serve in IIM tell me it ends up being the most important and fulfilling ministry of their lives,” said Fickling. “It allows them to continue in their call to ministry, and it has a real impact on churches that need to be guided through a healing process. It really can change the future of a church.”

To learn more about Intentional Interim Ministry and upcoming training opportunities, email Karl Fickling at karl.fickling[at]txb.org.

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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Read more articles in: News, Interim Ministry, Ministerial Health