The Call Process
(from materials by PCUSA’s Church Leadership Connection: The Revised On Calling a Pastor Manual)—see end of list for explanation of acronyms
1. Contact the COM upon notification of the pastor’s resignation (Session)
2. Plan for the Transition (COM and Session)
3. Dissolve the Pastoral Relationship (Presbytery)
4. Confer with COM whether a mission study will be required (Session)
5. Discern your leadership needs (COM and Session)
6. Assess the Financial Capability of the Congregation (Session and COM)
7. Authorize a Congregational Meeting to elect a PNC (Session)
8. Elect the PNC (Congregation)
9. Write the MIF (PNC)
10. Submit MIF to CLC for Matching (PNC)
11. Define an Interview Process (PNC)
12. Review and receive PIF Referrals (PNC)
13. Reference Check Presbytery, Background, and Others (Presbytery)
14. Select a Nominee (PNC)
15. Extend a Call (PNC)
16. Negotiate Terms of Call (PNC and Minister)
17. Approve Call and Terms (COM)
18. Report Call to the Session (PNC)
19. Authorize a Congregational Meeting to elect the Pastor (Session)
20. Elect the Pastor (Congregation)
21. Sign the Call (PNC and COM)
COM = Committee on Ministry
The Presbyterian’s “bishop.” This group (since we believe the Holy Spirit speaks through the wisdom of the gathered community) of teaching elders (pastors) and ruling elders (session members) serves as the personnel committee for the Presbytery’s churches. COM signs off on the fact that an individual church is ready to nominate a pastor nominating committee, and also affirms its sense of the call of any pastor who is nominated to serve a particular church.
PNC = Pastor Nominating Committee
This is the representative group of a particular church whom the church’s session empowers to do the work of vetting potential candidates for a church’s open pastoral position. This means sifting through resumes that arrive at the church through self-referrals and references of church members, presbytery execs, other pastors, seminary leaders and other means. The PNC is nominated by the church’s nominating committee. The nominating committee is made up of session members, deacons, and at large representatives of a particular congregation. The congregation has the final say, however, on the makeup of the PNC since the nominating committee’s slate of those nominated to serve in this important capacity must be approved by a vote of the congregation.
MIF = Ministry Information Form
This is the equivalent of the church’s resume. It describes the church’s ministry, its leadership needs, its makeup, its current ministries and its hopes for the future. Potential pastors have a similar form they fill out for churches of what their skills are and the kind of church they are hoping to serve. That form is called a PIF, personnel information form, and will be the first introduction your PNC gets to potential candidates for CHPC’s pastoral position.
CLC = Church Leadership Connection
This is the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s personnel clearinghouse. It is computerized and holds the data on all pastors looking for a church, as well as on all churches looking for a pastor. There is an algorithm that matches pastors (partly according to the skills they claim to have) with churches (partly according to the set of pastoral skills they have discerned they need).
Any questions about where we are in the process of calling a pastor or on how you can be involved? Address them to the transitional pastor (Elisa Owen) or your elders (Doug Aycock, Justin Banks, Beverly Bartlett Turner, Soni Castleberry, Seth Craigo-Snell, Stephanie Gregory, Alan Pauw, Daylen Payton, Marcus Perry, Eric Proctor, Eva Stimson, and Sandy Weldy-Cook).