Calling a Pastor Cliff Creel, Stated Clerk Presbytery of Northern New England
The Call Process • Presbyterians believe that pastors and congregations are brought together through a call from God. • The call is confirmed as the pastor, the congregation and the presbytery each say yes to the relationship.
Installed Pastor Leaves • Circumstances are important • Retirement • How much conflict within the congregation? • How long was the pastor in place? • Was there a chance to say goodbye? • How strong is the current Session leadership?
Presbytery Role • Presbytery will • Appoint a Session moderator • Appoint a COM liaison to work with Session • Assist Session to obtain temporary pastoral help.
Moderator • Appointed by Presbytery COM. • Moderates all meetings of Session and the congregation or provides someone to do so. • Works with Session to help them fulfill their responsibilities. • Helps educate Session.
COM Liaison • A member of the Committee on Ministry (COM) is appointed to work with the Session / PNC during the transition. • Help guide through the process. • Help get resources when needed. • Keeps COM informed of status.
Session’s Role • Session must provide leadership. • Be sure someone preaches every Sunday – pulpit supply. Some elders may preach. • Be sure sacraments are rightly administered. COM liaison can help. • Keep church running as normally as possible. • Secure temporary pastoral leadership (with COM approval).
Temporary Pastors • Interim Pastor • Actively searching for a pastor. • May assist with mission study • Temporary Supply • Not actively searching for a permanent pastor. • Not seeking a long term relationship. • Stated Supply • Can be long term, but not installed (year to year contract). • Often not PCUSA or some special conditions. • Designated Pastor • Installed for a specific period of time. (typically 2 to 4 years)
Interim Pastor • A specially trained teaching elder. • Typically in place for 1 to 2 years. • Hired by Session with approval of COM. • COM can help locate trained interims. • Pay is typically same as last pastor. • May help with mission study.
Interim Tasks • Coming to Terms with History • Discovering a New Identity • Shifts of Power / Leadership Changes • Renewing Denominational Linkages • Commitment to New Leadership and Future
Mission Study • Lead by the Session, but involves the whole congregation. • What are we doing as a congregation now and what is God calling us to do next? • What are the demographics of our community and the needs of that community? • What will we do to strengthen our ministries to better serve the needs of our congregation and our community? • What changes and programs do we need to implement to better serve our existing congregation and to bring in new members? • What skills, experience and personal characteristics do we need to search for in a new pastor?
Mission Study Approvals • Mission Study may be lead by Session or a committee delegated by Session. An outside facilitator is sometimes used. • Mission Study is approved by Session and COM. • COM gives approval to form a PNC (Pastor Nominating Committee).
Preparing for New Pastor • Session must prepare for the arrival of the new pastor. • Church finances • Are there adequate funds to support a new pastor • Budget for the search process • Budget for moving expenses • Manse renovations / Housing allowance • Pastor’s office renovations / updates
Terms of Calls • Effective Salary • Cash salary • Housing + utilities • 403(b) + other deferred compensation (optional) • SECOND half of social security (optional) • Other optional benefits • Benefits • Board of Pensions dues • FIRST half of social security (if pastor participates in social security) • Other benefits provided to ALL employees • Reimbursables (by receipt) • Auto expenses • Study leave • Book expenses
PNC Election • Congregation’s Nominating Committee nominates a PNC. Typically 5 to 9 persons. • Must be representative of the congregation. • Must allow nominations from floor. • Elected by majority vote of congregation. • Recommend that a chair be nominated and elected as well – not self-selected by PNC. • Suggest a Session liaison on PNC.
Ministry Information Form • First task of PNC is to write the Ministry Information Form (MIF) – formerly Church Information Form (CIF). • Standard form provided by PCUSA – Church Leadership Connection. • Use information from Mission Study. • Approved by Session and COM. • Begin search process.
PNC Search Process • PCUSA Computer search • Advertise in Presbyterian’s Today, Outlook, etc. • Self-referrals. • May receive 100+ Personal Information Forms (PIF’s) – similar to resumes. • Conduct telephone and/or Skype interviews. • Review audio / video sermons. • Conduct reference checks. • Select a few for visits to neutral pulpits. • Select one to bring to congregation for a vote. (coordinate with Presbytery which does background check)
Terms of Call • Terms of call must meet Presbytery minimums. • Salary • + Housing • + Utilities • = Effective Salary • First call $36,614 • 1-5 yrs $37,893 • 5-10 yrs $38,831 • 10-15 yrs $39,458 • 15+ yrs $40,969 • Commissioned Ruling Elders shall received 75% of these minimums. • (as of 2013)
Pastor Candidate • PNC notifies Session, which shall call a congregational meeting to elect a pastor. • Candidate meets congregation and preaches. • Congregation votes. • Presbytery votes. • Presbytery installs pastor.
Installation • Time of celebration • Installation service by Presbytery • Pastor may start work before installation service
Follow-up • PNC may stay together for a few months to follow-up with pastor to see how things are going. • COM liaison should keep in touch with pastor and Session. • If first call, pastor should take advantage of special programs such as EMI.
Summary of “Normal” Process • Installed Pastor leaves. • Presbytery COM provides liaison support. • Session provides for worship and pastoral care. • Session hires interim pastor. • Session leads congregation in Mission Study. • Presbytery COM approves Mission Study and PNC. • Congregation elects PNC (Pastor Nominating Committee). • PNC writes Church Information Form (CIF). • Session and Presbytery COM approves CIF. • PNC begins search process • PNC brings forth a candidate to the congregation. • Congregation votes after hearing candidate preach. • If successful, Presbytery votes and installs candidate.