and Check List for Church Calling New Pastoral Leadership
In Providence Presbytery
The following process has been adopted by the Committee on Ministry of Providence Presbytery.
1. When the pastor or associate pastor retires or resigns he or she should first notify the
Committee on Ministry (COM) and the Presbytery Executive. Then the pastor should
call a session meeting to inform the session of their desire to dissolve the relationship,
and to request a congregational meeting to act on their request for the dissolution.
2. The COM will appoint a liaison to be its representative and consultant to the session
and the pastor nominating committee (PNC) during the process.
3. The COM will ordinarily have an exit interview with every outgoing pastor to gather
helpful information for ministering with that particular congregation.
4. Representatives from the COM will meet with the session to discuss interim pastoral
leadership, and to share the pastoral search process with them.
5. The session calls a congregational meeting to vote on the pastoral dissolution.
6. Election of the PNC should not take place until after the pastor has left and the session
has met with representatives from the Presbytery’s COM.
7. A representative of the COM, or a member of the Presbytery’s staff, should be asked to
fill the pulpit on the Sunday after the pastor leaves, in order to share with the
congregation the steps involved in the pastoral search process and to help develop a
partnership with the Presbytery in the process.
8. After meeting with representatives from the COM the session shall proceed with the
election of the PNC. This committee, normally, should consist of between five and nine
members representing the total congregation (G14.0502).
9. The PNC will meet with the liaison appointed by the COM and the Presbytery Executive,
who staffs this committee, for orientation and training.
10. It is strongly recommended that a congregationalwide
event be held at this time to
determine the mission directions for the church, using leadership suggested by the
11. The liaison from the COM will help the pastor nominating committee fill out the Church
Information Form (CIF) provided by the General Assembly in light of the data gathered
at the congregationalwide
event. The purpose of the CIF is to articulate the church on
paper so that a prospective pastor can clearly understand the church. While the CIF is
filled out by the PNC, it, along with the EEO/AA Form, needs to be approved by the
12. The PNC will begin the process of requesting and sorting through the Personal
Information Forms (PIFs) of prospective pastors. While the PNC should be open to
names from a variety of sources, all PIFs shall be secured through the
Presbytery office. When the PNC receives a PIF for a minister, this is a “preliminary
approval” and implies no more approval than the fact that the PNC can visit and talk
with the pastor.
13. The PNC after studying the PIFs, determining if candidates are interested, checking
references, viewing or listening to sermon tapes, doing telephone/conference call
interviews, etc. for a period of four to six weeks, should select a priority list of three to
five persons. When the PNC has reached this stage, they should request the
Presbytery Executive to do a further reference check on these three to five persons by
contacting their Presbytery Executive for a reference. After this has been done, the
PNC should then set up interviews with the candidates and to hear them reach.
14. The liaison will help the PNC design an interview process where they ask about
capabilities, major relational skills and get to know each candidate. Included in this
design will be an introduction to the church and community. Many PNCs have found
that preparing a scrapbook, which describes the mission and program of the church in
words and pictures, to be helpful to prospective ministers and their families. After
interviewing, the PNC will call additional references to ask specific questions.
15. When the PNC has agreed to call a prospective pastor they shall: a. Provide the COM with a letter outlining why they have chosen this particular
candidate and send the COM the terms of the call. The call must meet the
b. Have the candidate meet with the session to get acquainted.
16. The prospective pastor will then meet with the COM at a convenient time with
reasonable advance notice being given.
17. The COM will notify the PNC of approval or disapproval of the name of the prospective
pastor. If approved, the PNC will proceed with the calling process by placing the name
before the session for the purpose of calling a congregational meeting. Upon the
election of the pastor by the congregation, the pastor can move on the field and the
PNC can be dismissed with thanks. Many churches have found it helpful to keep the
PNC in place for the first six months of the new pastorate to serve as a support team
and transition committee for the new pastor.
18. The new pastor, the session, and the COM liaison will make plans for the
ordination/installation service, after the minister has been approved by the Presbytery,
using guidelines provided by the Presbytery.
19. The PNC will need to remember to write a letter to each candidate whom they have
interviewed at the time that the candidate is no longer being considered so that the
candidates will know their status with the committee.
20. The session will need to provide for the expenses that the PNC may incur (travel,
meals, etc.) and the expenses of bringing a candidate(s) for interviews (travel, motel,