Calling a Pastor
The process of calling a pastor is a holy and sacred time for a Christian congregation during which its members, as the royal priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:9), prayerfully seek God’s will for who is to fill the divinely-instituted office of the pastoral ministry (Acts 20:28) in their midst. This is a marked contrast to simply “hiring” an available pastor. During a vacancy, a congregation can take the opportunity to identify and evaluate its strengths, weaknesses, and vision for ministry as it seeks the Holy Spirit’s will regarding who its next pastor should be.
Gathering and discussing feedback from members of the congregation provides current viewpoints of what kind of leadership gifts are needed from a pastor. The lay leadership of the congregation, as its representatives, should carefully consider that feedback and interpret it in a way that helps the congregation find a pastor who will shepherd it toward the fulfillment of Christ’s mission for the church (Luke 19:10).
The mission and ministry facilitator and circuit visitor are people from the President’s Office of the Texas District who are experienced, trained and available to assist in the process. They will provide insight on the Scriptural basis for filling the pastoral office and information about best practices for call committees. The circuit visitor should be kept apprised of the call process and every meeting of the call committee.
- Pray for your call committee and congregation leaders
- Pray for how God might open doors for your congregation to become involved with the surrounding community (Click here for ideas. )
- Pray for God to prepare the way and the heart of your future pastor and his family
- Stay informed by reading reports of the call committee
- Attend congregation meeting to vote and call a pastor
Call Committee: Part 1—Information—Gathering Stage
- Pray for God’s guidance and direction
- Initial Information Meeting with congregation support specialist and circuit visitor for orientation to the process. Request an area demographic report.
- Publicize the process and submit it for congregational approval (if approval is necessary), and continuously communicate progress to the leaders and membership, as well as keep your circuit visitor informed and invited to all meetings of the call committee.
- Meet with the congregation support specialist and the circuit visitor to review the results of the pastoral profile survey, when completed
- Meet with congregation members to review the results of the gathered information and call for nominations based on that information
- Submit the following items to the Office of the District President:
Call Committee: Part 2—Discerning and Election Stage (approximately one month later)
- Pray for God’s guidance and direction
- Meet with your circuit visitor to receive and review the information (typically the Personal Information Form and the Self-Evaluation Tool) for pastoral candidates on the list
- Meet to pray, discuss, and rank nominees
- Determine salary levels for men on the shortlist, in conjunction with church leadership (see above) and begin completing non-financial information of the Call Documents
- Prepare to interview selected nominees via phone or Zoom
- Identify and invite final candidates for in-person visits
- Set a date for a congregation call service in coordination with the circuit visitor, and prepare to present the appropriate number of nominees for the vote
- Contact the pastor-elect immediately after the meeting to let him know that he will be receiving a divine call from your congregation
- Finalize the Call Documents and email a copy to the pastor-elect immediately. Mail the original hard copy within 2-3 days
- Notify the district president of the call extended
- In the week following notify the other candidates with whom the committee has spoken that another has been selected
- Invite the pastor-elect and wife to visit at the congregation’s expense
- If the pastor-elect accepts the call, begin planning for his transition and installation, in coordination with the circuit visitor
- If the pastor-elect declines the call, the committee may
- Select another set of names from the list it already has
- Call for more nominations from the congregation
- Ask for more (or another set of) names from the district president
Additional Helpful Information