As congregations make a transition from one pastor to another there are essentially seven major steps. Step one, saying goodbye, is described in detail in the document Healthy Transitions. The remaining steps are described in detail in the document Pastoral Transitions. Both documents are available at the links below. The office of the bishop is available to assist throughout the entire process, and we invite you to contact us.
Step One – Saying Goodbye
When a pastor announces that he or she will be leaving a congregation, it is natural for there to be a time of grief. We believe taking time to say goodbye, give thanks and hold an appropriate send-off is healthy. Doing this well is important, and sets the stage for the next chapter.
Step Two - Engage in Discernment
This time of transition is a powerful time for discernment. Congregations can utilize an array of resources to examine patterns, explore potential partnerships, engage in community and develop a strong sense of purpose.
Step Three - Explore Missional Sustainability Options
This step provides the congregation the opportunity to address questions about moving into the future while wondering if you have enough resources to sustain your ministry. Resources include concrete opportunities for congregations to consider as they move forward.
Step Four – Developing a Profile
This step includes the creating of a Ministry Site Profile (MSP) committee. This team of five persons compiles a document that describes the ministry of the congregation. This MSP will be presented to potential candidates as they discern God’s calling for their next chapter in ministry.
Step Five - Form a Call Committee
The church council appoints a call committee of six persons, plus an alternate. This is the committee that will review candidate profiles, called Rostered Leader Profiles or RLP, interview and listen to candidate sermons. They will then recommend a final candidate to the council and congregation.
Step Six – Extending a Call
The congregation is the official body that issues the call. This is done at an officially held meeting of the congregation. After the vote, there is often a time of preparation for the new leader. We suggest using this time to make repairs to parsonages, or assist with local real estate agents, prepare a book of favorite recreational activities or restaurants.
Step Seven – Begin New Call
The first six to twelve months are a time of both congregation and leader getting to know one another.
We believe it is of value to plan together healthy ways to begin a new chapter in the life of a congregation’s ministry.
Transition Process GuidesHEALTHY TRANSITIONS
A guide for congregations entering transition.
(NOTE: This document includes the 2024 Compensation Guidelines approved at the September 2023 Synod Council meeting.)
Discernment and Profile
Call Process Video Guides
Hear from synod staff about specific parts of the call process:Church Council: Receiving a Candidate and Creating Compensation