- Composing a letter of covenant. A covenant formalizes the responsibilities minister and church have to one another. It clarifies expectations on all sides and acts as a touchstone when there is confusion or difficulty in the pastor-parish relationship.
- Negotiating compensation. A package that honors the gifts, experience, responsibilities, and needs of the minister clears the way for focus on the ministry at hand.
- Setting a start date. A firm date allows the called minister to say proper goodbyes and prepare for a move and gives the calling congregation a timetable for welcoming the new minister properly.
- Saying goodbye to interim minister (if applicable). The interim minister has walked with the congregation through a short but significant season of challenge and opportunity.
- What expectations have yet to be named by the church, new minister, and/or judicatory?
- What additional information does the minister need from us in order to discern the fit?
- How can we approach compensation conversations from a framework of abundance rather than scarcity?
- Ensuring the compensation offer is authorized by necessary parties before making it
- Being flexible with minister about start date
- Informing other candidates who made on-site visits about the conclusion of the process
- Staying in contact with called minister in the time leading up to arrival
- Celebrating the close of a fruitful search process and transition season
- Disposing properly of sensitive search materials
- Celebrating/thanking the interim minister (if applicable) for his/her service
From the candidate's perspective
- Excitement about having been extended a call to your church.
- Grief about change, no matter how exciting.
- In addition to a simple yes or no, weighing various factors around the compensation offer:
- Would I be making what I am worth? Would I be able to afford living in this area? If not, what are the reasons the offer is low?
- Are the benefits commensurate with my level of responsibility and experience? Would they allow me ample opportunities for self-care and personal and professional growth?
- Encouragement when questions and requests about the terms of call are met with openness and flexibility, hesitancy when they are not.
- Confusion and disappointment for candidates not chosen, particularly those who are given no feedback and/or find out someone else was called from another source.
Are we ready for the next stage?
- The governing body, congregation, judicatory (if applicable), and minister are clear about and have agreed on terms of call, including responsibilities, compensation, and start date.
- The covenant between minister and congregation has been drafted, agreed upon, and signed by all involved parties.
- The search team has notified other candidates who came for on-site visits that a call has been extended and accepted.
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