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Essential tasks

  • 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.
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Reflection questions

  • 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?
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Best practices

  • 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
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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.
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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.

Go to next stage