Essential tasks

  • Establishing criteria that will enable the search team to assess candidates’ fit with the church and the position. Setting competencies allows search team members to broaden their imaginations about what the next minister might look like and to focus on the qualities that matter.
  • Composing a congregational profile or information packet. Candidates look for the best-fit setting as much as for the best-fit position.
  • Writing a position description. For candidates to know if they are interested in and qualified for your position, they must have a picture of what it entails.
  • Naming a salary range. Getting clear on compensation at this phase allows candidates to self-eliminate and ensures that the package offered to the candidate of choice will be based on qualifications and responsibilities rather than other variables.

Reflection questions

  • What assumptions do we have about our next minister? Which ones will serve the candidates and us well, and which ones won’t?
  • What ministerial competencies would best enable our church to live toward God’s dream for it, as discerned during congregational discussions on identity and direction? How do we distinguish between essential and desirable qualities?
  • How do we translate the essentials into a position description that will inform and excite potential candidates?
  • What do we want potential candidates to know first about our congregation and open position?
  • What is a fair compensation range for the level of responsibility, skills, and experience we are looking for in a minister?

Best practices

  • Incorporating the self-study work done by the whole church into the composition of the congregational profile/information
  • Becoming familiar with what a minister’s day-to-day schedule can include
  • Leaving room in the position description for some tailoring of responsibilities to the called minister
  • Researching the cost of living in the area
  • Becoming well-versed in judicatory salary guidelines and/or requirements, typical salaries for congregations with similar characteristics, and the various components of a minister’s compensation package
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From the candidate's perspective

  • Could be serving elsewhere with no thought of seeking a new position.
  • Could be seeking a new call and keeping ears perked for opportunities. Might begin tracking your congregation’s progress through the transition time and looking for a position announcement.
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Are we ready for the next stage?

  • The search team has distinguished between skills and experience it must have in a minister and qualities it would prefer.
  • The search team has composed a congregational profile and/or information packet to send to the judicatory/denomination and/or candidates.
  • The search team has created a position description that is both realistic and flexible.
  • The search team has outlined the basics of a compensation package, with preliminary approval from the overseers of the church’s finances.
  • The search team has communicated to the church what it has been doing and how this work benefits the process.

Go to next stage

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If you want to read more

  • Pros and cons (from pastor and parish perspectives) of parsonages/manses/rectories vs. clergy finding their own housing available here from the Episcopal Church