Search and Call
The process by which authorized ministers and congregations come together for shared ministry in the name of Jesus Christ and on behalf of the United Church of Christ is entitled “Search and Call.” Search and Call takes considerable time and thoughtfulness, with prayerful attention to both logistical detail and the movement of God’s Spirit. It is expected that authorized ministers and local congregations work closely with Conferences and Associations while engaged in Search and Call.
First Stop: A Guide to Pastoral Search and Call
A resource in support of the covenants that bind together the ministry of Pastors and their Congregations.
Ministers in Search
The Guide to Pastoral Search & Call for Ministers/Candidates in Search provides discernment tools and practical help during the search process. Use the following tools for professional networking: The Snapshot as your online UCC business card, the Ministerial Profile as your validated search and call documentation, and UCC Ministry Opportunities as the listing for open pastoral positions in the UCC and beyond. Practices of discernment will assist you as you prayerfully read Local Church Profiles and proceed to interview with search committees. Maintain an account in the Ministerial Profiles system (where both the Snapshot and Profile are created) to demonstrate your availability to serve as special resource person, supply minister, designated-term minister, intentional interim minister, and/or settled minister. If you’re a minister from another denomination and you hope to seek a call within the United Church of Christ, you should first be in conversation with your local UCC Association or Conference.
Churches in Transition
Reach out to your conference or association for assistance with resources including: The Guide to Pastoral Search & Call for Local Churches the Local Church Profile, an understanding of Ministerial Profiles, practices of discernment, issues of diversity in the search and call process, and an online listing of your open position at UCC Ministry Opportunities. Through your conference, your church may list a variety of available positions – including staff, volunteer, and pastoral positions – at UCC Ministry Opportunities. In the online UCC bookstore, you can find a checklist poster and DVD to help your church understand the search process. Online video resources are available for use by search committees.
Additional Resources: A Litany for Commissioning a Pastoral Search Committee
Intentional Interim Ministry
The Guide to Pastoral Search & Call for Intentional Interim Pastors provides logistical and liturgical tools for the interim season. Use the Local Church Profile to assist the momentum and work of the congregation during an interim season. You may work closely with the governing body or a transition team to engage the whole congregation in discovery, assessment and/or healing, in preparation for the call of a next settled minister. Always work collegially with conference staff and help the congregation do the same. Specialized training for intentional interim ministers is available through the Interim Ministry Network and affiliates. Support and advocacy for intentional interim ministers can be found through membership in the Association of United Church of Christ Intentional Interim Ministers (AUCCIIM). Note: The ethics of professional transitional ministry dictate that no minister serving under interim terms of call is eligible to be considered a candidate for the settled position when it becomes available.
Search and Call Staff
In support of a congregation in its ministerial search, share the Local Church Profile template, the Guide to Pastoral Search & Call for Congregations, and related resources, such as the Welcoming Diversity Inventory and the “Stretching Beyond: Diversity in the Search and Call Process” videos. Meet with the governing body to help a congregation plan its approach and timeline, and then again with the search committee after it’s formed to equip the search process with tools from the wider church. Conference and Association staff can reference Search and Call Conversations to understand and ground their work. With church leaders, utilize the Snapshot database and Profiles portal, the Call Agreement Workbook, UCC Ministry Opportunities, and their own conference compensation guidelines to connect searching ministers and congregations for shared discernment. With ministers in search and/or serving in temporary positions, staff can recommend the Guide to Pastoral Search & Call for Ministers/Candidates in Search, the Guide for Intentional Interim Ministers, and the Guide for Supply Pastors.
“The gifts Christ gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:11-12
Questions? Contact us.
Rev. Jeffrey Nelson
Minister for Ministerial Calls and Transitions