The Call Process
The time between when a rostered leader announces his or her resignation and the next ‘settled’ rostered leader begins his or her call is a special time in the life of the congregation. It is a time filled with hope and expectation, of questioning and experimentation. It can also be a time of anxiety.
Prayer, Bible study, and spiritual practices will keep the congregation focused on what God’s hopes for this congregation are. The congregations of the SEMN Synod participate in a Four Phase Call Process.
Phase I: The Leave-taking/The Transition-time
It is during this phase that a conversation is had regarding what it means for a rostered leader to leave well and the expectation to honor boundaries set forth by the ELCA between the congregation and the leaving rostered leader. This is also the time to celebrate the ministry that the rostered leader and the congregation have shared. At this point, the council forms and appoints the call committee. (See Zumbro’s appointed call committee on the next page.)
Phase II: Self-Study Process and Ministry Site Profile Completion
The call committee explores vision and ministry needs of the congregation by engaging the congregation in a self-study which may be accomplished through a variety of ways. The self-study leads to the completion of the Ministry Site Profile (MSP) which becomes an integral document shared with potential candidates as their first exposure to who your congregation is. After the MSP is completed and before it is officially submitted, a congregational town hall meeting may be held to review and comment on the MSP. This is attended by the Assistant to the Bishop in call process.
Phase III: Interviewing Candidates/Discerning the Candidate of Choice
The call committee discusses interview protocol and develops questions for candidates. It is also at this time that they receive nominations of pastoral candidates from the congregation. Other names are received from the Office of the Bishop. After the first interviews are completed, each candidate is notified as to whether they will continue in the process. The call committee engages in second interviews and gathers other information. The call committee discerns the candidate of choice and, with consent from the candidate, presents the candidate of choice recommendation to congregation council. The congregation council sets the date for the special congregational call meeting. A two-thirds majority vote of the congregation is required in calling a new pastor.
Phase IV: Preparing for and Welcoming the New Pastor
The pastor, the council president and the Assistant to the Bishop coordinate a date for the installation of the new pastor. Congregation council and call committee plan activities to welcome the new pastor (and family) to the congregation.