Search for Our Associate Pastor for Missions, Outreach, and Fellowship
- Pastor Searches
- Transition Work →
- The APNC →
- Mission Study →
- *THE MIF*
- The Call
- COM Exam
- Presentation to Congregation
- Presbytery Exam
- Joining in Ministry
The way we conduct pastoral searches in the Presbyterian Church is faithful, orderly, usually powerful, and, to some, seemingly tedious. “Why can’t it be just like any other job search? Just find someone and hire them!” Well, for one, we consider calling a pastor and installing him/her in ministry as part of our congregation as a spiritual process, not just trying to fill a post. It’s affirming a three-way sense of call between an individual, a congregation, and a Presbytery, so it’s best not to rush things. As you visit (and revisit) this page, know that this process isn’t just filling a job; it’s discerning the one whom God has already identified to serve as our next Associate Pastor.
In any pastoral transition, there’s need for a church to discern how the Spirit may be guiding the scope and shape of the congregation’s ministry. In our case, our Session discerned that some adjustments to our pastoral staff structure would be faithful and wise. Rev. Mark Lampley became Senior Associate Pastor for Formation and Care, and we were joined by Rev. Janna Preston as Minister for Congregational Care in a part-time ministerial position. Those adjustments shaped the scope of this Associate Pastor position.
The responsibility of seeking out the one whom God has already identified as our next Associate Pastor is entrusted to a group called a Pastor Nominating Committee, or in our case an Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (APNC). This group is nominated by the congregation’s Nominating Committee–yes, we have both a Nominating Committee and an Associate Pastor Nominating Committee–and then elected by the congregation. The APNC is called to discern the Spirit’s guidance regarding candidates as well as represent the congregation in this powerful process. The APNC is also in steady conversation with the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry. Many PNCs and APNCs have testified to the prayerful, confusing, formative, illuminating, even frustrating process that a search can be at times, but over and over again they bear witness to the Spirit’s work throughout.
Depending on the circumstance, the PNC or APNC would conduct a “mission study,” as part of discerning the needs and callings of the whole church. In our case, much of this work was done in Step #2, but the APNC is responsible for reviewing and confirming this direction.
The APNC drafts a Ministry Information Form (MIF). A MIF is like an extended job description, but it focuses more on how a congregation senses its calling as Christ’s church and then how the Associate Pastor would feature into that calling. It is a glimpse and representation of the church that, in many instances, would be the first exposure a candidate may have with a congregation, so the MIF is written with great care. This document is then approved by the Session and by the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry.
Once an APNC has discerned that God has called an individual to ministry in our congregation, they “extend the call” to that person and confirm terms like start date, compensation, etc. The candidate then accepts or declines the call. In most cases, once a call has been accepted, it’s just a matter, albeit a serious one, of other groups affirming that call.
Once a candidate has accepted the call, he/she will appear before the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry (COM). The COM is the group within our Presbytery entrusted with the responsibility of examining and welcoming potential new pastors into ministry. Think of it this way: we are connected in ministry and share in accountability with our Presbyterian brothers and sisters. We as a congregation share in the responsibility of ensuring devotion to Christ in heart, mind, and body, a firm grasp of and passion for Scripture, as well as a strong footing in the Reformed tradition. The last thing we would want is for someone to say, “Eh, whatever. Doesn’t matter anyway.”
July 2022: Associate Pastor Nominating Committee elected by congregation
- Click Here to learn more about your APNC
June 2022: Rev. Janna Preston begins as Minister for Congregational Care
- We are joined by Rev. Janna Preston, ordained in the Disciples of Christ tradition. She serves as our Minister for Congregational Care, a part-time ministerial position focusing on ministry with/for older adults and women’s ministries.
May 2022: Nominating Committee starts forming APNC
- after receiving nominations from the congregation, the Nominating Committee discerns a group to present as our Associate Pastor Nominating Committee.
April 2022: Session Approves Adjust Pastoral Staff Structure
- Rev. Mark Lampley to become Senior Associate Pastor for Formation and Care, overseeing our ministries for Christian Formation and Congregational Care.
- Creation of part-time ministerial position for Congregational Care, with focuses on ministry with/for older adults and women’s ministries.
- Creation of full-time installed Associate Pastor position for Missions, Outreach, and Fellowship.
- Click Here for more details on this adjusted structure from The Tower in May 2022 (p. 5).