“The Pastoral Call Process Begins”
I bring you good news of a great joy! Before the end of October Wildwood Presbyterian
Church will not only have elected its Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC), but the
committee will also have begun to meet! Names of those who might serve on the
committee have been submitted and those open to serving have met or will meet for
information one of two days at the end of September with WPC’s Committee on Ministry
liaison, Brian Tischendorf, and me. Following that, the Officer Nominating Committee
and Session will prayerfully deliberate and submit to the congregation for vote a slate of
seven to nine names. Nominations can also be received from the floor. The election of
the church’s Pastor is an inalienable right of Presbyterian congregations and thus, even
the Pastor Nominating Committee must be elected by the congregation.
At our WildFuture worship on September 13, those in attendance offered prayers for the
soon to be elected PNC and I urge you the congregation to keep them in prayer. Pray for
them to be open to God’s leading in this pastoral call process.
Is this pastoral call process just church language for a personnel search? No, not at all.
Rather, we Presbyterians believe the process is guided by Jesus Christ, the head of the
Church. The congregation, through its Pastor Nominating Committee, seeks to discern
whom God is calling into pastoral leadership. Charles M. Olsen and Ellen Morseth of
the Alban Institute describe the call process like this “…the question before us could be
framed thusly; ‘God, whom are you calling at this time to lead in this church? Show us
your choice.’ We are invited to participate in God’s own choice.”
Therefore, the calling of a new pastor is not simply hiring a new employee for the church
as would be done for a secular job. Instead, it is participating in God’s own choice for
church leadership by being open to the work of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we Presbyterians
have this somewhat audacious belief that God can use committees, resumes, guidelines,
and our Presbyterian form of government, mixed with a healthy dose of scripture, prayer,
and worship, to discern what person God is calling to serve as pastor here. (Some
of the above has been adapted from the PC(USA)’s booklet, “On Calling a Pastor”.) In
God’s good time (we hope sooner than later!), the PNC will be presenting to you, the
congregation, that person’s name for election as WPC’s next Pastor. To God be the glory.
Grace and peace,