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 called “Seeking and Calling.” Search and Call takes a great deal of time and thought, with prayerful attention to both logistical detail and the moving of God’s Spirit. Authorized ministers and local congregations are expected to work closely with conferences and associations when engaged in seeking and calling.

First Stop: A Guide to Pastoral Research and Calling

A resource to support the covenants that bind the ministry of pastors and their congregations.

Intentional Interim Ministry

Research Ministers

The Pastoral Research Guide & Call to Ministers/Researchers provides tools for discernment and practical help during the research process. Use the following tools for professional networking: Snapshot as an online UCC business card, Ministry Profile as vetted research and appeal materials, and UCC Ministry Opportunities as a list of open pastoral positions in UCC and beyond. Discernment practices will help you as you prayerfully read local church profiles and interview search committees. Maintain an account in the Ministerial Profiles system (where the snapshot and profile are created) to demonstrate your availability to serve as a Special Contact, Minister of Supply, Term Minister, Intended Acting Minister and /or established minister. If you are a minister of another denomination and you hope to seek a calling within the United Church of Christ, you should first be in conversation with your local UCC association or conference.

Churches in transition

Contact your conference or association for help with resources such as: The Pastoral Research and Calling Guide for Local Churches, Local Church Profile, An Understanding of Ministry Profiles, Discernment Practices, diversity issues in the search and appeal process, and an online listing of your UCC Ministry Opportunities vacancy. Through your conference, your church can list a variety of available positions — including staff, volunteer, and pastoral positions — at UCC Ministry Opportunities. In the UCC Online Bookstore, you can find a checklist poster and DVD to help your church understand the research process. Online video resources are available for use by search committees.

Intentional Interim Ministry

The Guide to Pastoral Research and the Calling of Intentional Interim Pastors provides logistical and liturgical tools for the interim season. Use the local church profile to support the momentum and work of the congregation during a shoulder season. You can work closely with the governing body or a transition team to engage the whole congregation in discovery, evaluation, and/or healing, in preparation for the calling of a next established minister. Always work collegially with conference personnel and help the congregation do the same. Specialized training for Intentional Interim Ministers is available through the Interim Ministry Network and its affiliates. Support and advocacy for intentional acting ministers can be found through membership in the Association of Intentional Acting Ministers of the United Church of Christ (AUCCIIM). Note: Transitional professional ministry ethics dictate that no minister serving on an interim call may be considered a candidate for the established office when it becomes available.

Find and call staff

To support a congregation in their ministry search, share the local church profile template, the Guide to Pastoral Research and Calling to Congregations, and related resources, such as the Welcoming Diversity Inventory and the document “Reaching Beyond: Diversity in the Search and Appeal Process”. videos. Meet with the governing body to help a congregation plan its approach and timeline, then again with the search committee after it is formed to equip the search process with tools from the wider church. Staff conference and association can view research and calling conversations to understand and support their work.With church leaders, use the Snapshot database and profile portal, workbook calling agreement, UCC ministry opportunities, and their own conference compensation guidelines to connect ministers and congregations seeking shared discernment. With ministers seeking and/or serving temporary positions, staff may recommend the Guide to Pastoral Research and the Calling of Ministers/Candidates in Search, the Guide for Intentional Acting Ministers, and the Guide for Supply Pastors.

“The gifts that Christ gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, to edify the body of Christ. – Ephesians 4:11-12

Questions? Contact us.

Reverend Jeffrey Nelson
Minister for Ministerial Appeals and Transitions
[email protected], 216.736.3838

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