Dear Covenant Family,

On Monday, at our regular meeting, the session began the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) process. We are on our way to calling our next installed pastor. It will take lots of hard work, and a lot of your prayers to get there. But we have begun!

The session passed three resolutions:

  1. The session of Covenant Presbyterian Church affirms the assessment of the interim pastor and the Committee on Ministry that the congregation is ready to begin the process of searching for the next installed pastor.
  2. Activated the Standing Nominating Committee (SNC), directing them to begin searching for a slate of candidates for the PNC to be presented to the congregation and voted upon at a meeting of the congregation.
  3. Set the number of people on the PNC at seven.This gives us enough people to have a wide range of representation of the congregation, but not too many so that the committee will be unwieldy.

Next Steps in the Process:

  • Standing Nominating Committee recruits the PNC members:

PNC members must be “Active Members” – this is a technical term. It is not an assessment of an individual’s involvement. Only those who have officially joined the church and had their names recorded on the Active Roll may serve on the PNC. If anyone has any question of their status, it is easy to research. The SNC will begin their work with a listing of the active members in front of them.

Other than being on the Active Roll, there is no restriction as to who can serve on the PNC. Service on the session or as a deacon does not preclude service on the PNC. A person does not have to be ordained. Serving on SNC does not preclude service on the PNC.

We need the widest range of representation possible: men and women; different age ranges; racial and ethnic diversity; differing education levels, socio-economic diversity; retired, employed, and students; differing theological perspectives; and different wants and needs.

If you want to nominate a person to serve on the Pastor Nominating Committee, you are more than welcome. You can contact our Standing Nominating Committee members: Sheri George, Marlene LeFever, Rick Lien, Allison Sack, and Allen Schwab.

  • When the SNC has a slate of nominees ready, the session will call a special meeting of the congregation. Two weeks written notice of the meeting must be given, with the names of the slate of nominees listed in the notice. The PNC will be elected at that meeting.
  • Once the PNC is elected, I will provide an in-depth, intentional, and detailed training of the PNC. This will probably be the most important ministry the members of the PNC will ever provide for our church. It is anticipated this training will take four sessions.
  • The PNC will elect a moderator, scribe, and web coordinator. Meanwhile, the COM will appoint a liaison from presbytery to directly work with the PNC. At this point the interim pastor drops out of the process.
  • Even though this is a completely confidential process, it is very important that the PNC communicate weekly with the congregation through the Weekly Update, and announcements in worship.
  • Then the PNC will write the Ministry Information Form (MIF). This is the church’s resume.  This will give the potential pastor a written picture of our church. As the MIF is being written, the session will give guidance to the PNC as to the “minimum effective salary” to list on the MIF.
  • Once completed, the MIF will be posted on the PCUSA “Opportunity Search” website. Potential pastors can access the site. There is also a computer program that will match pastors seeking a call with Covenant’s MIF.
  • As the PNC is reading through pastor Personal Information Forms (PIFs), it will also be developing interview questions.
  • The PNC will begin to interview, one or several, candidates. They can interview as many people as many times as they feel the need. There are no limits or expectations.  Remember, this process will do more to impact the future of our church than almost anything else. This is also the time for the PNC to check any candidate’s references.
  • The PNC can invite a candidate to preach a “neutral” pulpit. The PNC will contact the pastor of one of our sister Presbyterian churches, and ask that the candidate for ministry be allowed to preach at their church on a Sunday morning. The PNC takes a field trip to
    that church.
  • At the time of the neutral pulpit, the COM will interview the pastor candidate. COM must approve the potential candidate. Presbytery will also conduct background checks. Executive Presbyter, Ron Anderson, will also do a series of reference checks.
  • If the PNC feels the pull of the Holy Spirit to call the candidate, then several things take place:
  1. The session and COM are informed of the decision. The session calls a meeting of the congregation.
  2. The PNC negotiates the salary package with the candidate. The package is forwarded to session and COM for approval.
  3. The PNC coordinates a “Candidate Sermon.” The candidate will preach and lead the worship service for Covenant.
  4. A Meeting of the Congregation will take place directly following that service. It will be a time for questions and discussion amongst the congregation about whether or not to call this candidate. A vote will take place. If the candidate is elected as the next installed pastor, then the congregation votes to approve the salary package.
  • Then some practical considerations are negotiated: moving expenses, moving date, an end date for the interim pastor, and other practical considerations.

If you have any question about any part of the process, you can always call, text, or email me at 402.202.2381 or pastor@covenant-pres.org. Also, if you want a more detailed outline of the process I can direct you to a copy of the booklet: On Calling a Pastor.

Grace and peace, Pastor Steve