Q. Is MCC’s search/call process moving toward appointment (ecclesiastical) rather than call (congregational)?
A. No. The search and call process for settled pastors is completely in place and is greatly respected as an essential tenant of a congregational system. However, in the last two decades, MCC has experimented with using the appointment system for placing Transitional Pastors. All in all, this seems to have worked well.
Q. How are decisions made about whether a church in transition appoints a Transitional Pastor or not?
A. Someone from the Office of Church and Ministry Development engages the Board of Directors in partnering to do an assessment shortly before or following the outgoing pastor’s departure. Based on the findings of this collaborative assessment, a decision is made about what the church most needs in the transition time, the type of transitional leadership that will be most helpful, and plans for next steps are put in place.
Q. Are pastoral searches open to all to apply?
A. In short, yes, as long as an applicant meets UFMCC criteria for ordination and licensing or Standing By Call designation if non-MCC. The encouraged method for pastoral search is the “open” method in which all applications are sent directly to local search committees for discernment. Occasionally, a local church may choose to do a search differently, but the “open” search is our standard and is highly encouraged in our Pastoral Search Manual.Click here for the current Pastoral Search Manual.
Q. Why aren’t all pastoral openings publicized so that all qualified/interested applicants can be in contact with the church?
A. When possible, all appointment needs and searches are advertised at https://www.mccchurch.org/connectnow/jobs/ and shared on social media with contact information. In appointment situations, ministry opportunities are not posted until the local church Board has decided on the type of appointment that will best support their transition. Only occasionally, appointments may not be posted due to local circumstances or lack of resources for hiring. In these cases, a lay Pastor known to the congregation may be appointed. The hope is to provide enough flexibility in our support processes and options for local churches to have the best leadership possible within their means.
Q. Are some pastors at risk of not having opportunities to change churches because they may have angered someone with the power to keep their names out of consideration?
A. All pastoral searches are open to clergy in good standing. Pastoral Search Committees will vet eligibility of applicants with a staff member from the OCMD and OFLD who will then hold the list of applicants in confidence. PSCs will be encouraged to do a thorough exploration of references and ministry history for all applicants. The local PSC is trusted to do their own discernment process, and barring a risk management situation, there would never be an intervention into a search process from denominational leadership. Possible Transitional Pastor appointees put forward by the OCMD for local board consideration will be selected based on the needs and capacities of the local church through a collaborative assessment process.
Q. How does the denomination become involved in pastoral transition?
A. By invitation. The denomination, typically through the Office of Church and Ministry Development, offers assistance to congregations in pastoral transition when there is an invitation by the Board or the Pastor who is leaving.