Connecting pastoral leaders with ministry opportunities is a priority shared by the Offices of Formation and Leadership Development and Church and Ministry Development. These offices now engage regularly in intentional collaboration in support of vocational discernment as it relates to pastoral searches, transitional appointments, and emerging church leadership authorization.
We have recently spent time articulating a fresh expression of our shared intentions, core values, and guiding principles; which you will find listed below. Our goal is to better assist local communities and pastoral leaders in making joyful and effective ministry connections.
Our Shared Values
The guiding vision for our collaboration is to foster processes of vocational discernment and connection that are experienced as:
- We encourage a culture of caring discernment instead of competition among pastors, pastoral candidates, churches, and across MCC structures.
- We direct our efforts toward equal access to all interested, qualified candidates.
- Realities are described as well as possible about ministry opportunities; when someone is unlikely to be called, this is communicated clearly and compassionately.
- Clear and appropriate public communication of processes, deadlines, and timelines for ministry opportunities is encouraged.
- The identity of inquirers/applicants remains confidential and does not reflect negatively on present vocational service.
- Candidates are chosen based on experience, qualifications, fit, and call rather than demographic characteristics, personal appearance, or relational connections.
- Attention and intention is given to various needs and perspectives of pastors, churches, communities, and the denomination.
- We encourage the creation of Just Covenants (i.e. contractual agreements) that consider the needs of congregations – such as effective leadership, affordable compensation arrangements, right-sized employment expectations, etc.; and clergy – such as fair and adequate compensation, debt avoidance, respect of professional qualifications, and health/wholeness/life balance.
- Assisting or facilitating accurate, blessed, and joyful ministry connections is our goal.
Characteristics of Mutual Leadership Discernment
- Collaboration is our spiritual practice in action with local churches, lay leaders, clergy, and denominational staff and leaders.
- Multiple variables characterize the reality of a situation and its highest potential; we want to explore, understand, and honor the contextual nature of each calling and ministry.
- To be discerning is to be creative in answering the call of Spirit. We are curious and open to what Church is/is becoming. We are responsive to fresh ways individuals are living out their vocations as pastoral leaders, including mindfulness of Spirit-given gifts, skills, and visions for ministry.
- Wisdom emerges from being in conversation together, with mutuality of openness, balanced exchange, and sharing helpful information for considering ways forward.
- We intentionally value and equally consider pastoral leaders across the spectrum of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, ability, nationality, and theological worldview.
Our Commitment to Ministry Applicants
- We are invested in an applicant’s long-term, successful ministry.
- We desire to support calls that cultivate connection, meaning, and success; and decrease vocational attrition.
- We value and support holistic wellbeing.
- We encourage ongoing specialized training to support one’s calling as needed and possible.
- We support the exploration of multiple ministry opportunities, trusting applicants in vocational discernment to do so responsibly.
Our Commitment to Congregations and Emerging Communities
- We remain rooted in and responsive to the wisdom and needs of local congregations and emerging communities.
- We work collaboratively with local church leaders in pastoral search processes, appointments, and leadership authorization.
- We partner to actively promote local ministry opportunities through denominational communications, including webpages and social media platforms.
- We foster greater connection for emerging communities and leadership by:
- Sharing basic contact information and introductions of MCC Offices and Staff.
- Encouraging Emerging Communities and Leaders to participate in MCC Events.
- Introducing leaders of Emerging Communities to pastoral and lay leaders of Affiliated Churches in an intentional way.