There is so much excitement in the air when the search for a new pastor narrows to a final candidate. Months of faithful, prayerful, anticipation have led to this moment. Then all at once, it seems as if a dozen details must be attended all at the same time. There are steps the session must take, and simultaneous matters for the Presbytery to manage, and all the while PNC members may be giddy with joy at nearing the finish line.
The wise interim orchestrates the mash up of checking lists and party planning with the calm aplomb of a diplomat ensuring protocols are followed and stake holders are recognized and appreciated.
The liaison from the Committee on Ministry plays a critical role in brokering the relationship and formalities when a pastor transfers from his/her home presbytery into the presbytery of the calling church. Typically, this begins when the candidate meets with, and is approved by, the examinations committee. Once this happens the PNC request the Session to call a Congregational meeting for the purpose of voting on the call.
The PNC then introduces the candidate to become the next pastor to the congregation via a letter, brochure, and/or website post. Here’s how the PNC at Peachtree Presbyterian Church introduced the Rev. Dr. Richard Kannwischer.
As the PNC prepares formalities and festivities to welcome the pastor make sure someone is making plans to thank the PNC for their faithful service. A certificate and a memento of their service should be prepared well in advance.
Following an affirmative vote by the congregation to call the pastoral candidate comes the time to thank and disband that Pastor Nominating Committee. (Note: this action is typically made effective upon the Installation of the Pastor.)
Take time to honor each PNC leader’s contribution. Offer prayers of gratitude. Release them to a time of meaningful rest, reflection, and refreshment. But make sure the right people stay in touch with these leaders for, beware, a cautionary tale is told of PNC members leaving the church shortly after the new pastor arrives. (This sad phenomenon deserves more study.)
Final PNC details:
- A group of persons, typically the PNC, is elected to sign the terms of call document and prosecute the call the next Presbytery meeting.
- The moderator of the PNC reports the outcome of the vote to the Presbytery office and the Liaison.
- The Pastor-elect is received at the next meeting of the Presbytery where his/her examination is reported to the body and where s/he accepts the offered call.
- Members of the PNC may continue as an advisory group to the new pastor.