Search and Call
An Introduction to the Search and Call process in the United Church of Christ
The mutual call by God of an ordained minister and local church is a foundational relationship on which ministry is built in the United Church of Christ. The search and call process within the United Church of Christ was designed with a number of commitments in mind. Some include:
- A commitment to an open search process. This commitment is lived out in the assurance that any person can have access to the materials within her or his own Ministerial Profile, that any appropriately authorized person can have her or his profile submitted to any United Church of Christ calling body, and that full disclosure of all relevant information by all parties is encouraged.
- A commitment to equal access for, and parity among, all ministers. Toward this end, we circulate only the official profile form, neither advantaging nor disadvantaging persons due to disproportionate access to sophisticated videography, expensive print materials, etc.
- A commitment to the minister being proactive on his or her own behalf in the search process. Unlike some other church bodies, the United Church of Christ does not appoint persons to positions. Rather, the person herself or himself is responsible for contacting the appropriate placement staff person(s) to pursue positions in which he or she is interested. Ministers are strongly encouraged to direct the Parish Life and Leadership Ministry to send their profiles to specific placement offices, to follow up with each placement office and express interest in particular openings, to request that their Ministerial Profile be submitted to particular ministry locations.
- A commitment to balance the respective interests and concerns of the various parties within a search and call process. Usually this commitment involves balancing the concerns of those seeking positions with those calling bodies looking for candidates. An example may be the length of the current Ministerial Profile. Clearly persons completing a Ministerial Profile may find the length somewhat daunting. On the other hand, search committee members wish to have as much information as possible before making decisions about interviews. The current practices seek to balance these and other contrasting interests.
- A commitment to responsive service to ministers, calling bodies, and conference /association placement personnel. Considering a new setting for ministry is both an exciting and stressful time. The Parish Life and Leadership Ministry together with conferences and associations is committed to doing whatever the Office reasonably can to facilitate your search process, within available resources.
Although particular aspects of the search and call process may vary among conferences, there are clear norms which are honored and practiced throughout the United Church of Christ. Some of these include:
- Persons seeking new opportunities learn of openings primarily through United Church Employment Opportunities.
- Persons interested in a particular position request that the Profile Office send their profile to the Massachusetts Conference placement office through Martha Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org. The person then follows up with the Regional staff to pursue particular openings. See below for links to Regional staff.
- The Parish Life and Leadership Ministry only circulates complete Ministerial Profiles.
- The Parish Life and Leadership Ministry will not knowingly circulate inaccurate or incomplete information.
- Conferences and associations circulate only profiles they receive through the Parish Life and Leadership Ministry.
Search and call practices particular to the Massachusetts Conference are:
- The local church search committee has full ownership of its profile. A candidate may request a one page summary of a local church’s profile from placement staff, but the profile itself will only be sent by the search committee, and generally, to candidates in whom they have interest.
- Regional or placement staff will not send a candidate profile to a search committee without the consent of the person seeking a call. A candidate will always be contacted to give their consent to be considered for a position.