Calling A Pastor, Educator, Or Other Church Professional

Your Pastor Has Left – What Now?

Even in the best of circumstances, a pastor’s exit is a loss. When a pastor leaves a ministry, both the congregation and the pastor need a time and a place for healing. Wounds don’t heal instantly. The wounds in Body of Christ are no different. Go slow.

Here’s the usual order of events in the Presbytery of East Tennessee:

  1. A pastor lets the church’s Session and the presbytery’s Committee on Ministry know that s/he is leaving.

  2. The pastor sends a letter to the congregation informing them of the coming departure.

  3. The Session calls a Congregational Meeting for the purpose of asking the Committee on Ministry to dissolve the relationship between the pastor and the congregation. This meeting will normally happen after the pastor has completed her/his last day of active service in the congregation.

  4. The Committee on Ministry will appoint a Minister of Word and Sacrament who is a member of the presbytery to be the Moderator of the Session and its meetings.

  5. The Session, with the assistance of the Committee on Ministry, will contract with temporary Ministers to serve as Supply Pastors for one or more Sundays. Supply Pastors may contract with the Session to perform emergency visitations and other duties as agreed.

  6. The Session may, with the assistance of the Committee on Ministry, decide upon and contract with an Interim or Transitional Pastor to provide longer-term stability for the congregation until another Pastor is called and installed to the congregation.

  7. The congregation will elect a Pastor Nominating Committee to perform the duties of assessing the congregation’s needs and searching for a new Pastor.

Calling A Pastor

The process of calling a Pastor, Commissioned Ruling Elder, Educator, or other church professional is a long but exciting process. The Committee on Ministry (COM), and the General Presbyter stand ready to assist your congregation as it prayerfully seeks new leaders.

The Presbyterian Church (USA)’s website has much information for churches seeking pastors. The Church Leadership Connection (CLC) page begins with videos and booklets for congregations.

Calling A Pastor Video Introduction

Call Process

The Presbyterian Board of Pensions also offers help in determining Terms of Call, Insurance, Pension, and Medical Insurance. Their website is