The initial steps in the process of finding a settled pastor is the same for both our denominations.
- Say goodbye to the last pastor.
- Heal and fix that need healing and fixing with the church.
- Discover who we are and where we have been.
- Discern where we want to go as a church and the qualities we want in a pastor.
- Write these into what is called a church profile.
In the Methodist process, the profile is given to the District Superintendent. The DC then compares the profile with the pastors available to them and finds what they believe is the best match. That candidate is then interviewed and if the search committee feels that there is a match is voted on by the congregation. If there is not a match the process is repeated with a second and then a third candidate. You cannot go back to a previous candidate and if no match is found by the committee the Bishop simply appoints. It is rare that the first candidate is rejected and it almost never happens that the Bishop appoints. Appointments are announced at Annual Conference in the Spring and are effective July 1.
In the UCC system, the profile is published by the Conference and the Search Committee sifts through all of the replies and selects those candidates to interview and vet. Once a candidate has been selected, they preach to the congregation and a vote follows immediately.