Assigning Senior Pastors

It is extremely important to match ministers with the right congregations.

We don’t use the “call system,” under which churches are responsible for finding a new senior pastor. Instead, pastors are assigned to churches by a stationing committee:

  • The bishop. The bishop or his designee will be chairperson.
  • The local church’s cluster leader.
  • The chairperson of the local church’s Personnel Relations Team.
  • Other persons as determined appropriate by the bishop.

The goal in assigning senior pastors is to match the congregation’s needs and vision with a pastor’s strengths. Hopefully, the assignment will last many years. The process emphasizes much interaction between the church and prospective pastor.

We don’t force churches to accept a pastor they don’t want. But the final decision is made by the stationing committee, not by the church.

Ministers are not guaranteed an assignment. Because of the emphasis on getting the right match between pastor and church–

  • Individual ministers may go without an assignment for a period of time, simply because they don’t fit any of the current openings.
  • Churches may go without a pastor for a while, because their needs don’t match well with any of the currently-available ministers.

When it comes to associate staff, like a youth or music minister, churches have full authority to hire and release employees.

The Pastoral Ministry Handbook includes a chapter called “Assigning Ministers,” which includes much information about the “why” and “how” of our system.

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