Hope's Call Process
Having said our sad farewells to Pastor Lew Upchurch, our church is now moving forward with steps to seek another Associate Pastor for our ministry staff. What should the congregation expect to see happening, with respect to filling this vacancy?
First, it will be healthy for the congregation to take a bit of time to assess our ministry needs and directions, and to gather input from members of the church. We had a great discussion on these topics at the June 26 Congregational Assembly, and we’ll be sending out a survey to the members of the congregation. Your input and thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Watch your email in the coming days for this important survey.
Second, Hope’s Ministry Leadership Team has appointed a Call Team, to act on the congregation’s behalf throughout the Call process. In the end, only the Congregational Assembly can extend a Call on behalf of our church; but the Call Team will play an important role in facilitating interviews and making recommendations to the Congregational Assembly. Call Team members are Michelle Hellmann, Stephanie Hoopingarner, Dr. Peter Muller, Rob Petersilge, Alex Schandert, Angela Whitted, and myself.
Normally, there are two tracks that can a congregation may follow in the Call process. It is likely that Hope will consider both tracks initially, and the Congregational Assembly will down the road make a determination to pursue one track or another.
- Call a candidate from the seminary (application due, and interviews occur, in early 2023; candidate assigned in late April); and
- Call a candidate from the field (a pastor currently serving another congregation).
Members of the congregation will be invited, as part of the survey coming out soon, to suggest candidates to be considered. We will also seek potential candidates from other sources, including the Southeastern District President. The District office will provide detailed personal information (including theological perspectives, and preferences regarding church practices) on all prospective candidates.
The Call Team’s role will be to review those candidates and their personal information, in light of the congregation’s input and expectations regarding the position. The Call Team will then narrow down that list, and conduct interviews. If
a suitable candidate(s) is found, the Call Team will present their recommendations to the Congregational Assembly for final action. As stated above, only the Congregational Assembly has the authority to extend a Call to a pastor on behalf of Hope Lutheran Church.
I have three requests. Please pray daily for God’s Holy Spirit to be active and directive, through each and every step of this important process. Please be patient, as the Call process may not move as quickly as we all would like for it to do, for many different reasons. Please trust that God remains at work through all the seasons of our life together, and that he will continue to bless our church, as he has for the past twenty-five years.
In the weeks and months ahead, we will continue to communicate regularly with the people of Hope, so everybody knows what’s happening throughout the Call process. If I can be of any help to you, or answer any questions you may have about the steps outlined above, please do not hesitate to contact me.
May God lead and guide our congregation as we take these important ministry steps together, and keep us strongly united in carrying out our mission in our community!
Pastor Wayne Puls