Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations follow a particular process when calling a pastor. Some aspects of this process involve oversight by the Presbytery, while others involve supplying the denomination with data which is used when matching churches with candidates. Congregations must complete a Ministry Information Form (MIF). Congregational statistics and questions about the church’s vision and mission strategies are just a sampling of what’s included.
Two important questions lead off the narrative section of the MIF: “1.What is the congregation’s or organization’s vision for ministry? Additionally describe how this vision is lived out. 2.How do you feel called to reach out to address the emerging needs of your community or constituency?” In order to accurately answer these (and other) questions, the Interim Pastor typically leads a “self-study” and a “mission study.” (I’ve said something about these in previous messages and blog posts.)
With Session concurrence, I’m forming a Ministry Information Study team to gather the data needed to further the process. Peter Sylves will chair and represent the Session. I’ll serve ex officio (without vote). Two members of the congregation will represent the congregation.
It’s to your benefit that a thoughtful, intentional study is done since the information collected will help lay the groundwork for planning and the calling of your next pastor.
This team will survey the congregation compiling data about the church’s make up: gender, age, classes, etc (“self study”). This team will also use web-based tools to gather data about the local community in order to determine how the church might address the needs and interests of the community (“mission study”). The information collected will be used to create a vision statement and mission strategy and it will also be used to complete the queries in the Ministry Information Form.
Collecting the data about the congregation and the community will be quite an undertaking so I ask for you patience and prayerful support. It’s to your benefit that a thoughtful, intentional study is done since the information collected will help lay the groundwork for planning and the calling of your next pastor. That’s why I ask for your patience. Interim ministry is a delicate balance between getting things done in a timely manner but without rushing too quickly.
The team will keep you informed as to its work and progress. You’ll be invited to be involved in the team’s work so be ready to respond when they come a calling!