Church in Transition
In the Presbyterian Church (USA), when a church has a change of pastoral leadership, the church goes through several steps to prepare for a Called Pastor. This process takes time, because significant change is spiritual work and transitions are pivotal seasons for allowing members to process the disruption and examine God’s leading for the future. The whole process is bathed in prayer for God’s wisdom and mercy.
The first step is to bring a transitional pastor (or in Palisades’ case, a Co-Pastor team) to guide the on-going church functions as well as ensure the transitional work is being done. The Nominating Committee calls a group to undertake a process of self-discovery through a Mission Study to examine the community inside the church and the community where the church is positioned. Some questions are data-driven and others ask spiritual questions that probe who would be well-suited to offer pastoral guidance for the next season of life at Palisades.
When the Mission Study is completed and reviewed by the Presbytery of San Diego Committee on Ministry, a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) is elected. They will write a Ministry Information Form (MIF) describing the church, then review matched Pastoral Information Forms (PIF), hear sermons and interview candidates. For final candidates, the PNC will worship with and hear a sermon “in person” in a neutral pulpit.
When the PNC has found the candidate of choice, they are invited to preach at Palisades and a Congregational Meeting is called for a vote. Once a congregation has chosen and established a starting date, the incoming pastor will be vetted by the Presbytery and a date for installation is set. Great rejoicing will be heard throughout the valley.