Welcome to Burnt Store Presbyterian Church. Join us every Sunday morning for in-person worship at 8:30 for our traditional worship service and at 10:30 for our contemporary worship service. These services are live streamed for those unable to attend and are recorded and available for viewing at any time. For more information regarding our worship services, please visit our Worship page.
Preparing for a New Pastor
With the retirement of our long-serving pastor, Burnt Store Presbyterian Church has prepared the way for a new pastor by conducting a Mission Study. In March 2021 the congregation elected a Pastor Nominating Committee. We anticipate that church members and pastor candidates may visit this section of our website and so we hope the information will be helpful. If you have questions please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section below. Please, join us in prayer as we seek to call the pastor whom God has planned for the next chapter of our ministry.
As this is being written the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) has been meeting weekly since March 17. We wish to extend our appreciation for the confidence you have placed in the members of this team by electing us to serve in this important work. Your prayers are coveted as we take this journey together.
While confidentiality is critical and we cannot share information about the specific pastoral candidates, we will keep you informed about the process.
The first step was to complete a 10-page Mission Information Form (MIF) which provides a narrative picture of the mission and ministry of the congregation and its sense of call. Prospective pastors will use the form to help them discern whether God is calling them to serve our church.
In completing the MIF we relied heavily on the work of the Mission Study team, using the church’s vision/mission statement as a foundation for the answers to the narrative questions. One of the questions requires the PNC to identify the top 10 competencies required for the position. The team took guidance by selecting 7 of the congregation survey’s top 8 responses. Other information on the form includes membership, worship and Christian Education participation numbers. It establishes an effective salary range, and affirms the Equal Employment Opportunity commitment of the PNC. The MIF must be approved by the Session (hopefully on April 20 – as this article is being submitted on April 15) and the Committee on Ministry of Peace River Presbytery (hopefully on May 11).
The next step will be for the MIF to be posted on the PCUSA Church Leadership Connection (CLC). This system will match pastoral candidates seeking new calls based on position type, experience level, salary, language, geographical choice and leadership competencies. More on that in a future update.
It is important to us to keep our church family informed. Once the MIF is approved it will be posted on the church’s website. We are committed to providing monthly updates via Smoke Signals. While we can anticipate some of your questions, we know there are some things you are wondering about, so a Frequently Asked Questions click is being added to the church’s website. All you need to do is send your question to: email@example.com and we will send you the answer directly and post it on the church’s website for all to benefit.
One final thought; if you know a pastor who would be a good fit for Burnt Store Presbyterian Church, this is the time to encourage them to self-refer their Personal Information Form (PIF) to us. That can be done by sending it through the PCUSA CLC system (preferable option) or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are in this together, let’s pray.
Bill Ancona, Luceal Curry, Katherine Darrell
Don DeWitt, Helen Heinlein, Charmaine Ponkratz
Nan Qurollo, Don Schaible
Rev. Dr. Chuck Wiggins, Peace River Presbytery – Committee on Ministry Liaison
From this point on, a typical search process could take up to a year.
Prospective pastors complete a Personal Information Form (PIF) and the PNC will begin receiving those as soon as the Ministry Information Form (MIF) is posted on the denomination’s search data base. That is expected to happen in mid-May. Session approved the MIF on April 20 and the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry is expected to act on it on May 11.
Each candidate will be evaluated by all members of the PNC. Initially the PIFs will be reviewed to identify top priority candidates – those candidates whom we would like to engage conversation. That initial review will include a consideration of their preaching (made easier now because so many churches post their worship online), review of their church’s website (to understand the strength of the church’s mission, ministry, outreach and program), exploration of social media posts (to learn as much as possible about the candidate). If it is decided to move forward, then the PNC will schedule a virtual interview (think ZOOM). We will contact references. While we are doing that the candidate will be evaluating Burnt Store’s mission, ministry, outreach and program.
If all the lights are green, the candidate will be invited for an on-campus visit to conduct an in-person interview, to tour the campus, the community and to meet with the Peace River Presbytery Committee on Ministry for an initial interview. As part of that visit the candidate will be asked to preach at a neutral church so that all members of the PNC can observe all the worship dynamics; how the pastor interacts with worshippers, how the worship elements are integrated and how the sermon is presented. Often the spouse will make the visit to be able to get a flavor of the community and become a partner in the candidate’s decision to relocate. Sometimes this happens on a second visit; those details are tailored to the candidate.
Assuming there are several (2-4) finalist candidates, this will be done for each of them. At that point the PNC and candidates will determine whether conversations should continue. If so, the next step would be to ask the finalists to participate in a psychological assessment to help the PNC and the candidate know their strengths and vulnerabilities to best discern how those complement the challenges and opportunities of the call at Burnt Store Presbyterian Church.
With those results in hand, and further conversation and negotiation, one finalist will emerge for another visit. The primary purpose of that visit will be to meeting with the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry for their action (on behalf of the Presbytery) and to preach at Burnt Store Presbyterian Church on a Sunday morning. Immediately after those worship services a congregation meeting will be held to vote on calling the candidate as our next pastor.
Every call needs the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing together three parties to affirm the call: the candidate, the congregation and the presbytery. The role of the PNC is to bring the finalist candidate into the process for approval. The pastor, congregation and presbytery, each, get the final ‘vote.’
It is certainly desirable for a pastor to live in the community to which he/she will be called. At the same time, it is recognized that just under 60% of family units are dual-income couples. As such, we realize that there may be reasons for geographic flexibility. The PNC gives priority to wanting to call a fully engaged pastor both within the walls of the church and extending to ministry in the community.
Most important, they will offer a bold witness in their personal relationship with Jesus and hold a high view of the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Take a look at the MIF posted on the church’s website and read the answer to narrative question #4 for a broader view of the characteristics the PNC hopes to see in a candidate. It is noted that 42% of the current pastors seeking a new call are female. As part of the MIF the church has attested to being an equal employment opportunity employer.
Yes, once the PNC brings forward a finalist candidate that person will be invited to lead worship at our church just prior to voting on the call. Just a few days prior to that Sunday worship, all members will receive a mailing that provides a profile of the candidate. At that point we will be asking everyone to maintain confidentiality. This is a real concern for pastoral candidates. If they are serving a church, as we would fully expect, they will not talk to their Session about their departure UNTIL a receiving congregation has issued a favorable vote. That is the same reason the PNC is sworn to confidentiality through this whole process. We are protecting the identity of pastors who are seeking a call.
Yes, the PCUSA has a covenant of agreement partnership with three other denominations: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ. Those agreements permit a minister of one of those three denominations to serve a PCUSA congregation under the Order Exchange Process. We’ll cross that bridge with more details if a pastor from one of those denominations emerges. But we’ll take this opportunity to encourage you to nudge any pastor whom you believe would be good for this call to submit his/her PIF through the PCUSA process. Presbyterian pastors will be familiar with the process.