Pastoral Search

PASTORAL SEARCH

One of the most important transitions in the life of any church is when one pastor leaves and the church embarks on a search for their next pastor. The process can seem daunting, but the NACCC is here to help assist you in this process. The NACCC has developed an online secure platform through this website, known as the Pastoral Search, to help connect churches that have pastoral vacancies to clergy who wish to be considered for open positions. Our Pastoral Search platform is a free service to our active member churches and can be accessed by other churches for a fee.

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HOW IT WORKS

Churches use the Pastoral Search to provide up-to-date, detailed information a clergy candidate needs. Pastorates search through Church information to find open positions most meaningful to their experience, polity, and skillset, and are then free to connect with churches to begin the vetting and hiring process.

Open Pulpits

are a list of open positions from churches across the country that pastors may search through and connect with churches if interested. The information provided about each open position is submitted by the church searching for a new pastor.

For Churches Seeking New Clergy

Login or Create an Account

Churches that are seeking clergy begin by requesting a Pastoral Search account. The NACCC team will verify your status as a member or nonmember and follow up accordingly. Non-member churches are required to pay a fee prior to accessing the Pastoral Search tools.

Complete Church Profile

Once approved, each participating church must complete a Pastoral Search Church Information Form (CIF). This form asks detailed questions about your church, congregation, demographics, polity, and more. The CIF may take some time to complete so you may need to plan accordingly.

Verify Position Listing 

The NACCC staff member verifies and approves the information from your CIF form and then lists the position. The open position will be listed in two forms – a front-facing version with limited information that is open to the public, and the full-length more detailed version for clergy who have registered accounts to view.

Connect With Pastorates

You will be notified by email when a registered pastor applies for the open position at your church. Once you receive a notification of interest, you may log into your Open Pulpits account and view the interested pastor’s full profile and pursue further communication from there.

Remember: Help is just a phone call (800.262.1620) or e-mail away. We are always ready to be of assistance. May God bless you in your search process.

Pastorates

are NACCC registered pastors searching available positions. Each Pastorate completes a profile (or resume) detailing their work history, education, polity, and experience. The information is provided to the NACCC directly and is vetted through our background checking system.

For Pastors Seeking a New Position

Login or Create an Account

Pastors that are seeking new positions begin by requesting a Pastoral Search account. The NACCC staff will verify your status as a member or non-member and follow up accordingly. If you are not affiliated with an NACCC member church you must submit an Administrative Fee of $100 made payable to the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches along with your Minister Disclosure File in order to access the tools.

Complete Information Disclosure Steps

Once approved, each pastor must complete a Pastoral Search Minister Disclosure File in accordance with the NACCC Disclosure Protocol and Policy. The Disclosure File may take some time to complete so plan accordingly. The Minister Disclosure File is not a “personnel file” nor is it confidential. However, the files are not open to general inspection. All questions concerning this form should be directed to Laura Wright, Pastoral Relations Coordinator. You may also call the NACCC office at 800.262.1620 ext. 1614.

Complete Pastorate Profile

Once your Minister Disclosure File is complete, you will be given full access to your Pastorate profile, where you will complete the Minister Information Form (MIF). This form asks detailed questions about your experience, education, polity, and more and is the main information for your profile. When you connect with a church of interest, they will have complete access to your completed profile.

Connect With Churches

Once you are registered and have completed your MIF, you will be given access to all open positions. When you find a position of interest, you may contact the church directly through the Pastoral Search tools, inviting them to review your profile. Churches interested in your profile will follow up accordingly.

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UNDERSTANDING THE PASTORAL SEARCH PROCESS

The basic steps a church will move through are:
  • Determining who will provide pastoral services from the time your current minister leaves to the time the new minister arrives (the Interim Period)
  • Forming a Search Committee charged with representing the church to potential candidates, reviewing applications, interviewing candidates and making a final recommendation of a candidate to the church for their consideration.

The average time it takes to move from the seating of a search committee to a final recommendation is 18 to 24 months. The success of calling a suitable candidate as your next pastor is directly related to the church’s preparation for the search, their clear understanding of the type of person they are looking for, and their honest representation of themselves to interested candidates.

Pastoral Search Resources

The NACCC has developed resources to help guide you through your search process:

Calling a Congregational Minister: A Handbook for Pastoral Search Committees.
This handbook will guide you through the steps of the search process.

Searching for a Minister: A Church Overview and Guide to Best Practices.
This handbook will help reinforce good practices in your search process and help you achieve your goal of finding the pastoral leadership you need.

Searching for Your Next Minister Through the NACCC.
A handout for church members that provides an overview of the search process and how to get started.

Pastoral Candidates’ Disclosure Files

The NACCC does not credential ministers, nor does it put requirements or restrictions on who a local church may call to be their settled minister.  The NACCC serves the local church by providing the vehicles and tools by which church and candidate can consider each other.  However, ministers who wish to access the list of member churches who are looking for clergy to fill vacancies must file documents with the NACCC disclosing a minimum of verifiable information as set out in the NACCC Disclosure Protocol and Policy.  Please read this policy carefully.

Once you have identified candidates for your opening, the Minister Disclosure Files of those candidates are open for your inspection upon request. The files will be provided to you electronically. Please note that these files are provided to you by the NACCC as a service. The NACCC does not verify the contents of the file but can advise you on how you may do that yourself and urges you to do so. 

Be advised that some ministers seeking consideration as a candidate for your church may choose to bypass the NACCC office and avoid filing a Minister Disclosure File. The NACCC can advise you on whether a candidate has a Minister Disclosure File at the NACCC office prior to your advancing interest in him or her. We encourage you to require all candidates in whom you have an interest to establish Disclosure Files with the NACCC to advance their consideration. This is one way the NACCC helps you follow best practices in the search process.

Background Checks

A church is strongly urged to request background checks of any ministerial candidate in whom they are interested.  When a minister establishes their Disclosure file with us, they sign a permission form for a background check, allowing a church to request the NACCC to run a background check on their behalf.  The NACCC does not automatically run a background check; such a request must come from a local church.

DISCLOSURE FILES

The Executive Committee of the NACCC has put in place a Disclosure Protocol and Policyfor all NACCC clergy as well as non NACCC clergy who may be seeking a call from a member church, wish to update their Minister Information Forms (MIF), view Pastoral Church Information Forms (CIF), or update ecclesiastical endorsement.

The freedom of local churches to call their own pastors carries with it a responsibility on the Association’s part to do all we can to insure that ministerial integrity and honesty are held in the highest regard. While this process may seem inconvenient, we feel it is of utmost importance to the churches and the people we serve.

Required Documents

    • proof of graduation for degrees claimed (transcripts, official letters or equivalent documents) and the accrediting body of the educational institution.
    • proof of ordination and type of ordination if claimed as ordained.
    • proof of or verifiable references for claimed significant continuing education (i.e. Lay Ministry Training Program, professional development seminars, etc.)
    • a signed Statements of Understanding which includes an option to sign a Personal Code of Professional Practice for Ministers
    • a signed Background Check Release Form
    • a statement of reference from judicatory that the minister is leaving, if applicable
Submission

All Disclosure documents should be submitted to:

NACCC
Attn: Pastoral Relations Liaison
P.O. Box 288
Oak Creek, WI 53154

Or they can be sent electronically to Laura Wright

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Open Pulpits – Available Positions

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If you have any questions or would like to know more about the NACCC, please send us a message. We look forward to hearing from you!

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