FAQs Regarding the Search & Call in Minnesota

Mizpah UCC - COMMAntary

FAQs regarding Search & Call in Minnesota


How long does it take get a new settled Pastor?

  • It depends. Based on recent searches, between 10 and 24 months. Longer if there are significant issues for an Interim Minister to address, or if a church really likes its Interim Minister. Churches that really like their Interims tend to take longer with their searches.


How many applicants will the search committee get?

  • In the metro area, 30-50 is typical. Fewer if the position is not full-time.
  • In greater Minnesota, 10-30 for a full-time position. Fewer for part-time.


What kind of applicants will we get?

  • Many will be seeking their first call to qualify them for ordination. These people may be young or not so young, first career or 2nd– or 3rd-
  • Others will be more experienced. Note: 54% of all active (non-retired) UCC clergy are over 60 years of age. 83% are over 50 years of age.
  • ONA churches get more applicants. Based on recent searches, about 25-30% of applicants may be lesbian or gay.
  • Some applicants may be from other denominations. 20% of our congregations are served by non-UCC pastors.
  • The last 5 searches (1 metro, 4 in greater Minnesota) all called ministers from other states, specifically California, Colorado, Indiana, Washington, and New Hampshire.


How much should we budget for the search?

  • Committees should cover all costs for applicants who are interviewed in person. Between airfare, auto expenses, meals and accommodations, it may cost up to $1,000 for every in-person interview. Most search committees budget $3,000 to $5,000 for this.
  • Relocation costs: most searches are ‘capping’ the costs to move a pastor, or are negotiating them in conjunction with other compensation. Recent moves have cost churches between $3,200 and $8,000. Actual costs may be higher.


Who should be on the search committee, and how large should the committee be?

  • Qualities desired in search committee members: 1) currently active in, and committed to the church; 2) positive attitude; 3) team player; 4) open-minded (no hidden agendas); 5) able to maintain absolute confidentiality; 6) good listener; 7) trusted and respected by congregation . . .
  • Size of committee: 5-8. An even number is ok because most decisions are made by consensus.


When asked to describe their experiences as search committee members, some said:

  • “We loved working together – deep discussion, frequent laughter, and we felt honored to do this important work for the congregation.” “This was a good opportunity to get to know church members in more depth, and it was enlightening to see the range of applicants and how they do things.” “It was a faith-building experience, and we were heartened by seeing so many ministers with progressive ideals and strong faith.”


What advice do you have for churches anticipating a pastoral transition?