The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The ELCA call process

Why does it take so long?

Lately I’ve wondered if the ELCA call process takes too long. Does it really take a year or two to come up with names of available pastors for congregations? Does it really take four to six months after a congregation submits its profile to match it with clergy mobility forms?

Congregations get anxious while waiting for a pastor. Pastors wonder why they haven’t had their name submitted for months at a time. Yet when a congregation or pastor asks the synod office why it’s taking so long, the standard answer is, “We’ve very busy.” “We can’t find just the right match.” “We have many vacant churches and many pastors wanting congregations.” Well, sure, we’re all busy. Sure, the match needs to be a good one. Yes, we know it’s a process — and a complicated one. But is it really necessary for pastors to wait as long as two years to be placed? Is it good for a congregation to go through several interim pastors over periods now reaching two or more years?

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March issue

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