Calling a Pastor 101

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The Ministry Board of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ recognizes the authority and responsibility of congregations of LCMC to call their pastors.  If your congregation needs to call a pastor and you’re not sure where to begin, check out the steps below and carefully read over the resources provided.  

Step 1: What to Know

Resources:  Call Packet  |  Change Happens!  |  Call Committee Workshops  |  Video Series

The best way to gain an understanding of how the call process typically works and what to expect along the way is to review our Call Packet.  In addition to a detailed walkthrough of the process, it also contains sample documents that your congregation may use to reference when creating application forms, job descriptions, and more.

As your congregation is undergoing a time of transition, it may also be helpful to review our Change Happens! document to help you better discuss what’s next.  

A Call Committee Workshop video is available for your call committee, church council, and other church leaders to view.  For more information and to view the video, please contact the Coordinator for Leadership and Pastoral Development.  (See: Staff Page)

If you have any questions regarding the call process in LCMC, please contact the Coordinator for Leadership and Pastoral Development (See: Staff Page)

Step 2: How to Find Candidates

Resources:  Pastoral Ministry  |  Call Packet  |  Post an Open Position  

The process for calling a pastor or a pastor receiving a call is carried out entirely between the congregation and the candidates. No third party controls or assists the process. We have chosen the path of freedom and open processes that are based more on trust than mistrust.

Criminal, employment, and reference checks are the responsibility of the congregation as the employer and LCMC does not conduct such investigations.

Available for Call List

LCMC maintains a list of pastors who are available for call, which can be found in our online directories. (See: Pastors Directory)

Pastors may be “certified” for call when they have met the LCMC requirements for pastoral certification. Certified pastors will have earned an M.Div. degree from an accredited theological school or its equivalent demonstrated proficient understanding of Lutheran theology, history, and practice; successfully completed a certification interview; and subscribed to the LCMC Statement of Faith and Pastoral Admonition, including the characteristic practices of the sacraments in the Lutheran tradition. Certified pastors are available for call in any LCMC congregation. The LCMC Ministry Board oversees the certification process for LCMC pastors. Certain variances or equivalencies may be applied on an individual, per-case basis.  Certified pastors are strongly encouraged to be engaged in continuing education in order to enrich pastoral ministry.

For more information on pastoral certification, please refer to our Pastoral Ministry document.  

Contract Pastors

LCMC respects the freedom of each congregation to call pastors they discern are most appropriate for their ministry.  If a congregation wishes to call a pastor who does not meet the full requirements for pastoral certification in LCMC, they may enter into a contract call arrangement with any person who will subscribe to the LCMC Statement of Faith and Pastoral Admonition, including the characteristic practices of the sacraments in the Lutheran tradition.

Contract call pastors may serve in the same capacity in their congregations as certified call pastors except that their call is limited to one particular congregation.  Contract call pastors are not certified, do not appear on the LCMC list of pastors, and are not listed as “available for call” in other LCMC congregations.  

In order that their service to the church of Christ be most fruitful, contract pastors are strongly encouraged to be in an ongoing mentoring relationship with another certified LCMC pastor and to receive basic training and continuing education for pastoral ministry.  Many of our partnering educational institutions provide certificate programs specifically designed to aid contract call pastors in their ministry context.  We gratefully celebrate this partnership in ministry to the congregations of LCMC and the Kingdom of God.  Contract pastors are strongly encouraged to advance their education and consider working toward certification.

Post an Open Position

Check Attachment F in our Call Packet for an example job description, and Attachment D for an example of a congregational profile. 

Once your congregation has created a job description, you may submit a posting for our open positions page online using your myLCMC account. [Here’s How]  Once your posting has been submitted, it will be sent for review and approval by a site administrator. 


For a chance to network with congregations and other pastors in LCMC, also be sure to check out some of our national and regional events.  

Step 3: Once You’ve Called a Pastor…

Resources:  Information Update Form for Clergy  |  Statistical Update Form for Congregations 

It is the responsibility of the congregation to ensure that its records are up to date.  If your congregation has called a new pastor, please contact the LCMC staff lo let us know so we can update your info in our directory accordingly.  The best way to do that is to complete our Statistical Update Form for Congregations. 

If your congregation has chosen to post an open position on our website, the position may be removed from the list through the myLCMC account from which it was created by following the steps listed here.  If you are unable to remove the posting yourself, you may click here to request its removal by an LCMC staff member. 

It is the responsibility of the pastor to contact the LCMC Staff with any updates to his or her LCMC directory profile.  The best way to do that is to complete our Information Update Form for Clergy.