Pastor Congregation Relations Committee

Pastoral Ministry  Evaluations  Transitions  Relationship

Resources for those responsible for, or concerned about, pastor-congregation relations

  • Pastor Congregation Relations Committee
    Respectful, appreciative and trusting relationships between pastors and congregations are vital to the health of the church. However, they do not come about without attention and intention. The materials in this packet are designed to strengthen and support relationships that are empowering and fruitful for all parties.

    The best structure for dealing with issues that arise between pastor and congregation is a committee assigned to this task. These resources are addressed to all those responsible for, or concerned about pastor-congregation relations.

    • Introduction to the Pastor-Congregation Relations Packet

    • Pastor-Congregation Relations Committee Job Description
      • The purpose of the Pastor Congregation Relations Committee (PCRC) is to care for the relationship between the pastor(s) and the congregation and when necessary, to mediate conversations between pastors and members of the congregation, pastors and the church council/board and between pastors and other members of the pastoral team. The PCRC has a relational and mediating role. Although the agenda may include contractual issues such as salary negotiation and tenure reviews, the PCRC will serve in a consulting role and make recommendations to the church council/board.

    • The Pastor’s Job Description
      • A sample guide to writing a pastor's job description. A pastor’s job description is a written outline of ministry responsibilities assigned to the pastor. It is negotiated between the pastor and the governing council or board. In the writing of the associate pastor’s job description, the lead pastor is also involved. The pastor’s job description is reviewed annually. Includes qualifications, ethical standards, accountability, support, tasks, work load.

    • The Pastor’s Spouse
      • How does the pastor's spouse relate to the pastor's job? Every pastor’s spouse is unique, with unique interests and vocations. It is frustrating and inappropriate to assume that one spouse will be like the previous pastor’s spouse or one in another church. There are many different ways for a spouse to engage with the pastor’s calling. Here are guidelines to help discern expectations and roles.

    • Negotiating the Pastor’s Salary
      • Pastors’ salaries can be a sensitive issue for congregations, pastors and pastors’ families. Fair pay is important; but how fair pay is determined is as important for morale and ministry as the salary numbers.

    • Sabbatical, Study and Service Leaves for Pastors
      • Sabbatical, study and service leaves for pastors are good for the pastor, good for the congregation, and good for the church. Pastors stay longer and serve with greater enthusiasm if their ministry includes opportunities to learn and exposure to other ministries. Congregations benefit from a chance to exercise lay leadership gifts or to experience the ministry of an interim pastor during a leave. The whole church benefits by having better leadership, cross-congregational sharing of perspectives and ideas, and greater satisfaction in ministry for those in whom the church has invested time, money and energy in training for leadership. Includes frequently asked questions and a sample study and service leave agreement.

    • Considerations for Multiple Staff Ministry
      • Includes biblical precedents for multiple staffing, various models, observations, assumptions, timing, areas of conflict, job descriptions, family systems theory, role of office administrative assistant and the role of those responsible for overseeing ministerial staff.

    • Hiring a Minister Responsible for Youth Ministry
      • A growing trend in Mennonite churches is the hiring of a minister with significant responsibility for youth ministry. The development of a plan to call additional staff, including a youth ministry staff person, needs to be carefully considered in light of the vision and goals of the congregation. By putting adequate effort into the initial process of discernment a congregation creates, from the beginning, a greater likelihood of a successful working relationship. Here are reflections to frequently asked questions about the calling of additional staff.

    • Is it Time for a Change?
      • Sooner or later every pastor will leave the congregation. However, when should this happen? Who decides when it is time, and by what criteria? These guidelines offer two models for pastoral staff contracts, questions to ponder about when considering continuation or termination, next steps.

    • Transitions
      • The transition point in pastoral ministry is a time of high anxiety, great opportunity and considerable risk. The following are some observations to stimulate thinking and actions that might be appropriate in your local setting. Includes: the pastor's leaving, interim arrangements, and preparation for and welcoming of a new pastor.

    • Guidelines for Pastoral Exit Interview
      • An exit interview conducted just prior to the pastor's departure is important to provide opportunity for the pastor and congregational representatives to say "thank you”; to reflect on how things have gone; to bring meaningful closure; to enhance future ministry and congregational life.

    • Pastoral Evaluations Packet Series
      • Pastor Congregation Evaluations
      • Pastoral leadership of a congregation is an important factor in the life of the church. Though not the only influence in a congregation, pastors are nonetheless a significant indicator of what is and will be happening in the congregation. Leadership matters! Appropriate and proactive pastoral evaluations are an important way to ensure a healthy relationship between the pastor and the congregation as well as the overall growth of the ministry of the pastor. The evaluation tools that are in this packet are for the growth and betterment of the pastor as well as the congregation as a whole.