by Rev. Terry Brandt, Associate with the Bishop
Of the 232 congregations in the synod, all have been in the call process at some time, most congregations have been in the process numerous times and some congregations are currently in the process. The ELCA call process is unique and engages synods, congregations, rostered leaders, and church-related organizations in a thoughtful assessment and spiritual discernment of how God may be calling them together in mutual ministry “for the sake of the mission and ministry of the church.” The Eastern North Dakota synod staff considers it an honor, privilege and duty to partner with congregations during the time of transition.
You may or may not know the ELCA has been working diligently the last several years to create new tools for the process. The tools invite rostered leaders and ministry sites to focus on mission while allowing for more creativity, reflection, and initiative.
These new tools are found and best explored on the ELCA web site: www.elca.org/call (external link). Some of Eastern North Dakota’s ministry sites and rostered leaders have already begun using these tools. The new tools have been “designed and crafted to work together with a churchwide mobility database that will store the forms.”
On June 1 the currently used mobility forms will be replaced by the Rostered Leader Profile (RLP) and the congregational mission profile will be replaced by a moreinclusive Ministry Site Profile (MSP.)
The Rostered Leader Profile (RLP) is designed for use by all pastors, associates in ministry, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and First Call candidates. The form encourages rostered leaders to reflect on their calling and gifts, be creative about sharing their passions and interests in ministry, and be discerning about their readiness for call.
The Ministry Site Profile (MSP) is designed for use by church-related organizations, specialized ministry sites as well as congregations. It focuses attention on the mission opportunities of that ministry site and allows for reflection on the way the ministry site perceives itself in relation to its calling and its context.
I am excited about these new forms because the new forms are linked together to create a “cyberhouse” for the call process.
There will be a Ministry Opportunities webpage which publishes the key information from the Ministry Site Profiles that have been approved for posting by the synodical bishop. Far from being just a listing of openings, this page will allow rostered leaders and others to enter search criteria in order to actively seek opportunities for call, to read a snapshot of information about the opportunities they select, to learn whom to contact in order to learn more, and to express an interest in the identified position.
In my opinion, these new forms invite creativity. They allow for greater transparency to the call process. The forms focus on mission, calling, giftedness, and context . These forms create a deepened partnership of common purpose among sites, leaders and synods in which leadership can be easily identified and encouraged. Also, the new forms increase speed, accuracy, and efficiency in the process.
Call process…it is one more ministry we do better together rather than alone.