Commonly Asked Search Process Questions

General Questions

Where can I direct further questions about the process and what to expect?
  • In worship: Listen for announcements and check the bulletin
  • On the web: Click the “Pastoral Transition” button on the Trinity Website
  • Contact Lesley Carroll, chair of the Interim Pastor Hiring Committee:   678-570-3839 or

Phase 1: Search for Interim Pastor [COMPLETE]

What is the process for hiring an interim pastor?

  • Session meets with Presbytery to discuss Pastoral Transition Process support
  • Session appoints an Interim Pastor Hiring Committee (IPHC)
  • The IPHC develops an interim pastor job description
  • The IPHC reviews resumes, interviews and selects a candidate for Interim Pastor
  • The Interim Pastor Candidate is approved by the session and begins service


How can I have input into the selection of our interim pastor? Will we vote on him or her?

You can submit names of interim pastor candidates to the IPHC. The candidate should be an ordained Presbyterian minister, and have completed Phase One of interim training.  The congregation will not vote on the interim pastor. According to PC(USA) process, Session hires interims.


Are Interim Pastor candidates local or from other places?

Interim Pastor Candidates can be either local or from other Presbyteries.


When do we expect to hire an interim pastor?

The IPHC expects to have an Interim Pastor in place by late fall/early winter 2019.



Phase 2: Interim Period [CURRENT PHASE (MARCH 2020)]
How long are we likely to have an interim pastor?

The IPHC anticipates that the interim period will be 18-24 months.


What will be his/her responsibilities/objectives?

The interim pastor will help maintain the health and life of the congregation, conduct the formal work of helping us come to terms with the church's history, and help to identify unresolved sources of conflict.  He or she will be in charge of worship and will serve as head of staff, moderate the Session, liaison with assigned committees, and provide some pastoral care and teaching as we prepare to welcome our new senior pastor.  He or she will also have input into the timing of the Pastor Nominating Committee election and the start of the Senior Pastor search.


How do we determine the Interim Pastor’s salary?

Per PC(USA) policy, the interim’s compensation should be at least 90% of the previous pastor’s compensation. It could be higher depending on experience.


If we like the Interim Pastor, can we just hire him/her as permanent Senior Pastor?

No. The Presbytery of Greater Atlanta will not allow a congregation’s interim pastor to become its senior pastor.


Will the Associate Pastor become our new senior pastor?

The reading of our polity prohibits our calling a current Associate Pastor to the position. But more importantly, before we begin to think about our next senior pastor, we should focus first on having an Interim to give us the time and space to examine ourselves and envision where we want to go.


Phase 3: Search for Senior Pastor
Who determines the members of the Pastor Nominating Committee?

Every year, the congregation elects a Representative Nominating Committee (RNC). If a pastor search is needed at any point during the year, the RNC solicits names for a PNC from the congregation. The RNC makes a list of possible nominees, vets those candidates and determines their willingness to serve. The congregation then votes on the RNC slate for the PNC at a congregational meeting.


How can I have input into the selection of our new Senior Pastor?

You may submit names of possible Senior Pastor candidates to the PNC for consideration.



Phase 4: New Senior Pastor
How long will this take?

The process to elect a new pastor can take up to 2 years, although there is no set time limit.


Will the congregation know who has applied to be Senior Pastor?

No. Reviewing candidates is a confidential process.


Will the congregation be kept informed of the search process?

Yes, the PNC will have general updates on the search progress.


Will the PNC write a profile of the kind of person needed to be our new Senior Pastor?

The PNC will complete a Ministry Information Form (MIF). In addition to a description of the church, this form has lists of leadership competencies and experiences required for the position. The Session and the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta must approve the MIF.


How does the PNC find candidates?

There are various ways: The PC(USA) has an electronic matching website that will connect pastor’s Personal Information Forms (PIF), similar to a resume, with our MIF. The congregation, Presbytery, seminaries and clergy colleagues will all suggest candidates. Finally, the PNC may research and recruit potential candidates.


If I know a candidate I would like to be considered, what should I do?

Tell a PNC member. Ask your potential candidate to submit a Personal Information Form (PIF) to the PNC.The PIF is similar to a resume. The PNC will review any PIFs submitted.


Does the Presbytery have to approve the Senior Pastor?

Yes, a "suitability of call meeting" will be held with the candidate, the PNC, and select members of the Presbytery's Committee on Ministry. The Committee on Ministry may have additional information about the candidate that is helpful and have advice on making a smooth transition.