From 2001 to 2009, under the former ELCA Division for Ministry and the present ELCA Vocation & Education churchwide units, several research studies have sought feedback from first call leaders (rostered lay leaders and pastors, young rostered leaders, leaders in rural and multicultural contexts) and from seminary seniors concerning their preparation and support for a first call into public ministry. More recently, first call congregations themselves have been studied. These studies were done within a larger project called “Transition into Ministry,” funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc.
As a way to summarize the cogent findings from these studies as well as offer a practical way to deal with this data, checklists were designed of “best practices” for various stakeholders in this first call venture. The following lists can offer a mirror with which to view one’s own institution, program or self. As such, these checklists aren’t the final word on what it takes to do an effective job in the first call arena, but they can serve as sounding boards or discussion devices to open up conversations about these practices and the issues behind them.
As you utilize these lists, please feel free to add, modify or change the language of these practices in ways that move your institution, program or ministry into more effective and faithful responses to God’s call to minister to others.
Download all five checklists Download all five checklists