When a Church embarks on the process of calling a minister, it must realise the importance of the decision it will eventually take. In Church meeting, the members will be seeking the mind of Christ and any potential minister will be doing likewise. Thus, the decision-making process, as indeed the nature of the relationship between minister and people - is one that is significantly different from that of the normal employer-employee relationship.
Because ministers are appointed by churches and can be dismissed from them some people think that a Congregational minister is simply a paid organiser of the congregation! They fancy that the minister draws authority from the church as a secretary of a golf club draws authority from the club that pays the salary. Such a mistake will disappear if we remember that it is from God, not the church that a minister gets the Word - the Good News which is proclaimed. It is the Word of God that the minister serves.
The Perspective Manual gives a broad guide of the process of calling a minister. Clearly each local Church may do some things differently, but it is our hope that what follows will form a “framework” which will prove helpful to the local Church, and indeed to ministers seeking a pastorate. Permeating the call to ministry must be prayer, and this cannot be over-emphasised.
Recent Court decisions indicate that the judiciary consider Ministers of Religion should be regarded as employees notwithstanding the traditional view that Ministers are servants of God and not of any temporal authority. The consequence of these decisions is far reaching and the Federation’s view is that the only safe course to be adopted by Churches in future is to treat their Ministers as employees of the Church.