Navigating Your First Clergy Position

Any new job comes with its own set of challenges. The learning curve can be steep—not just learning about your role and responsibilities, but also learning about the people, the culture, and the politics of the organization.

For those who have been recently ordained or hope to be ordained soon, that first job out of seminary can be particularly hard to navigate. Typical challenges include coming to terms with pastoral authority and finding one’s place in the system … dealing with issues of power and strong differences of opinion … as well as working with tight budgets and high expectations.

Our research indicates that how new clergy enter these new situations may be as important as which call they accept or assignment they are given. Their first impressions of the community, the strategies they use to gather information, the roles they adopt, and the initial goals they set all have a powerful impact on their effectiveness as leaders.

StoriesView All

Reaching Out Toward the Future: What a Highly Effective Minister Looked For in His Next Church

The Rev. Tim Pearson was motivated to accept a call to All Saints by the congregation's realistic, creative approach to planning for the future and its confident, capable lay leaders.


Developing a Discerning Community: Steps Toward Collaborative Decision-Making

For many small churches, a significant membership increase would be a dream come true. The Rev. Crystal Hughes knew that for her new parish it would also mean navigating an emotional minefield.


ResearchView All

Choosing to Answer a Call: Do Transition into Ministry Programs Affect How Clergy Decide?

We found that clergy focused on the same types of issues when describing their first impressions of a church, whether they participated in a Transition into Ministry program or not.


Meeting a New Congregation: Clergy Look for Openness to Change and Friendliness to Outsiders

Pastors and priests described the traits they look for when assessing what it would be like to lead and minister to the people of a specific congregation.