Information for Congregations in Call Process
The purpose of the Support to Ministries Committee of the South Dakota Synod is to walk with congregations as they begin, work through, and complete the search for new church leadership. The committee is represented by each of the seven conferences of the South Dakota Synod, one ordained and one lay representative from each conference.
Download the Call Process Booklet
Call Process Resources
2024 Compensation and Guidelines for Rostered Ministers (pdf)
Call Process Guide for Clergy (pdf)
Compensation and Benefits for a Pastor Form (pdf)
Compensation and Benefits for a Pastor Guide (pdf)
Compensation and Benefits for a Minister of Word and Service Form (pdf)
Compensation and Benefits for a Minister of Word and Service Guide (pdf)
Covenant For SAMs (pdf)
Definitions And Guidelines For Discipline 2021 (pdf)
Devotions For Congregations In Call Process (from SWMN Synod) (pdf)
Guide to the Rostered Minister Profile (RMP) (pdf)
Maintaining Benefits In Transition (pdf)
Ministry Site Profile Guide (pdf)
Mutual Ministry Handbook (pdf)
Post-Employment Agreement (pdf)
Pulpit Supply – 2023 September Ordained and Interim Pastor Supply List
Pulpit Supply – 2023 September Lay Pulpit Supply List
SAM Definition Of Responsibilities (pdf)
Sample Ministry Site Profile (docx)
Sample Ministry Site Profile (pdf)
South Dakota Synod Call Process Manual (pdf)
Vice Pastor Agreement (pdf)
Ministry Site Profile Login
Contact Synod Staff
If you have any questions about your congregation’s call process or the above forms, please contact Rev. Renee Splichal Larson, Associate to the Bishop for Candidacy, Congregation, and Rostered Minister Accompaniment at 605-274-4022 or Crystal McCormick, Candidacy and Mobility Office Coordinator at 605-274-4024.
Steps in Seeking a New Rostered Minister
Instructions: Click headings below for more information and resources.
Click here for a list of Call Process Resources.
When a congregation seeks to call a new rostered minister, the council president informs the Synod Office.
Consult your congregation’s constitution and by-laws for your call process guidelines. Updates may be necessary.
Seek prayer and reflection as your congregation goes through the transition of calling a new rostered minister.
The council president contacts the synod office to arrange Pulpit Supply and/or Interim ministry, depending on what is appropriate for your congregation.
Consult with Synod staff about the option of a Vice Pastor:
• Vice Pastor Agreement (pdf)
Your congregation will form a Call Committee according to your constitution to work directly with the Synod. Your Call Committee should reflect the demographics of your congregation.
Complete your congregation’s Ministry Site Profile (MSP). This document is the primary tool used to describe your congregation, its mission and ministry needs. This document will introduce your congregation to the candidate. In order to present your congregation in the best light it is important to take plenty of time and prayer as you work on this document. The MSP can be found online at: www.elca.org/call-processhttps://www.elca.org/call-process.
A helpful tool for the congregation’s MSP is the Vitality Survey found at:
A ministry site study is scheduled with a member of the Synod Staff and may also include your Conference Dean and/or Conference Lay Person.
At the Ministry Site Study, Synod Staff explains the call process, answers questions, and reviews the MSP with the congregation. For the sake of transparency and keeping people informed, it is important that the whole congregation be invited to attend; leadership, including the Call Committee and Council, should make it a priority to be present.
The Call Committee receives Rostered Minister Profiles (RMPs) from the Synod. These candidate profile(s) are sent from the Synod office to the Call Committee chairperson after the ministry site study has been completed.
Call Committee then receives and reviews RMPs.
After the Call Committee reviews potential candidate(s), the Call Committee chairperson arranges a time for the candidate(s) to be interviewed by the committee. Interviews can take place in-person, via phone, or video call (ex. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime or GoToMeeting).
During the candidate process, it is the duty of the Call Committee chairperson to communicate clearly and promptly with the candidate(s) of the timeline and progress made by the committee.
See additional resources in the call process manual.
With candidate’s approval, the Call Committee recommends candidate to council. The council may choose to move forward or not with a candidate. If church council approves candidate, then church council:
• Chooses to bring candidate back for conversation with council and/or meet and greet with congregation.
• Negotiates compensation, housing, etc. (see synod compensation guidelines)
• Drafts Letter of Call along with the Definition of Compensation, Benefits and Responsibilities.
• Motions for a congregational meeting for a vote to call the candidate.
If church council rejects candidate or candidate removes their name from the process, return to Step 5.
• The Candidate’s profile is presented to the congregation.
• The congregation votes by ballot to call a candidate. Two-thirds majority is required.
• The Call Committee chair informs the candidate of the congregation’s decision.
• If the congregation votes to extend a call, sign the Letter of Call and send the Letter of Call along with the Definition of Compensation, Benefits, and Responsibilities to the synod office for the Bishop’s signature.
If the congregational vote does not meet the two-thirds majority, return to step 5.
• A congregation will typically hear from the called candidate within 30 days of the candidate’s receipt of the Letter of Call. The candidate may request a meeting with the church council for purposes of further information and clarification on the Letter of Call, moving arrangements, and start date.
• If the response is “yes”, then proceed with plans for the candidate’s moving, start date, and installation.
• If the response is “no”, begin again with Step 5.
• The installation is arranged by the council president and new pastor in consultation with the synod office.
• The bishop, associate to the bishop, or conference dean participates in the Service of Installation.
• Welcome your new rostered minister and their family (as applicable).
Congregations in Transition
The list of congregations in transition is available at this password-protected page. To receive the password to view the page, please fill out this form. After completing the form, a member of the Synod staff will contact you with the password, or to let you know if any additional information is needed. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Synod office at email@example.com or call 605-274-4011.