October 2018   
Bible Search
Electing a Pastor Nominating Committee

In the PC(USA) call process, the congregation gives authority to search for a pastor to a pastor nominating committee (PNC). Once the PNC is elected, the other members of the congregation and the session have no role in determining who will be the next pastor until the PNC is ready to present its nominee to the congregation for a vote.

The presbytery has a responsibility to work with the PNC members, to advise them, and to evaluate the nominee they select to present to the congregation. The presbytery is authorized by our Book of Order to be partners with you in your discernment process.

The presbytery may have recommendations for the session regarding the number of members for a PNC and the process of electing a PNC. Often congregations will use the congregation’s nominating committee to propose a slate of nominees for the PNC. In considering nominees for the PNC, the congregation’s nominating committee should strive for a PNC that is representative of the whole congregation. It should consider church members of integrity who are

  • knowledgeable about the church and community and about Presbyterian theology and government;
  • spiritual leaders within the congregation and are active in the life and work of the congregation;
  • able to make a significant commitment of their time, energy, and very best wisdom;
  • willing to accept this as a task of spiritual discernment, not being easily influenced by personal desires or congregational politics, but rather listening for the voice of God
  • able to honor confidentiality.

The congregation must give careful and prayerful attention to the election of persons to serve in this important role.

The Process for Electing a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC)


1. The presbytery authorizes the congregation to elect a PNC.

2. The session recommends the number of persons to serve on the PNC.

3. The nominating committee or another designated committee prepares a slate to be voted on by the congregation at a meeting called by the session.

4. A congregational meeting is held to elect the PNC.

5. The PNC is elected and commissioned for its work.