About the program
For Such a Time as This
Launched by the Presbyterian Mission Agency in fall 2009, For Such a Time as This was designed to renew and grow small churches and help them to become healthy, missional congregations. The program pairs small, underserved congregations in rural, small town, and urban settings with recent seminary graduates in a two-year pastoral-residency relationship, during which they are supported and guided by a cluster of pastor-mentors. Since For Such a Time as This began, 22 recent seminary graduates are serving 26 congregations in 10 presbyteries.
Presbytery application deadline
Resident candidate application deadline
Residents begin ministry
National orientation for residents
Frequently asked questions
What kind of church qualifies?
A small church (defined generally as less than 100 members or less than 75 in worship) that has been without an installed pastor for an extended period and its presbytery determines will likely have difficulty attracting pastoral candidates, but which has potential for transformational ministry in its community.
Can a church apply?
No. An interested church should contact its presbytery. The presbytery selects churches to form a residency cluster and makes application to the program.
What if a presbytery doesn’t have 3-4 qualifying churches?
Presbyteries with only one church are considered, but the presbytery must have a plan for how to provide the cluster group experience with other first call pastors and mentors. They may partner with a neighboring presbytery or include other first call pastors in the presbytery that aren’t in the program, as long as the residents serving could reasonably get together once a month for a day-long learning group.
Does the program pay the salary of the resident?
No each church or church and presbytery together must provide most of the funding for the pastoral call. The program provides up to $8000 during the residency to assist with pastoral compensation and provides significant support through mentoring, cluster learning groups, and national resourcing.
Does a church searching for a part-time pastor qualify?
No. Calls for For Such a Time as This are full-time calls. A church may decide to share a pastor with another small congregation within a reasonable distance if the churches and presbytery agree to this. This can be a good way for two congregations to ‘try out’ yoking for two years.
Who can apply to be a resident?
Presbyterian Church (USA) candidates who will be certified ready to receive a call by the application deadline and are willing to serve anywhere they are sent are eligible to apply to the program.
Can I search for a call while I apply to the program?
Once a candidate is selected for the program, she or he must discontinue conversations with any other position until the For Such a Time as This selection and placement period ends. If, at that point, the candidate has not accepted a call to one of the residency churches, then the Office of Vocation will assist him or her in seeking another call by sending them to Face-to-Face events and connecting them with presbyteries who have open churches that may be suited to them.
I really need to be in a particular geographic area. Can I be placed there?
No. While efforts are made to match candidates to calls that are a good fit, applicants must be willing to serve where they are needed and thus be open to any of the settings chosen as residency sites.
Will second-career candidates be considered for this program?
Yes! Many small congregations prefer candidates with some life experience. All candidates who meet the requirements will be carefully considered for this program.
What if a church does not like any of the resident candidates or a candidate does not feel they can accept the residency position offered?
The program values the call to a pastoral relationship and believes that no church or pastor should accept a call that they discern to be wrong. If a church decides not to accept any of the candidates offered, the congregation may choose to withdraw from the program.
What is the commitment to the program?
Each church, presbytery, and resident applicant commits to a 2 year pastoral relationship. Before the end of that time, the three parties will determine whether it might continue. Many residency pastors do stay on, but there is no obligation to do so. During the two years, it is expected that the resident will guide the congregation in exploring new opportunities for ministry and discerning God’s call for them. Ideally, the culmination of this discernment process will clarify for all parties whether the resident should stay or move on.
Who chooses the pastor/mentors?
This is a collaboration between the presbytery and the For Such a Time as This team. We are seeking candidates with a “missional spirit,” who understand the dynamics of small congregations and who will lead residency churches to grow deep and wide.
The Rev. Cindy Cushman
The Rev. Cindy Cushman serves the Office of Vocation as part-time coordinator for For Such a Time as This. As a small church pastor, presbyter, and administrator, Cindy brings extensive experience to her role in leading the team in support of this innovative program. Cindy may be contacted by telephone at (800) 728-7228, x5381, or by email.
Cindy Community of Faith(Ludlow and Ist Covington Ky), which you are familiar with, is ready to begin the PNC process...they have little financial reserves and small attendance...I think they could benefit from this program and will talk with the GP today. How flexible is the Jan 31 deadline...COF only got tentative approval last thursday from COM to begin the PNC process. Let me know your thoughts. Daniel Watson, Interim Minister