The Call Process

We at Mount Olive Lutheran Church are on a  faithful journey to find out next pastor.

Along the way, there are many steps we have to take: Some will require us to act. Some will require us to be patient. All will require us to listen and respond to God’s will for this congregation.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please reach out to any member of the Call Committee.

Check back for regular updates, meeting minutes, and actions steps.

Call Meeting – October 2, 2022 Immediately Following Service

On this date, please meet us in the Fellowship Hall for a presentation by the Call Committee of our recommended candidate and a Congregational Vote to extend the call to one of our candidates.


  • READ the PIF/SET documents from the NW District (available in the office)
  • PRAY for our congregation, these pastors, and for the Holy Spirit to guide our decisions with wisdom and patience.
  • If you cannot attend our meeting on Oct 2, VOTE ABSENTEE by getting your ballot from Darcy in the Office. The ballot box is locked until the day of the Call Meeting. Once the box is open, we will not collect anymore ballots. So if you are voting absentee… get your ballot to the church office (mail or in person) on or before Oct 2!

We would also like you to know the lens through which we prayed, discussed, interviewed, and aligned each candidate. Using the 5 Vision Statements of Mt Olive (created through a multi-year process with input from our congregational survey, various groups & members, and leaders in our congregation) and the 10 Pastoral Attributes we identified at the start of our call process, we carefully considered each candidate’s responses and sought to identify the man who will continue the work God has laid out for us in the Yakima Valley.

Please also consider these things when reading and praying for our next pastor:

10 Attributes:

  • Preaching
  • People Skills
  • Teaching
  • Worship
  • Tact
  • Initiative
  • Discipler
  • Cooperation
  • Youth Ministry
  • Children’s Ministry

5 Vision Statements:

  1. Maintain and develop small groups for Bible Study and service.
  2. Education, spiritual development, and fellowship of our youth, kids, and families.
  3. Improve communication skills within our congregation and in our community through invitation, introductions, relationships, and testimony.
  4. Enhance, refine, and improve organization and coordination, especially within our leadership structure.
  5. Stewardship of our resources and gifts, especially towards local and broadly located missions and service.

Thank you for your prayers, patience, and faith through this process. God is at work in His people and will lead us to do His will in His time!

Week of September 5 – 9: Call Candidates Interviewed by Call Committee

August 21, 2022 – A List of Potential Candidates Has Been Received!

Call Committee Updates and Next Steps

We have a list of candidates! After reaching out to each of them, we have narrowed the list to 4 potential pastoral candidates. Here are the next steps for our Call Committee:

  1. August – Prayerfully read and study each SET provided by our pastor candidates
  2. Early September – By listening to the Holy Spirit, decide which candidate(s) will continue the call process. This could be all four or narrowed down to 2 or 3, in the coming weeks.
  3. Early September – Provide candidates with information about Mt Olive, including our Self Study, vision, and mission statements, to consider before we contact them directly.
  4. September – Interview each candidate. This is NOT a job interview. We will be asking clarifying questions about their ministry, pastoral practice, and vision to see if it aligns with the vision of Mt Olive and the needs of our larger community.
  5. Through patience, wisdom, and discernment, bring potential candidate(s) to the congregation of Mt Olive for discussion, prayer, and consideration. We may recommend one or more candidate(s). This is for the Spirit to decide through this process.

Information about each candidate is available in the church office. Please do not remove this information from the church building or make copies of it in any way. We need to respect this information and keep it confidential within our church family.

Also, please do not reach out to these pastors or their congregations. They are all serving in a call and it can be disruptive to their ministry or create tension in their current church family. The Call Committee is here and ready to discuss any questions, concerns, or information you have about candidates.

Pray without ceasing, Mt Olive! Our God is faithful. He has already selected a new pastor for our congregation. May His wisdom and patience guide us during a time of anxiousness and anticipation.

Your Call Committee,

Brian Rafferty – Committee Chair, Ministry Council

Mike Closner – Ministry Council

Diana Brown – Sunday School/Education

Pat Hunter – Preschool/Childcare

Mike Livingston – Elder

Colette Keeton – Fellowship

Becca Mailand – Digital Communication

Tim Wheeler – Elder

Cheri Zirkle – Outreach

August 14, 2022 – Call Committee Meeting

The Call Committee met briefly after church to review our process and prepare for the arrival of our packet of candidate information. We anticipate this information coming to us soon and we will be in close communication with the congregation as soon as we have more info to share.

May 2022 – Church Study Packet Has Been Submitted!

Our packet has been submitted. It includes our self-study, community demographics, our survey results, and any nominations the call committee received from the congregation. We will now wait for the NW District to send us a packet of potential candidates.

We will post another update once we have any news on the next steps of the process.

Week of May 15th

Meeting Notes: Brian Rafferty (Call Committee Chair), Mike Closner (Ministry Council President) and Mike Livingston (Head Elder) will finalize packet and submit everything to the NW District.

Next Steps: Now we wait for a list of potential pastoral candidates from the NW District. This could take several weeks or months. We pray for patience and faithfulness while we await a response from the Synod.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Meeting Notes: Call committee met to create a cover letter for our Congregational Packet. We wanted to briefly describe our congregation and summarize our packet for a prospective pastor.

Next Steps: Nominees are being gathered from congregation.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Meeting Notes: Call committee met briefly to discuss the results of the survey. We also reviewed with Pastor Griesse the steps of the call process and set a rough timeline for completing our packet and turning in information to the NW District. A letter will be emailed/mailed to the congregation with the results, a request for nominees, and a reminder about the steps of the call process. We will also host a short meeting after worship on Sunday, April 24th at 10:20 in the Fellowship Hall to go over these points.

Next Steps: Complete the self-study packet by May 8th and turn it into the NW District. After that, we wait for the NW District to provide us a list of names and biographies of pastors who fit our profile and are willing to take a call. It could take several weeks or months to receive this list.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Get your email address to Darcy Closner ASAP! We have a survey we’d like you to fill out. We’ll be at the Soup Supper on Wednesday with hard copies of the survey. Look for any one of your Call Committee members if you have questions or need help with the survey.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Meeting Notes:

  • Reviewed Answers for Part 2 of the Congregational Self Survey: Our Community
  • Began answering two big questions: What is the working relationship between a pastor and the laity at Mt. Olive? How do we at Mt. Olive define our congregation overall: Thriving, Treading Water, or Legacy? These questions will be fully answered after survey results are compiled.
  • Reviewed/Edited a Congregational Survey to be completed by Mt. Olive attendees
  • Set a timeline for getting surveys to the congregation, inputting data, and getting data compiled in order to complete the Congregational Self Survey

Next Steps:

  • March 13-Collect accurate emails from as many congregants as possible; urge congregation to submit names of pastors they would like to be considered for a call
  • March 14 through 27 (including Wednesdays) – email surveys/pass out hard copies and begin collecting data or inputting survey results from hard copies.

Next Meeting: TBD, After survey is completed we will set a date in early April to complete the Congregational Self-Survey.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Meeting Notes:

  • Began reviewing the Congregational Demographic Data compiled by Darcy Closner and Brian Rafferty for the Congregational Self-Study. This includes things like attendance, changes in membership, and a brief description of our leadership structure. Once data is finalized, it will be available to the congregation to view.
  • Identified questions that will need to be on the Congregational Survey

Next Steps: Create a survey for the congregation, using documents from the NW District and other area congregations. Review the work done on the Congregational Survey so far and bring any additional information to add.

Next Meeting: Sunday, March 6, 2022 @ 11:15am

Sunday, February 20, 2022
Call Committee (L-R): Mike L, Colette, Tim, Mike C, Becca, Brian, Diana, Cheri

Meet your Committee Members and ministries they represent:

  • Diana Brown – Sunday School/Education
  • Mike Closner – Ministry Council
  • Pat Hunter – Preschool/Childcare
  • Mike Livingston – Elder
  • Colette Keeton – Fellowship
  • Becca Mailand – Digital Communication
  • Brian Rafferty – Committee Chair, Ministry Council
  • Tim Wheeler – Elder
  • Cheri Zirkle – Outreach

Meeting Notes:

  • Reviewed the call process and passed out Congregational Study Packet
  • Discussed prior Vision Survey from 2021 and how that may help complete portions of the Study Packet
  • Mike C, Brian R, and Darcy Closner will compile as much demographic info as possible before our next meeting to narrow down the scope of the Congregational Survey

Next Steps: Review all information from the NW District and begin to prepare a survey for the congregation based on the Congregational Study Packet

Next Meeting: Sunday, February 27, 2022 @ 7:30am



Nominate a Pastor for Consideration
LC-MS/NW District Call Process Documents

Click HERE to review the “Guidelines for Assisting a Vacant Congregation”

Click HERE to review the “Call Process Checklist”

Back to top