First Call, First Steps

​First Call, First Steps provides inquirers and candidates for ordination with information and tools essential to navigating the call process effectively.

First Call, First Steps highlights the practical realities of serving in congregational ministry and encourages church-bound seminarians to negotiate their terms of call through the lens of covenant. It helps them to build their lives and ministries on a firm foundation, so they may devote their best gifts and energies to the work of God's kingdom. First Call, First Steps is offered by the Board of Pensions at no cost to participants.

"​I feel far more confident when it comes to negotiating a call."

Seminar participant/inquirer

Who's eligible

The First Call, First Steps seminar is open to seminary students and graduates who are enrolled as inquirers or candidates for ordination in the PC(USA). This seminar is offered at PC(USA) institutions and may also be offered by mid councils and at seminaries with strong PC(USA) representation.

Learning formats

First Call, First Steps is available in two learning formats to best serve you: virtually as a 90-minute webinar and in person as a two-and-a-half-hour seminar.

Virtual seminar

Seminarians may attend the virtual seminar scheduled for the seminary in which they are enrolled. All individuals enrolled as inquirers and candidates in the PC(USA) ordination process, regardless of their institution of enrollment and graduation date, may attend the December 17 seminar.  

For more information about a particular seminar, email the contact listed for that seminar.

December 2

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 
Contact Rev. Kevin Keaton, Church Consultant

December 3             

Union Presbyterian Theological Seminary Charlotte 
Contact Elizabeth Little, Church Consultant

December 8

Union Presbyterian Theological Seminary Richmond 
Contact Martha Reisner, Church Consultant

December 17             

McCormick Theological Seminary/All inquirers and candidates in the PC(USA) ordination process
Contact Ken Green, Church Consultant or Board University

Additionally, all seminary students and graduates enrolled in the call process can request access to the Board University e-learning site. The Terms of Call and Personal Financial Planning e-learning series cover similar content to the First Call, First Steps seminar and, after completing these series, individuals can download certificates of completion to share with Committees on Preparation for Ministry.

Please email Board University with any questions regarding these learning opportunities or accessing Board University's e-learning platform.

In-person seminar

Out of concern for the health and safety of our participants and presenters, in-person First Call, First Steps seminars are canceled through the end of 2020. We will revisit in-person seminars in 2021.

What you'll learn

In the First Call, First Steps seminar, you will

  • examine theological perspectives on benefits, compensation, and call;
  • consider the financial realities of pastors
    • fair cash compensation
    • effective salary
    • housing allowance
    • clergy taxes
    • income security
    • healthcare coverage; and
  • understand key considerations for structuring terms of call.

How to schedule

Seminaries as well as mid councils with a larger number of seminarians and graduates under their care work directly with their Board of Pensions Church Consultant and Board University staff to schedule seminars and register participants.

To schedule a First Call, First Steps seminar, contact your Board of Pensions Church Consultant or email the Board University team.