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.

Seminarians are encouraged to attend the virtual seminar scheduled for the seminary in which they are enrolled.

Additionally, all seminary students and graduates enrolled in the call process who are attending a virtual seminar 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.

2023 dates​

October 31, 2023
Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte, NC (VIRTUAL)
Private event: Contact Elizabeth Little, Church Consultant, for more information.

November 8, 2023
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, TX (IN-PERSON)
Private event: Contact Rev. Kevin Keaton, Church Consultant, for more information.

​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.