First Call, First Steps

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

Out of concern for the health and safety of our participants and presenters, all in-person seminars are canceled through 2020. Virtual First Call, First Steps seminars will be held in fall 2020 and spring 2021. We will announce more information about the fall online event in October.

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.

"​I feel far more confident when it comes to negotiating a call. The Board of Pensions seminar provided pertinent information regarding insurance, housing, and other programs. I also learned of grants I would not have otherwise been aware of."

Seminar participant/inquirer

This half-day seminar 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.

Who's eligible

The seminar is offered at Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seminaries and is open to inquirers and candidates for ordination in the PC(USA) and their spouses. First Call, First Steps may also be offered at seminaries with strong PC(USA) representation.

Mid councils with a larger number of students or recent seminary graduates under their care and an interest hosting the seminar may contact the Board to explore scheduling possibilities.

What you'll learn

In this 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.

Upcoming seminars

Out of concern for the health and safety of our participants and presenters, all First Call, First Steps seminars are canceled through the end of 2020.


To discuss scheduling this seminar and to register students, seminaries and mid councils should call Devin Johns, program administrator, at 215-587-7459, or email her with FCFS in the subject line.

"The seminar was helpful for my understanding of how to frame first terms of call."

 — Seminar participant/inquirer