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Presbyterian ministers seeking a call will soon find it easier to connect with churches looking to fill positions. Church Leadership Connection (CLC), the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s computerized database and matching system, is getting an upgrade.

The Reverend Manuel D. Silva-Esterrich, manager for call process with the Office of the General Assembly (OGA), says they are focusing on three areas of improvement for now, including automating a number of CLC functions.

“People shouldn’t have to wait on staff to utilize the CLC, such as matchings and renewals, if it can be done in an automated format,” he said. “If something needs to be reviewed or the user needs help with it, CLC staff can work with them.”

In addition to automating CLC functionality, plans are to expand the database so call seekers can provide more information to churches.

“In the current system, there are 30 competencies listed and you have to pick the 10 that best describe you. That can be tough to do,” said Silva-Esterrich. “We are developing a system that will include a questionnaire. With that, we will be able to balance competencies and positive strengths so that candidates can present themselves with all available competencies.”

Silva-Esterrich says they wanted something that provides a better overview of the candidate. That way, he adds, organizations can look at competencies and open the selection to people of different multicultural backgrounds.

“This will actually help people compete on a level playing field and give churches the information they need to make informed decisions,” he said.

The third update will be a new look and design.

“We are looking for something that is very user-friendly,” he said. “Users will easily see and manage all of their tasks and roles in a clearer way, hoping this will lessen the frustrations with the current system.”

The CLC was launched in the 1990s and the last update was in 2013, according to Silva-Esterrich. He adds it has served its purpose, but it is in need of function updates in order to make a difference with users in this new technological era.

“Without the CLC, connecting with churches would be an incredibly long and drawn-out experience. We would have to send curriculum vitae and resumes to each presbytery to let them know we are available and then wait to find out what’s out there,” he said. “The CLC helps us connect across the nation and Puerto Rico. It’s a tool that can help us expand the search for candidates, so it’s crucial for us to be online right now.”

Silva-Esterrich says they also plan to connect CLC with EQUIP, the church’s online training resource. They hope to have the updates ready for testing between January and March 2021.