When I was in my final year of seminary in 2010, I had heard that churches weren't allowed to call a pastor until after she/he was approved as a candidate for ministry by Synod. But really ... no one follows this. Why not just lift this formality of candidacy and go look for a pastor?
What would it look like to come alongside many declining churches and attempt to nest a new community within their congregation? This was done at Haderwyk Ministries in Holland, MI.