November 17, 2010

Ministry Study Proposes No Guarenteed Appointment

Dear Friends, Please check out the Minisitry Study that will be proposal to General Conference in 2012. There are some suprises and some issues that effect us all.

Study of Ministry Commission Seeks Feedback. The Study of Ministry Commission has mapped out changes that include a shift away from security of employment for elders, a move to group candidacy mentoring, and separating ordination from full annual conference membership. “The 2008 General Conference asked us to streamline the ordination process and make changes that would move us to mission-oriented rather than a clergy-oriented church,” said Bishop Al Gwinn, chair of the commission. Comments can be e-mailed to

From the report:

Appointments should be determined by missional needs, effectiveness of clergy, and fruitfulness of congregations/ministry settings, honoring prophetic voice, accountability, character, servant leadership, and no security of appointment should be assumed.

The historic practice of itineracy is effective and responsive to covenantal obedience to call. Itineracy is not simply a practice of ‘moving clergy,’ but a way of fulfilling our Church’s mission.
Security of employment, commonly called guaranteed appointment, has become a barrier to fulfilling the church’s mission. It limits the ability of the church to respond to the primacy of missional needs. Security of employment can emphasize the needs of the clergy instead
of focusing on the mission of the church, and it restricts flexibility of appointments. Security of employment limits the church’s ability to respond to mediocrity and ineffectiveness. Security of employment is not sustainable, especially in the context of the financial pressures that
are building in our denomination.

Our vision is fruitful congregations that are transforming individuals and communities served by effective clergy undergirded by a system that is itinerant, open, flexible and responsive. To this end, we envision a shift to missional appointments, determined by missional needs
of the community, effectiveness of clergy, and fruitfulness of congregations/ministry settings, honoring prophetic voice and the common value of women and ethnic leadership in the church. Missional appointments emphasize fruitfulness in ministry over security of employment.
To accomplish this vision, we recommend the following:

1) Determine limited and standard fitness assessments. Each annual conference, board of ordained ministry, cabinet, and bishop will determine a clear definition of effectiveness and method for evaluating clergy.
2) Eliminate security of appointment for elders and edit appropriate Disciplinary paragraphs, including ¶¶334 and 337.
3) Create more flexibility for less-than-full-time elder appointments and edit relevant Disciplinary paragraphs, including ¶¶338 and 342. 4) Create a defined status/process for elders who are “not employed” and expand transitional leave as a new paragraph in the Discipline or draw language from ¶331.6.
5) Expand and create new oversight and review procedures for the appointment-making process to ensure that the historic protections of the prophetic pulpit, women and ethnic clergy
are preserved.
6) Coordinate with GBOPHB resources, methods and practices for separation of employment and employment transitions.

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