Chapter 3: Ministerial Appointments

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A. Categories of Service

3250. While The Wesleyan Church recognizes only two levels of ministry which in and of themselves have a degree of permanency, that of ordained minister and that of commissioned minister, it also recognizes that the ordained minister, commissioned minister or licensed minister preparing for ordination may serve the Church in various capacities. Christ has called some to be “apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph. 4:11–12). The Church recognizes the following categories of service to which a district conference may appoint an ordained minister, or, as circumstances warrant, a commissioned or licensed minister (1180:26): pastor (3255–3260); evangelist (3270–3285); missionary (3300); educator or itinerant Bible teacher (3310); administrator (3320); chaplain (3320; cf. 3330); interchurch service (3335); special service (3345); and affiliate church pastor (3346). Service within these categories that qualifies as being “in a ministerial capacity” would include that service for which ministerial training is required or greatly desired. The General Board adopts guidelines for each category which will aid district boards in identifying the kinds of service which are considered to be “in a ministerial capacity.”

1. Pastors

3255. Regular Pastoral Service. The pastoral office is defined in 675. In The Wesleyan Church, pastoral service includes the pastor of a church (735), an associate pastor (738), and an assistant pastor, who may specialize in such ways as minister of spiritual formation, minister of music, minister of visitation or minister of youth (741). An ordained minister appointed by a district conference to any of these levels of pastoral service in connection with a Wesleyan church, developing church or mission shall be placed on the appointed list (cf. 1240:I:A:2); a commissioned or licensed minister appointed as pastor, associate pastor or assistant pastor of a Wesleyan church shall be a voting member of the district conference (317; 1083:3; 1240:II:A; 1240:III:A; 3044:4; 3059:2e).

3260. Supply Pastors. A district conference (503; 1180:26b; 1240:V:E), or, in the interim of its sessions, the district superintendent and the district board of administration (1233:32, 39; 1310:22–23) shall have the power to appoint a supply pastor, who shall serve subject to the following regulations:

(1) A supply pastor may be a Wesleyan ordained minister or commissioned or licensed minister serving under some other appointment or an ordained minister on loan from one district to another (cf. 503; 1240:I:A:2b; 3100:2), a commissioned or licensed special worker (3460–3470), a minister in process of transfer from another denomination (3104), a minister who belongs to another denomination, a ministerial student, a lay minister or a lay member.
(2) A supply pastor shall be appointed temporarily to fill the pulpit and to provide a spiritual ministry, but shall not have authority to administer the sacraments or to perform marriages unless that authority adheres on some other basis, and shall not perform the administrative function of the pastor except in filing of reports unless authorized to do so by the district superintendent (cf. 1310:8, 23). If a supply pastor is serving a congregation isolated from Wesleyan ministers, making it difficult to provide for administration of the sacraments (725:6), the district superintendent may grant the supply pastor special authorization to administer them.
(3) A supply pastor’s church membership shall not be automatically transferred to the church of service.
(4) A supply pastor shall be granted a certificate of authorization to supply on the form provided in 6240, and shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference unless qualifying as a voting member by some other right (1090:7).
(5) A supply pastor may be removed or replaced at any time by the district board of administration (1233:39; 1310:22–23; cf. 5200:4; 5215:1).

3261. Interim Pastors. A district conference (503; 1180:26b), or, in the interim of its sessions, the district superintendent and the district board of administration (1233:32, 39; 1310:22–23) shall have the power to appoint an interim pastor, who shall serve subject to the following regulations:

(1) A pastoral charge receiving an interim pastor must participate in an assessment process led by the district superintendent or a representative designated by the district superintendent to evaluate local church health and pastoral leadership needs.
(2) An interim pastor shall be appointed for a specific period mutually agreed upon by the pastor, the local board of administration, and the district superintendent (usually not more than 24 months). This period may be modified based upon the recommendation of the district superintendent and the approval of the district board of administration. An interim pastor may be removed or replaced at any time by a majority vote of the district board of administration (1233:40; 1310:22–23; cf. 5200:5; 5215:1).
(3) An interim pastor may be fully empowered to exercise administrative authority in the local church, if a Wesleyan ordained, commissioned or licensed minister, and shall fulfill all the functions of the pastor or senior pastor of a pastoral charge or circuit (725), which may include presiding as chair of the local church conference and the local board of administration (except as provided in 635 and 770–773).
(4) An interim pastor’s local church membership and district ministerial membership shall not be automatically transferred to the church of service, given the temporary nature of the appointment. However, an interim pastor may personally request transfer of local church membership and district ministerial membership if desired.
(5) An interim pastor may be a nonvoting member of the district conference if ministerial membership is maintained in another district (1090), or unless qualifying as a voting member by some other right (1083).

2. Evangelists

3270. Functions. An evangelist is an ordained minister or commissioned or licensed minister who devotes time to traveling and preaching the gospel without any specific pastoral assignment, and who is authorized by the Church to promote revivals and to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ abroad in the land. The Wesleyan Church recognizes three levels of evangelistic service to which a district conference may appoint ministers: associate general evangelist, general evangelist, and reserve evangelist.

3275. Examination. Before appointment as an evangelist, the candidate shall be examined carefully by the district board of ministerial development relative to personal Christian experience, full personal commitment to and support of the Articles of Religion and Membership Commitments, to the government, institutions and best interests of The Wesleyan Church, gifts and aptitudes for the work of an evangelist, and the intention to devote time to the work of evangelism.

3280. Associate General Evangelist. An associate general evangelist is an ordained minister, commissioned minister or licensed minister appointed by a district to serve in the field of evangelism. An ordained minister so appointed shall be placed upon the appointed list (cf. 1240:I:A:3a). A commissioned or licensed minister so appointed shall be listed under “B. Other Appointments” (1240:II:B; 1240:III:B) and is a nonvoting member of the district conference (1090:3). To receive such an appointment, the minister must devote a major portion of time to do the work of evangelism. Those entering the field of evangelism will serve in this category for at least two years. To be continued in this appointment the minister must conduct at least 40 services devoted to evangelism each year after the first year of appointment.

3285. General Evangelist. A general evangelist is an ordained minister appointed by a district conference to the field of evangelism and recommended for service to the church. An ordained minister so appointed shall be placed on the appointed list (cf. 1240:I:A:3b). Appointment as general evangelist is subject to the following conditions and procedures:

(1) Upon completion of two years of service as an associate general evangelist, the district board of administration may recommend that person to the district conference as a general evangelist. The two-year requirement may be waived if, in the judgment of the district board of administration and the district conference, an ordained minister is uniquely qualified to serve the General Church in this capacity. Endorsement of the district conference, the General Superintendent, and the Executive Director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship shall be required for appointment as a general evangelist. Upon approval for appointment to the category of general evangelist a certificate of such appointment shall be issued and signed by the district superintendent, the district secretary (cf. 6340) and the Executive Director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship.
(2) Appointment and certification as a general evangelist shall only be continued in subsequent years if the evangelist reports to the district conference at least 80 services each year devoted to evangelism. At the time this requirement is not met, the general evangelist shall be reclassified as an associate general evangelist or reserve evangelist.

3286. Reserve Evangelist. An ordained minister who, due to age or physical disability, is limited in activities may be appointed as a reserve evangelist (cf. 1240:I:A:3c). Appointment and certification as a reserve evangelist shall be by the district. To qualify for renewal of the appointment, the reserve evangelist shall be required to conduct a satisfactory level of evangelistic service each year as determined by the district board of ministerial development.

3295. Evangelistic Reports. Each associate general or general evangelist shall file an annual service/statistical report with the district statistical committee, the district board of ministerial development and the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division on forms approved by the General Superintendent and made available by the Communication and Administration Division.

3. Missionaries

3300. When an ordained or licensed minister has been appointed by the General Board to serve in a ministerial capacity under the Global Partners Division or under the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division, the district conference shall list the minister as if it had made the appointment. An ordained minister so appointed shall be placed upon the appointed list (1240:I:A:4c) and shall be a voting member of the district conference (1083:1). A commissioned or licensed minister so serving shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference and shall be listed under “Other Appointments” (cf. 1090:3; 1240:II:B; 1240:III:B). (Cf. 2272.)

4. Educators/Itinerant Bible Teachers

3310. Ordained, commissioned or licensed ministers may serve as educators in educational institutions, or itinerant Bible teaching ministers to local churches and districts, and be appointed as follows:

(1) When an ordained, commissioned or licensed minister has been employed to serve in a ministerial capacity on the administrative staff or faculty of one of the general educational institutions of The Wesleyan Church, or of one of the seminaries approved by The Wesleyan Seminary Foundation, the district conference shall list the minister as if it had made the appointment. An ordained minister so serving shall be placed upon the appointed list (cf. 1240:I:A:4d) and shall be a voting member of the district conference (1083:1). A commissioned or licensed minister so serving shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference (1090:3).
(2) An ordained, commissioned or licensed minister may be employed in a ministerial capacity in spiritual formation or a special Christian education program of a local Wesleyan church, subject to review by the district board of administration and appointment by the district conference (1180:26; 1233:10). An ordained minister so appointed shall be placed upon the appointed list (1240:I:A:2c) and shall be a voting member of the district conference (1083:1). A commissioned or licensed minister so serving shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference and shall be listed under “Other Appointments” (cf. 1090:3; 1240:II:B; 1240:III:B).
(3) When an ordained, commissioned or licensed minister devotes time to traveling and teaching in local churches and districts without a specific or pastoral assignment, the minister shall be recognized as an itinerant Bible teacher subject to recommendation and appointment by the district conference of which the minister is a member. An ordained minister so appointed shall be placed on the appointed list (1240:I:A:4e), and shall be a voting member of the district conference. A commissioned or licensed minister so appointed shall be a non-voting member of the district conference and shall be listed under “Other Appointments” (1240:II:B or 1240:III:B) as is appropriate.

5. Administrators

3320. When an ordained minister has been elected by the General Conference as a general official (1800), or an ordained, commissioned or licensed minister has been employed at the World Headquarters, or elected or employed by the board of directors of a general subsidiary corporation other than an educational institution, to serve the General Church in a ministerial capacity, or an ordained minister has been elected by the district conference as district superintendent or full-time assistant district superintendent, or an ordained, commissioned or licensed minister has been elected or employed for full-time service of the district in a ministerial capacity, the district conference shall list the minister as if it had made the appointment. An ordained minister serving in this manner shall be placed on the appointed list (cf. 1240:I:A:1, 4a, b), and shall be a voting member of the district conference (1083:1). A commissioned or licensed minister so serving shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference and shall be listed under either “Commissioned” or “Licensed Ministers, Other Appointments” (cf. 1090:3; 1240:II:B). Any ordained or commissioned minister employed by the General Church in other than a ministerial capacity shall be placed on the appropriate list of ministers without appointment (cf. 1240:I:E; 1240:II:C).

6. Chaplains

3330. When an ordained minister has been approved by the Committee on Chaplains and commissioned by the government as a military chaplain, or employed as a full-time professional institutional chaplain, the district conference shall list the chaplain as if it had made the appointment. An ordained minister serving in this capacity shall be placed on the appointed list (cf. 1240:I:A:7) and shall be a voting member of the district conference (1083:1).

7. Ministers Engaged in Interchurch Service

3335. An ordained minister employed in a ministerial capacity as an officer in a church-related organization serving The Wesleyan Church, or approved upon careful evaluation of the district conference to serve with an educational institution, evangelistic or missionary organization not directly related to The Wesleyan Church, shall be appointed to interchurch service and shall be listed by the district as an appointed ordained minister (cf. 1240:I:A:6) and shall be a voting member of the district conference (1083:1). A commissioned or licensed minister so appointed shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference and shall be listed under “Other Appointments” (cf. 1240:II:B; 1240:III:B). Ministers serving in this category shall sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), available from the district superintendent, also signed by the district superintendent and the supervisor of the district/judicatory of the ministry with which the minister is serving. The MOU will clarify reporting and accountability responsibilities of this service as well as defining the length of service expected in this appointment. Service extending beyond five years of initial appointment in this capacity must be approved by the district board of administration.

8. Ministers Engaged in Special Service

3345. An ordained minister serving in active service not otherwise provided for shall be appointed to special service, if such service is approved by the district conference and shall be listed by the district as an appointed ordained minister (1240:I:A:7) and shall be a voting member of the district conference (1083:1). Ministers serving in this category shall sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), available from the district superintendent, also signed by the district superintendent and the supervisor of the district/judicatory of the ministry with which the minister is serving. The MOU will clarify reporting and accountability responsibilities of this service as well as defining the length of service expected in this appointment. Service extending beyond five years of initial appointment in this capacity must be approved by the district board of administration.

9. Affiliate Church Pastor

3346. An ordained Wesleyan minister appointed by the district conference to serve on staff of an affiliate church shall be listed by the district as a minister appointed to affiliate church pastor (cf. 7010; 1240:I:A:8) and shall be a voting member of the district conference (1083:1).

B. Other Assignments

1. Students

3350. The district conference may list ordained ministers and others pursuing ministerial studies in keeping with these regulations:

(1) Ordained Minister on Educational Leave. An ordained minister without other appointment who enrolls in a seminary or other graduate school for advanced training for church service shall be listed as an “ordained minister on educational leave” (1240:I:D). An ordained minister so appointed shall be a voting member of the district conference (1083:1).
(2) Ministerial Student. A student engaged in full-time study in preparation for ordination, either by enrolling in the four-year or five-year ministerial or pre-ministerial course of a Wesleyan educational institution, or in an approved theological seminary or other approved graduate-level program of theological education, or by pursuing full-time study in the Ministerial Study Course Agency either by correspondence or by work in a college along with correspondence, if the student meets all other qualifications (3015:1), may be granted a license and appointed by the district conference as a ministerial student (3015:1). The ministerial student shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference (1090:4).

2. Reserve Ministers

3360. An ordained minister on reserve is one available for appointment but left without one (1240:I:C). The ordained minister on reserve shall be a voting member of the district conference (317; 1083:1). An ordained minister remaining on reserve for two consecutive years without definite appointment shall be automatically transferred to the list of ordained ministers without appointment (3380) unless continued on reserve by the district conference (1180:26c).

3. Retired Ministers

3370. Ordained Ministers. An ordained minister who is retired because of age or incapacitated by infirmity, and who was on either the appointed list, on reserve or on educational leave at the time of retirement or incapacitation, shall be placed on the retired list (1240:I:B). A retired ordained minister shall be a voting member of the district conference (317; 1083:1). When special circumstances are present, the district conference may place an ordained minister without appointment on the retired list.

3371. Commissioned Ministers. A commissioned minister who is retired shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference (1083:3; 3059).

4. Ministers Without Appointment

3380. An ordained or commissioned minister in active service outside The Wesleyan Church with the consent of the district conference but who is not eligible for inclusion in 3345 or 3350:1, or an ordained or commissioned minister who is not available for appointment, or an ordained or commissioned minister who is not otherwise provided for in the appointed, reserve, educational leave or retired lists shall be placed on the appropriate list of ordained or commissioned ministers without appointment (1240:I:E; 1240:II:C). An ordained or commissioned minister without appointment shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference (1090:1, 3).

5. Ministers in Process of Transfer From Another Denomination

3390. Ordained Ministers. An ordained minister seeking to be received into The Wesleyan Church from another denomination shall be listed by the district conference for the first year and until all deficiencies in educational or service requirements are cared for as an ordained minister in process of transfer (cf. 1240:I:G; 3104; 3170:4). An ordained minister in process of transfer shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference (1090:2).

3391. Other Ministers. A commissioned or licensed minister or ordained deacon seeking to be received into The Wesleyan Church from another denomination shall be listed by the district conference for the first year and until all deficiencies in educational requirements are cared for as a commissioned or licensed minister in process of transfer (cf. 3104). A commissioned or licensed minister in process of transfer shall be a nonvoting member of the district conference (1090:3).