Chapter 6: District Ministerial Supervision

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A. District Board of Ministerial Development

1375. Function. There shall be a district board of ministerial development which shall be responsible for the examination and recommendation to the district conference of all candidates for ordination, license, commission, ministerial study, restoration or transfer from another denomination.

1378. Membership. The board shall consist of the district superintendent, the assistant district superintendent (1320), if any, and, in addition, the district board of administration shall elect as many additional members as deemed sufficient. At least two members shall be from among the laity, and the ministerial members shall be ordained. The term of office for the elected members shall be for three years, with the election so arranged that approximately one-third shall be elected each year. General regulations for the members of this board are defined in 1275-1292.

1381. Organization. The district superintendent shall be the chair unless electing to appoint another to serve instead, with such appointment subject to ratification by the district board of administration. The board shall annually elect a vice-chair and a secretary. The board may divide into smaller groups and apportion the work among them as deemed necessary, provided that all recommendations of the board to the district conference shall be adopted by the full board.

1384. Sessions. The board shall be convened by the chair in sufficient time before the opening of the district conference to enable the board to complete its work in a careful and thorough manner, and shall meet at other times as deemed necessary upon the call of the chair.

1387. Records. The secretary of the district board of ministerial development shall keep suitable and permanent records which shall be the property of the district and shall be preserved as directed by the district superintendent and the district board of administration. The secretary of the board shall keep:

(1) A correct and complete journal of the proceedings of the board meetings, an official copy of which shall be submitted to the district secretary for permanent filing (1332:7).
(2) A record of the ministerial studies and training of each licentiate and ministerial student, including the work done in a university, college, theological school or by correspondence with the Ministerial Study Course Agency. A record of all credits earned shall be recorded at least once each year in cooperation with the Ministerial Study Course Agency as set forth in 2388:1, and shall be available to the board in considering its recommendations to the district conference.
(3) A personnel record of each ordained, licensed or commissioned member of the district, on forms as authorized by the General Board, including: important personal and family information; educational qualifications; ministerial service including pastoral and other district appointments, offices held, and credentials issued by the district. Whenever a letter of transfer is granted, a transcript of the personnel record shall be provided, if requested, but the record shall remain in the permanent files of the district.

1390. Duties. The duties of the district board of ministerial development shall be:

Related to Ordination, Commissions, Licenses and Ministerial Students

(1) To examine carefully (cf. 1935:34) each candidate for election by the district conference to ordination or election to a commissioned minister’s status, the granting of a district ministerial license, a license as a ministerial student, a commission or license as special worker, a commission as a lay missionary, and any other commission or license as may be authorized by The Discipline. The examination shall include an interview with each candidate, making such investigation as is deemed necessary to affirm the individual’s:
(a) Personal experience of salvation and entire sanctification;
(b) Full commitment to the Articles of Religion, Membership Commitments, Elementary Principles, and polity of The Wesleyan Church and acceptance of its authority;
(c) Evidence of having the qualifications for the ministry to which the candidate feels called as set forth in The Discipline. The examination shall result in recommendations to the district conference for those whom the district board of ministerial development judges to be qualified for said ministry (cf. 1381; 1390:5).
(2) To consider each person recommended by a local church conference (655:8) or circuit conference (528:2) or local board of administration (655:8) for the granting of a license as a ministerial student (1240:IV; 3015:1) and to recommend to the district conference for such license those who are deemed worthy (1180:29b, c; cf. 3350:2); to encourage all such ministerial students to enroll for ministerial training in an approved school of The Wesleyan Church (2365; 2382); to supervise and counsel them, keeping a record of their ministerial studies (1387:2) and cooperating with the director of the Ministerial Study Course Agency in supervising those enrolled in courses under the Agency (2388; cf. 3170-3210).
(3) To consider and examine any person who desires to be received into the district from another denomination, and to be recognized as an ordained, commissioned or licensed minister or commissioned special worker and to recommend to the district conference for reception as in process of transfer, and subsequently for recognition as in full standing, only such a person as it deems properly qualified according to The Discipline (cf. 3104; 3470); and, in the interim of district conference sessions, to make such recommendation to the district board of administration (1233:37).
(4) To consider and examine any person applying for reinstatement or restoration of ordination, commission or license and to recommend to the district conference only such a person as it deems properly qualified according to The Discipline (cf. 3120-3124; 5230-5248).
(5) To present to the district conference, as a separate report, a recommendation for the election of a candidate to ordination as an ordained minister (1180:28; cf. 3070:5) or commission as a minister (3059) or the reinstatement or restoration of ministerial credentials (3120-3124; 5230-5248), and to present to the district conference a combined report of all other recommendations concerning the commissioning, licensing, and recognition of ministers and special workers, and the licensing of ministerial students (1180:29; 3015:1).
(6) To serve, with the exception of the lay members, and when so designated by the district conference (1180:34; cf. 1233:38), as a council of ordination (1405); and to perform such other duties as may be assigned by the district conference.

Related to the Annual Service Reports

(7) To receive, on behalf of the district conference, an annual service report (1402) from each ordained, commissioned or licensed minister, ministerial student, and commissioned or licensed special worker; to review such reports and pass on each one as follows (cf. 1180:30):
(a) A report which shows that the work has been done according to The Discipline and that the annual statistical report (1352:1) has been properly submitted shall be marked as approved and returned to the person submitting it (cf. 1390:9).
(b) A report in which there are unsatisfactory answers, or which shows that the work has not been done according to The Discipline, or that the annual statistical report (1352:1) has not been properly submitted, shall be reviewed with the person submitting the report. If reasons for such irregularities are not satisfactory to the district board of ministerial development, the report shall be marked as unsatisfactory and returned to the person submitting it (cf. 1390:9).
(8) To investigate the reason for the failure to submit an annual service report on the part of those persons required to do so (1402; 3015:4), and to take appropriate action as set forth in 3040:1; 3059:4c; 3089:3; 3460; and 3470.
(9) To present a report (cf. 1381) to the district conference concerning the results of the examination of the annual service reports, listing all members of the district responsible to submit such reports as to whether their reports were approved, unsatisfactory or not received. The district board of ministerial development shall report to the district conference concerning a person whose annual service report has been found unsatisfactory (1390:7b) and it shall require a two-thirds vote of confidence by the district conference to approve such a person for continued appointment.

Related to Appointments and District Conference Relations

(10) To submit reports to the district board of administration concerning the following matters related to district conference appointments and relations: The results of the examination of the annual service reports (1390:8-9); the availability for appointment, and any desired changes in appointment or district conference relations, as recorded on the annual service reports; those persons qualified for a district ministerial license, the granting of which shall become effective upon their appointment (1180:26c, 29b; 1233:10; cf. 3033:7; 3040:3); those other persons qualified for a license, commission, reception from another district or denomination or restoration (1180:26, 29; 1233:10).

Related to Ministerial Development

(11) To cooperate with the district superintendent (1310:27) and the district board of administration (1233:29) in providing opportunities for the personal and professional growth of ministers within the district. The activities of the district boards of ministerial development may include individual or group interviews, assessments, growth contracts, seminars or other means of assisting ministers to achieve their full potential for ministry.

B. Annual Service Reports

1402. Annual Service Reports. The district conference shall receive an annual service report from each ordained minister, commissioned minister, licensed minister, ministerial student, and commissioned or licensed special worker on forms authorized by the General Superintendent and made available by the Executive Director of Communication and Administration. Pastors or senior pastors shall submit the “Pastor’s Annual Service Report.” Associate and assistant pastors shall submit the “Associate/Assistant Pastor’s Annual Service Report.” Other ordained ministers and commissioned or licensed ministers shall submit the “Minister’s Annual Service Report.” Special workers shall submit the “Lay Worker’s Annual Service Report.” Ministerial students shall submit the “Ministerial Student’s Annual Service Report.” All such reports shall be submitted to the district board of ministerial development, serving on behalf of the district conference, as directed by the district board of administration or the district superintendent (1390:7-9).

C. Council of Ordination

1405. Each district shall provide for a Council of Ordination to assist the General Superintendent (1935:34; 5752), or, in the absence of the General Superintendent the representative appointed by the General Superintendent (3091), or in the absence of the appointed representative, the district superintendent (1310:26), in carrying out the will of the district conference for the ordination of ministers (3070:6; 5750-5792) and the commissioning of ministers (5805), special workers (5850), and lay missionaries (5850). The Council of Ordination may consist of the desired number of ordained ministers appointed by the district board of administration (1233:38), or the district conference may designate the ordained ministers of the district board of ministerial development as the Council of Ordination (1180:34; 1390:6). The Council of Ordination will be responsible to plan the ordination and/or commissioning services.