MSC Appointment Values and Practices
We encourage longer appointments, knowing that it takes time to build trust between pastor and congregation. Longer appointments allow for stability to do strategic planning and creative ministry development.
Appointments are based on
- A pastor’s willingness, passion, ability, and track record to engage a congregation in being faithful and fruitful to grow a vital congregation.
- A congregation’s willingness, passion, and track record to collaborate with pastoral leadership to grow a vital congregation.
- The gifts, missional needs, and personal needs of a community, congregation, pastor, and the conference. Personal needs of clergy will be considered as they are listed yearly on the appointment profile/advisory form.
Consultation will be sought by the district superintendent with pastors and congregations (staff parish relations committee) about present and future missional opportunities and challenges. This consultation will include yearly written evaluations of the pastor and congregation, clergy appointment profile/advisory form, and church profile. Churches may request an appointment change through the profile if the congregation has negotiated clear expectations with the pastor in consultation with the district superintendent and has determined through annual reviews that the fit between pastor and congregation is not encouraging vital and thriving ministries.
Pastors and congregations may ask for reconsideration of an introduced appointment based on missional reasons (pastor’s or congregation’s ability to spread scriptural holiness, make and engage disciples, grow a vital congregation). The following will not be taken into consideration: race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or educational achievement of a pastor or congregation as well as the location and size of a congregation.
The personal needs of pastors are important to the superintendent and bishop, and all personal issues are to be shared with the superintendent through the pastoral profile/advisory form by December 1 of each year. Discipleship and personal concerns will be reviewed by the cabinet in every appointment. The bishop, based on reflections and prayer by the pastor, the staff parish relations committee, and the superintendents, will make the final decision on a request for reconsideration based on missional reasons.
Some pastors, due to personal or family reasons, may find that they can only serve within a small region of the annual conference. If that is the case, they must sign a Limited Itinerancy Form (available from their District Office) detailing the area in which they are available to serve. By signing this form, they also relinquish the right to a full-time appointment. While all attempts will be made by the bishop and cabinet to honor the limited itineracy, it cannot be guaranteed.
All appointments begin on the date set by the bishop.
- The Bishop is responsible for aligning charges (forming circuits, cooperative ministries, and campus ministries).
- The cabinet will work to ensure pay and appointment equity for clergy of color and clergywomen.
- Churches and pastors where apportionments, pension or health benefits are not paid will be a strong reason to consider reassigning a pastor and reducing the appointment to part-time or aligning the congregation with another congregation.
- The appointment system is built on clear and direct communication and collegiality. It is important for churches and pastors to communicate clearly and directly their vision, hopes, needs, and concerns about an appointment. Pastors and congregations are to speak directly with their district superintendent about appointment issues.
- All pastors seeking retirement, extension ministry, appointment to attend school, or any other change in status are to write by December 31. Notification by December 31 assists with appointment preparation and making.
We believe that the Spirit of God moves through the appointment-making process. It is not invested in any person or persons but is the result of the interaction and relationships of the appointment-making process.
- Prayer is a primary means of discerning the leading of God in appointment making.
- Scriptural wisdom, images, and metaphors will be used to inform our understanding of appointments.
- Telling the truth in love with elected and appointed spiritual leaders and churches is important for meaningful appointments.
It is our desire to appoint the best possible spiritual leadership to each ministry setting. We lift up the following values for appointment making within a process of spiritual discernment
- We see each appointment as part of a whole pattern of serving the conference and fulfilling the mission of the Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
- We see each appointment as addressing the needs of the present and·as a preparation for the future.
- We will be open to new configurations of spiritual leadership and ministry.
- The mission and vision of the local church is the primary consideration for identifying the qualities and characteristics of leadership to be appointed. The context of the local church will inform the conversations regarding the leadership needed not only for the local church but also the circuit, parish, wider community, etc.
- Listening to the elected and appointed spiritual leaders, churches and communities is a primary means of gathering appointment information.
- We see each appointment as a covenant between the appointed spiritual leader(s) and the spiritual leader(s} of the local church represented by the local church Staff/Parish Relations Committee, and the Cabinet
- The appropriate level of leadership for a local congregation will be congruent with the congregation's ability to financially support minister, mission, and ministries.
- Local congregations will normally thrive on longer appointments when there is a good match.
- The appointment covenant year is July 1st to June 30th., but special circumstances are considered as they arise.
- We entrust the spiritual livelihood of the congregation to the appointed spiritual leader.
- The Appointive Cabinet works together as a team.
- The District Superintendents, in collaboration with the Director of Connectional Ministries and Director of Congregational Vitality, extend the office of the Bishop.
- Information shared with one member of the Appointive Cabinet related to pastoral effectiveness is shared with the whole cabinet.
- Honest sharing and truth-telling will mark cabinet conversations.
- We trust each District Superintendent to know the needs for ministry in his/her district.
- District Superintendents are committed to the overall health and vitality of the area, not just their own district.
Transformation In Each Ministry Setting
- We approach each appointment with the expectation of mutual transformation of the congregation, appointed spiritual leader, and all creation.
- We expect appointed spiritual leaders to be listening, learning leaders.
- We acknowledge that sometimes the clergy leader may need to take strong action to help a church move towards health and wholeness. We will not default to blaming every church conflict on "pilot error." We will support the pastor and the church in taking steps towards health and wholeness.
- We work with spiritual leaders to identify their growing edges and offer recommendations for growth and development.
Justice In Appointment-Making
- We will prepare congregations to welcome spiritual leaders regardless of gender identity, race, age, sexual orientation, ability, or marital/family status.
- Cross-racial appointments are an expression of being "One People of God".
- We make appointments based on pastoral qualities and not gender identity, race, age, sexual orientation, abilities, or marital/family status, knowing that all appointments are an expression of being one people of God.
- A normal progression for appointment consideration typically begins with Elders, Provisional Elders, Associate Members, Deacons, Provisional Deacons, Local Pastors full and part-time, Certified Lay ministers and Lay Supply preachers, but the bishop and cabinet are free to deal with the order of appointments as needed.
Excellence, Effectiveness, and Fruitfulness
The cabinet reviews the effectiveness of pastors and congregations as they serve together and how they seek excellence in their service to God. We anticipate that pastors will continually grow their gifts and improve their leadership and that congregations will grow as a community of faith and improve their mission and witness in the world. We will evaluate the potential fruitfulness of an appointment and the fruitfulness of existing appointments.
The cabinet encourages and expects congregations and pastors to take risks and that they will change together to better serve the world. We also recognize this will create conflict and expect pastors and congregations to exemplify Christ as they work together to resolve differences. A commitment to walk together through conflict can help deepen trust and focus missional priorities.