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Thread: Pastor Calling

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    Pastor Calling

    Can a church call a pastor without the D.S. permission?
    Thanks
    Larry

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    Senior Member Bill Morrison's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Sure, they can do it...but when caught they will probably get their rears kicked.
    (I am aware of a case where an associate pastor was hired by a COTN without going through the D.S. or advisory board. When discovered, that associate was told by the D.S. that he must leave (even though the D.S. respected this associate and offered to help him get another position.)

    BILL

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Morrison View Post
    Sure, they can do it...but when caught they will probably get their rears kicked.
    (I am aware of a case where an associate pastor was hired by a COTN without going through the D.S. or advisory board. When discovered, that associate was told by the D.S. that he must leave (even though the D.S. respected this associate and offered to help him get another position.)

    BILL
    My thought here is that associates can only be called with the approval of the district. Part of this probably has to do with the practical aspects of making sure that a congregation is current on all of its budget obligations before hiring staff.

    I don't know that it's a RULE that a congregation MUST go through the DS, but in practicality, but my understanding is that the congregation is supposed to issue a call with the advice of the DS. Technically, I suppose that this can be interpreted as a congregation saying, "We asked the DS for his/her advice, but we didn't like what he/she said, so we went out and called someone else." On the other hand I believe that this would make things bad in a practical way with the congregation and the DS. After all, we're supposed to be on the same team.

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    Senior Member Michael Flowers's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Vecchi View Post
    My thought here is that associates can only be called with the approval of the district. Part of this probably has to do with the practical aspects of making sure that a congregation is current on all of its budget obligations before hiring staff.

    I don't know that it's a RULE that a congregation MUST go through the DS, but in practicality, but my understanding is that the congregation is supposed to issue a call with the advice of the DS. Technically, I suppose that this can be interpreted as a congregation saying, "We asked the DS for his/her advice, but we didn't like what he/she said, so we went out and called someone else." On the other hand I believe that this would make things bad in a practical way with the congregation and the DS. After all, we're supposed to be on the same team.
    The Manual definitely calls for the DS's involvement in the process.

  5. #5
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Pastor Calling

    115.
    An elder or licensed minister (412) may be called to
    pastor a church by two-thirds favorable vote by ballot of the
    church members of voting age present and voting at a duly
    called annual or special meeting of the church, provided
    that such elder or licensed minister shall have been nominated
    to the church by the church board, which, after having
    consulted with the district superintendent, made such nomination
    by two-thirds vote by ballot of all its members; and
    provided the nomination shall have been approved by the
    district superintendent. Any elder or licensed minister with
    membership in a local church may not be considered for pastor
    of that church without the approval of the district superintendent
    and the District Advisory Board. This call shall be
    subject to review and continuance as hereinafter provided.

    (119, 122-24, 129.2, 160.8, 208.10, 222.12)
    Thanks Bill Morrison, Michael Flowers - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    OK, I stand corrected--the DS must APPROVE, not just consult. I was going by memory without having consulted the Manual. Honestly, I don't think I've ever heard of a congregation with which I was familiar trying to circumvent working with the DS in the calling of a pastor (although I'm sure it's happened at times).

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

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    Senior Member Mike Schutz's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    The calling of pastors is one of the few ways in which a DS can have an influence on the local church.
    Our attempts to balance a congregational and episcopal governance model lead us at times to talk out of both sides - we want a DS to move the district in healthy ways, but tend to dislike one of the few ways they can bring change.

    On the subject of staff, does anyone know of a situation where a DS has halted the hiring of staff for anything other than economic issues? Usually, once a local church shows it can support staff, it is unusual for a DS or DAB to be involved in such decisions. (I suppose there could be a scenario where a DS would not allow a particular candidate for theological reasons, but I've never heard of it.)
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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Even a lowly volunteer associate such as myself has to be approved each year by the DS.

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    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Parsons View Post
    Can a church call a pastor without the D.S. permission?
    Thanks
    Larry
    I'm curious, Larry.... What led you to ask this question?
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    Naznet Owner Dave McClung's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schutz View Post
    The calling of pastors is one of the few ways in which a DS can have an influence on the local church.
    Our attempts to balance a congregational and episcopal governance model lead us at times to talk out of both sides - we want a DS to move the district in healthy ways, but tend to dislike one of the few ways they can bring change.

    On the subject of staff, does anyone know of a situation where a DS has halted the hiring of staff for anything other than economic issues? Usually, once a local church shows it can support staff, it is unusual for a DS or DAB to be involved in such decisions. (I suppose there could be a scenario where a DS would not allow a particular candidate for theological reasons, but I've never heard of it.)
    Some district superintendents advise against the adding of staff when churches just are not large enough to warrant additional staff. Often churches designate people as "staff" just so they will come under the retirement benefits of the denomination. There are some churches that are less than 50 in attendance that have three or four staff pastors. That is why the Board of Pensions and Benefits changed the retirement plan contributions to "per church" rather than "per individual."

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    Senior Member Gary Creely's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Parsons View Post
    Can a church call a pastor without the D.S. permission?
    Thanks
    Larry
    My question would be why would they want to? I have seen churches contact candidates other than the DS resumes, and ultimately call that person: but the DS was involved (much to his displeasure). Ultimately the church board has a good bit of control over the selection process.

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave McClung View Post
    Some district superintendents advise against the adding of staff when churches just are not large enough to warrant additional staff. Often churches designate people as "staff" just so they will come under the retirement benefits of the denomination. There are some churches that are less than 50 in attendance that have three or four staff pastors. That is why the Board of Pensions and Benefits changed the retirement plan contributions to "per church" rather than "per individual."
    I think you are forgetting that people must have staff experience before getting ordained. Thus, I have a woman in my congregation which I have hired on as an unpaid staff, even though my church is small and doesn't need "staff" so that she can be getting years of experience. This, by the way is to be greatly preferred to her getting her own church at this point, even though she is district licensed.

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    Host Book, Movie & CE forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    I think you are forgetting that people must have staff experience before getting ordained. Thus, I have a woman in my congregation which I have hired on as an unpaid staff, even though my church is small and doesn't need "staff" so that she can be getting years of experience. This, by the way is to be greatly preferred to her getting her own church at this point, even though she is district licensed.
    Yes, but presumably she has responsibility there. I think sometimes people are listed as staff simply because they're ordained ministers with no assignment and don't really function pastorally within the congregation.
    ...just my $.02.

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Scott View Post
    Yes, but presumably she has responsibility there. I think sometimes people are listed as staff simply because they're ordained ministers with no assignment and don't really function pastorally within the congregation.
    Some ordained ministers ask to be listed as a staff member so they are not listed as an unassigned minister although they may be doing minimal ministry for the church- perhaps just leading a small group. Four years of being unassigned and the Board of Ministry is supposed to file the credential.

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud Pugh View Post
    Some ordained ministers ask to be listed as a staff member so they are not listed as an unassigned minister although they may be doing minimal ministry for the church- perhaps just leading a small group. Four years of being unassigned and the Board of Ministry is supposed to file the credential.
    I wrestle with this alot. What does it mean to be ordained? Can I just decide I don't want to be in ministry anymore? Can I just file my credential and just go back to life before ordination?

    I was talking with a man in the hospital. He was soon to die and was mourning that he had broken both of the covenants he had made in his life. Marriage and Ordination. He had been divorced from his wife and he walked away from the ministry. Looking back he regretted both, in part because he understood the covenantal nature of both. So when we are ordained, we are in a way married to the church. Can we just walk away from that? Can we just file our marriage certificate?
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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Eric.
    I very much challenge this notion. A covenant requires commitments both ways. In ordination we pledge faithfulness to the church, but I don't see what promises the denomination makes to us. They can not promise us employment, health insurance, housing...anything. We can only take that commitment assignment by assignment and be as faithful as WE can be in each transition. In a very trying system where a HUGE portion are bi-vocations (at best) it is not natural to assume that vocational goals are not going to be challenged.

    I don't think it's fair to place all the onus of covenant on the mere ordinand without some promises from the church.
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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Melissa DeBono View Post
    Eric.
    I very much challenge this notion. A covenant requires commitments both ways. In ordination we pledge faithfulness to the church, but I don't see what promises the denomination makes to us. They can not promise us employment, health insurance, housing...anything. We can only take that commitment assignment by assignment and be as faithful as WE can be in each transition. In a very trying system where a HUGE portion are bi-vocations (at best) it is not natural to assume that vocational goals are not going to be challenged.

    I don't think it's fair to place all the onus of covenant on the mere ordinand without some promises from the church.
    I would agree with you 100%. I was only addressing the one side of the equation. I think the other side is equally problematic. When the church ordains the clergy, they are covenanting with clergy every bit as much as the clergy are covenanting with them. And there are models available. For instance, in the UMC (I don't know the up-to-the-minute status as they are in General Conference and this is a "hot topic" at the moment), when a person is ordained an Elder, they receive a guaranteed appointment on the conference that ordains them. For the elder's part she has very little say in where she will serve. For the church's part it promises to employ and provide for the elder. Now their system is not perfect, but it is an example of how a covenantal view of ordination can work.

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    There is likely a huge difference in traditions that consider ordination a sacrament. I think our theology of ministry permissions us to undermine what could be the covenant implications of ministry.

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Melissa DeBono View Post
    There is likely a huge difference in traditions that consider ordination a sacrament. I think our theology of ministry permissions us to undermine what could be the covenant implications of ministry.
    UMC would not view ordination any more a sacrament than we do, I don't think.
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    Re: Pastor Calling

    no...not referring to them...just speculating.

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    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    For instance, in the UMC (I don't know the up-to-the-minute status as they are in General Conference and this is a "hot topic" at the moment), when a person is ordained an Elder, they receive a guaranteed appointment on the conference that ordains them. For the elder's part she has very little say in where she will serve. For the church's part it promises to employ and provide for the elder. Now their system is not perfect...
    ... which is why I think it will probably be changed by this General Conference. Just my guess, based on talking to a local United Methodist lay minister (I might not have that title right) and reading a bit online. It sounds like the "guaranteed appointment" system has been hugely problematic.

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    ... which is why I think it will probably be changed by this General Conference. Just my guess, based on talking to a local United Methodist lay minister (I might not have that title right) and reading a bit online. It sounds like the "guaranteed appointment" system has been hugely problematic.
    My reading of the situation is that it is not the guarantee that is problematic, but the high salaries. When the salaries become unaffordable they have to find a way around them. We all know these decisions are more financial than theological...

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    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    My reading of the situation is that it is not the guarantee that is problematic, but the high salaries. When the salaries become unaffordable they have to find a way around them. We all know these decisions are more financial than theological...
    Finances are part of it. Mediocrity is another word I've seen used. Mediocre pastors get shuffled around from one guaranteed appointment to the next. They need a way to quit saddling churches with mediocre, expensive pastors.

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Rich, about month ago we lost our pastor and our church run anywhere between 24 t0 30 on Sunday Morning. I have good friend that was pastoring one our largest church on the disrict he resign from that church because of some problem. He started attending our church about month and half before our pastor left. One day I ask the leaders of church if the would like him preach until we get a pastor and they said yes. So he has been supply. Then three week ago I ask my friend if he would come to our church to pastor. He told the church that I left want me to come back and I told him that was cazy and he agree and the DS want him there again but he does want to go back. He told my wife that he no disire to go back and he believe he a message for church. We get the feeling both him and his wife would like to pastor our church. So night I ask do we need a DS to vote on a pastor and no one knew. My friend has been a very successful pastor and I feel he would be a blessing here and he would have any problems. That It!
    Thanks
    Larry
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    Host Book, Movie & CE forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Parsons View Post
    Rich, about month ago we lost our pastor and our church run anywhere between 24 t0 30 on Sunday Morning. I have good friend that was pastoring one our largest church on the disrict he resign from that church because of some problem. He started attending our church about month and half before our pastor left. One day I ask the leaders of church if the would like him preach until we get a pastor and they said yes. So he has been supply. Then three week ago I ask my friend if he would come to our church to pastor. He told the church that I left want me to come back and I told him that was cazy and he agree and the DS want him there again but he does want to go back. He told my wife that he no disire to go back and he believe he a message for church. We get the feeling both him and his wife would like to pastor our church. So night I ask do we need a DS to vote on a pastor and no one knew. My friend has been a very successful pastor and I feel he would be a blessing here and he would have any problems. That It!
    Thanks
    Larry

    In a congregation of that size, likely the DS can appoint a pastor. In this particular context, the Manual tries to guard against unassigned ministers in the congregation becoming the pastor - they want to avoid a context in which someone works behind the scenes to remove the pastor so they can have the job. It doesn't at all sound like that situation here, so likely the DS would be receptive to the board if they asked for approval to vote on this pastor.
    ...just my $.02.
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  27. #27
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Scott View Post
    In a congregation of that size, likely the DS can appoint a pastor. In this particular context, the Manual tries to guard against unassigned ministers in the congregation becoming the pastor - they want to avoid a context in which someone works behind the scenes to remove the pastor so they can have the job. It doesn't at all sound like that situation here, so likely the DS would be receptive to the board if they asked for approval to vote on this pastor.
    Even though our manual does not use this specific word. The DS can "ratify" a boards decision if they don't do things in the right order. When you "ratify" an action, you asked the question "Is it likely that I would have approved this decision if the process had been done in the right order." If the DS can answer yes to that question, then they should approve the boards the decision. If not, then a discussion needs to take place.
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  28. #28
    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    Even though our manual does not use this specific word. The DS can "ratify" a boards decision if they don't do things in the right order. When you "ratify" an action, you asked the question "Is it likely that I would have approved this decision if the process had been done in the right order." If the DS can answer yes to that question, then they should approve the boards the decision. If not, then a discussion needs to take place.
    Which specific word?

    Approve? That's in the quote you provided earlier.

    Appoint? That's in paragraph 117:

    117. The pastor of a church that has been organized for less than five years, or had less than 35 members voting in the previous annual church meeting, or is receiving regular financial assistance from the district, may be appointed or reappointed by the district superintendent, with the consent of the District Advisory Board. (208.17)
    Or maybe you meant the word you were about to use: ratify. Sure enough, that word doesn't appear in the Manual. I suppose we'd say, in that case, that the DS was approving the nomination after the vote had already taken place.
    Last edited by Rich Schmidt; April 27th, 2012 at 04:14 PM. Reason: oops! "taken place" not "taking place"

  29. #29
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    Or maybe you meant the word you were about to use: ratify. Sure enough, that word doesn't appear in the Manual. I suppose we'd say, in that case, that the DS was approving the nomination after the vote had already taking place.
    Yes, the word was ratify and I gave you the working definition of that term. It means to approve after the fact. We use the term in contracting. Its is a process we use to get a person out of hot water who has acted with good faith and legally except for the process. We ask would this had been approved if the person had used the proper process. Usually the answer to that question is yes. I have found that very few people go around intentionally trying to break laws. It seems like a lot because that is what gets reported, but its really just a few.

  30. #30
    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    Yes, the word was ratify and I gave you the working definition of that term. It means to approve after the fact. We use the term in contracting. Its is a process we use to get a person out of hot water who has acted with good faith and legally except for the process. We ask would this had been approved if the person had used the proper process. Usually the answer to that question is yes. I have found that very few people go around intentionally trying to break laws. It seems like a lot because that is what gets reported, but its really just a few.
    Thanks. I'm familiar with the word. My confusion arose because I thought your first sentence was referring to some word that Ryan used. Even now, I'm having a difficult time seeing the connection between what you said and what you quoted him saying. Are you agreeing with him? Disagreeing? Providing an alternative?

  31. #31
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Pastor Calling

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    Thanks. I'm familiar with the word. My confusion arose because I thought your first sentence was referring to some word that Ryan used. Even now, I'm having a difficult time seeing the connection between what you said and what you quoted him saying. Are you agreeing with him? Disagreeing? Providing an alternative?
    An alternative. In this case, it looked to me as if the group and the congregant elder have had some conversations. In those conversations, sometimes a contract can be implied by the nature of the discussion and the participants of the discussion. And thus why I offered the option of ratification if the discussions have proceeded as such.
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