An ordained elder or licensed minister (elder track) 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 ordained elder or licensed minister (elder track) 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
- The nomination shall have been approved by the district superintendent.
Any ordained elder or licensed minister (elder track) 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, 122–124, 129.2, 160.8, 208.10, 222.14, 513, 530, 531.4, 532.3)
Acceptance of a call to pastoral relations shall be given by the minister not later than 15 days from the date of the church meeting voting the call.
The church board and the pastor should clearly communicate their goals and expectations to each other in writing. (122, 129.3–129.4)
As soon as practical after a pastor begins serving, the pastor and the congregation may participate in an installation or bonding service. The objective of the service should be to celebrate unity and direction concerning the will of God. Where practical, the district superintendent shall preside.
Upon issuing a call, the local church will specify the proposed remuneration. The amount of this remuneration shall be determined by the church board. When agreement has been entered into between the church or the church board and the pastor, the payment of the pastor’s salary in full shall be considered a moral obligation by the church. If, however, the church becomes unable to continue the payment of the salary agreed upon, such inability and failure shall not be considered a sufficient cause for civil action against the church by the pastor; and in no case shall the church or District Advisory Board be legally responsible in excess of funds raised during the term of the pastor’s actual service, and not otherwise designated. If civil action is taken against the church or District Advisory Board by a current or former pastor, a district may take steps to obtain the minister’s credential and subsequently drop the minister’s name from the ministerial roll.
The local church should also make provision for the pastor’s traveling and moving expenses. (33–33.3, 129.8–129.9)
The remuneration of the pastor shall commence on the Monday preceding the first official Sunday of service to the local church.
Local churches should consider providing a maternity or paternity leave for the pastor and associates. District superintendents should encourage local churches to adopt maternity/paternity leave policies.
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)
When a church exceeds 35 voting members or has been organized for at least five years, and its pastor has served as its appointed pastor for at least two years, a process to be moved from “appointed status” may be initiated. Such process must include a church/pastoral review, majority vote of church board members present, approval of the district superintendent, and approval of the District Advisory Board. The anniversary date for future four-year regular church/ pastoral reviews shall be the date of final approval.
In case of disagreement between the church board and the district superintendent regarding pastoral arrangements, the church board or the district superintendent may submit the matter to the general superintendent having jurisdiction for his or her decision. From such decision either the church board or the district superintendent may appeal to the Board of General Superintendents. All such appeals, rebuttals of appeals, or arguments pertaining thereto, whether to the general superintendent in jurisdiction or the Board of General Superintendents, shall be in writing. A copy of the appeal, rebuttals of appeals, or arguments pertaining thereto by either the church board or the district superintendent shall be sent to the other party involved. The minute record of a church board appeal shall include the appeal resolution, arguments sustaining it, and the record of the vote taken. If a minister under consideration withdraws his or her name, or if a pastoral candidate is found to be unavailable for consideration, the appeal process should terminate immediately, and the district superintendent and church board shall continue with pastoral arrangements.