There may be those who feel called to prepare themselves for certain vital lay services in the church, either part-time or full-time. The church recognizes the place of such lay workers, and yet it is basically constituted a voluntary institution, with service to God and others the duty and privilege of all its members according to their abilities. When paid associates in the local church, or any subsidiary and/or affiliated corporations of the local congregation, whether ministerial or lay, become necessary for greater efficiency, it must be such as will not devitalize the spirit of free service by all its members or tax the church’s financial resources including the payment of all financial apportionments. However, a request may be made in writing for review by the district superintendent and District Advisory Board for exceptions in special cases. (129.27)
All local paid or unpaid associates who provide specialized ministry within the context of the local church and enter into a relationship of vocational ministry within the church, including directors of childcare/schools (birth through secondary), shall be elected by the church board, having been nominated by the pastor. All nominations must have prior approval in writing by the district superintendent, who shall respond within 15 days after receipt of the request. (160.4, 208.13)
The employment of such associates shall be for no more than one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of the pastor with the prior written approval of the district superintendent and the favorable vote of the church board. The pastor shall be responsible to conduct an annual review of each staff member. The pastor, in consultation with the church board, may make recommendations for staff development or modifications in job description as indicated by the review. The dismissal of all local associates prior to the end of the employment term (end of fiscal church year) must be by recommendation of the pastor, approval of the district superintendent, and the majority vote of the church board. Notification of dismissal or non-renewal must be given in writing not less than 30 days prior to the termination of employment. (129.27)
The duties and services of such associates are to be determined and supervised by the pastor. A clear, written statement of responsibilities (job description) shall be made available to such associates within 30 days of the beginning of their responsibility to the local church.
No paid employee of the church shall be eligible for election to the church board. If a church board member should become a paid employee of the church, he or she shall not remain a member of the church board.
In times of pastoral transition, the stability, unity, and ongoing ministry of the local church is crucial. Consequently, the district superintendent (or a representative appointed by the district superintendent) will work closely with the local church board to implement the following steps which (a) may allow the local church to retain some or all staff for at least a period of time during the transition; (b) will still allow the new pastor freedom to develop his/her own team of associates, if desired; and (c) will allow a board and district superintendent discretion to provide transitioning staff a reasonable amount of time to make necessary personal and professional adjustments. First, upon resignation or termination of the pastor, any associates shall also submit their resignations effective concurrently with the pastor. Second, a local church board may request that the district superintendent approve the continued service of any or all associates. This approval, if granted, could continue until 90 days after the new pastor’s assumption of duties or until the incoming pastor nominates his or her paid associates for the coming year in harmony with paragraph 160. Directors of childcare/ schools (birth through secondary) shall submit their resignations effective at the end of the school year in which the new pastor assumes the duties of the office. The chief executive officer of any subsidiary and/or affiliated corporation shall submit his or her resignation at the end of that contractual period in which the new pastor assumes the duties of the office. The incoming pastor may have the privilege of recommending the employment of staff members previously employed.
The pastor of a congregation having approval to function as a local church according to 100.2 shall not be considered a staff member.