The general secretary is authorized to receive and hold for safekeeping the credentials of a member of the clergy in good standing who, because of inactivity in the ministry for a period of time, wishes to file them. At the time of filing the credential, the member of the clergy shall certify to the general secretary that the credential is not being filed for the purpose of avoiding discipline. The filing of the credential shall not prevent a member of the clergy from being subject to discipline as a member of the clergy. Members of the clergy who file their credentials with the general secretary may have them returned according to the provisions of 538.2.
When a member of the clergy in good standing ceases from an assigned ministry to pursue a calling or vocation other than being a member of the clergy in the Church of the Nazarene, he or she may resign the rights, privileges and responsibilities of being a member of the clergy and return the credential to the district assembly in which he or she holds standing, to be placed in the care of the general secretary. The record in the district minutes will show that he or she was “removed from the Roll of Ministers, having resigned his or her order.” A member of the clergy who thus resigns may have his or her credential returned according to the provisions of 538.3.
A member of the clergy who fails to fulfill the responsibilities of being a member of the clergy by remaining unassigned for four or more years will be considered to be no longer participating as a member of the clergy. In such instances, the person will be required to file his or her credential. The District Ministerial Credentials Board shall report to the district assembly “the credential of (the elder or deacon in question) has been filed by the District Ministerial Credentials Board.” This action should be considered nonprejudicial to character. The individual who files may have his or her credential reinstated according to the provisions of 538.2.
A member of the clergy may be removed from the Roll of Ministers if he or she receives a Letter of Commendation from his or her local church and does not use it in joining another Church of the Nazarene by the time of the next district assembly, or if he or she declares in writing that he or she has withdrawn from the Church of the Nazarene, or if he or she changes his or her residence from the address of record without providing the District Ministerial Credentials Board within one year with a new address of record, or if he or she joins another denomination either as a member or a minister, or if he or she fails to submit an annual report as required in 530.8 and 536.9; the District Ministerial Credentials Board may recommend and the district assembly may order that his or her name be removed from the membership roll of the local church and the Roll of Ministers of the Church of the Nazarene.
A member of the clergy not in good standing may resign his or her credential, upon recommendation of the District Advisory Board. (538)
A member of the clergy may be expelled from the ministry of the Church of the Nazarene either through surrender of his or her credential or through disciplinary action according to paragraphs 605–608.
When an elder or deacon has been expelled, the credential of the member of the clergy shall be sent to the general secretary to be catalogued and preserved subject to the order of the district assembly of the district where the elder or deacon held membership at the time he or she was expelled. (326.5)
Pastors, local church boards, and others who determine assignments within the church shall not engage a member of the clergy who is not in good standing in any position of trust or authority such as supply minister, song director, Sunday School/Bible study/small group teacher, or other until the credential is restored. Exceptions to this prohibition require the written approval of both the district superintendent where such credential was lost and the general superintendent in jurisdiction of that district. (538.5–538.6)
When an unretired elder or deacon ceases from active service as a member of the clergy and takes full-time secular employment, after a period of two years he or she may be required by the District Ministerial Credentials Board to resign from being a member of the clergy or file his or her credential and to return his or her credential to the general secretary. This two-year period shall begin at the district assembly immediately following the cessation of activity as a member of the clergy. The District Ministerial Credentials Board shall report its action to the district assembly. This action should be considered nonprejudicial to character.
Separation/Divorce. Within 48 hours of the filing of a request for divorce or legal termination/separation of a marriage of a minister or within 48 hours of the physical separation of the minister and his or her spouse for the purpose of discontinuing the physical cohabitation, the minister shall (a) contact the district superintendent, notifying the superintendent of the action taken; (b) agree to meet with the district superintendent and a member of the District Advisory Board at a mutually agreeable time and place, or if no mutually agreeable time and place can be arranged, at a time and place designated by the district superintendent; and, (c) explain (at the meeting designated in item “b”) the circumstances of the action taken, explain the marital conflict, and explain the biblical basis for justification as to why the member of the clergy should be permitted to continue to serve as a member of the clergy in good standing. If a member of the clergy fails to comply with the subsections above, such noncompliance shall be cause for discipline. All ministers whether active, inactive, or retired, assigned or unassigned, are subject to these provisions, and must show due regard for the united advice of the district superintendent and the District Advisory Board. No active or assigned minister may continue in any member of the clergy role without the affirmative vote of the District Advisory Board.