RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES OF A UNITED METHODIST PASTOR

For study and guidance of our United Methodist Pastor in their pastoral ministry.

“The responsibilities of elders are derived from the authority given in ordination. Elders have fourfold ministry of Word, Sacraments, Order, and Service and thus serve in the local church and in extension ministries in witness and service of Christ’s love and justice. Elders are authorized to preach and teach the Word, to provide pastoral care and counsel, to administer the sacraments, and to order the life of the church for service in mission and ministry as pastors, superintendents, and bishops.
Local pastors share with the elders the responsibilities and duties of a pastor for this fourfold ministry, within the context of their appointment.
a). Word and ecclesial acts:
(1) To preach the word of God, lead in worship, read and teach the Scriptures, and engage the people in study and witness.
(a) To ensure transmission of the Christian faith.
(b) To lead people in discipleship and evangelistic outreach that others might come to know Christ and to follow him.
(2) To counsel persons with personal, ethical, or spiritual struggles.
(3) To perform the ecclesial acts of marriage and burial.
(a) To perform the marriage ceremony after due counsel with the parties involved and in accordance with the laws of the state and the rules of The United Methodist Church. The decision to perform the ceremony shall be the right and responsibility of the pastor.
(b) To conduct funeral and memorial services and provide care and grief counseling.
(4) To visit in the homes of the church and community, especially among the sick, aged, imprisoned, and others in need.
(5) To maintain all confidences inviolate, including confessional confidences except in the cases of suspected child abuse or neglect, or in cases where mandatory reporting is required by civil law.
b). Sacrament.
(1) To administer the sacraments of baptism and the Supper of the Lord according to Christ’s ordinances.
(a) To prepare the parents and sponsors before baptizing infants or children, and instruct them concerning the significance of baptism and their responsibilities for the Christian training of the baptized child.
(b) To encourage reaffirmation of the baptismal covenant and renewal of baptismal vows at different stages of life.
(c) To encourage people baptized in infancy or early childhood to make their profession of faith, after instruction, so that they might become professing members of the church.
(d) To explain the meaning of the Lord’s Supper and to encourage regular participation as a means of grace to grow in faith and holiness.
(e) To select and train deacons and lay members to serve the consecrated communion elements.
(2) To encourage private and congregational use of the other means of grace.
c) Order.
(1) To be the administrative officer of the local church and to assure that the organizational concerns of the congregation are adequately provided for.
(a) To give pastoral support, guidance, and training to the lay leadership, equipping them to fulfill the ministry to which they are called.
(b) To give oversight to the educational program of the church and encourage the use of United Methodist literature and media.
(c) To be responsible for organizational faithfulness, goal setting, planning and evaluation.
(d) To search out and counsel men and women for the ministry of deacons, elders, local pastors and other church related ministries.
(2) To administer the temporal affairs of the church in their appointment, the annual conference, and the general church.
(a) To administer the provisions of the Discipline.
(b) To give account of their pastoral ministries to the charge and annual conference according to the prescribed forms.
(c) To provide leadership for the funding ministry of the congregation.
(d) To model and promote faithful financial stewardship and to encourage giving as a spiritual discipline by teaching the biblical principles of giving.
(e) To lead the congregation in the fulfillment of its mission through full and faithful payment of all apportioned ministerial support6, administrative, and benevolent fund.
(f) To care for all church records and local church financial obligations, and certify the accuracy of all financial, membership and many other reports submitted by the local church to the annual conference for use in apportioning costs back to the church.
(3) To participate in denominational and conference programs and trainings opportunities.
(a) To seek out opportunities for cooperative ministries with other United Methodist pastors and churches.
(b) To be willing to assume supervisory responsibilities within the connection.
(4) To lead the congregation in racial and ethnic inclusiveness.
d) Service:
(1) To embody the teachings of Jesus in servant ministries and servant leadership.
(2) To give diligent pastoral leadership on ordering the life of congregation for discipleship in the world.
(3) To build the body of Christ as a caring and giving community, extending the ministry of Christ to the world.
(4) To participate in community, ecumenical and inter-religious concerns and encourage the people to become so involved and to pray and labor for the unity of the Christian Community.

Unauthorized Conduct**
1. Pastors shall first obtain the written consent of the district superintendent before engaging for an evangelist any person who is not a general evangelist (¶¶630.3f, 1113.7), a clergy member of an annual conference, local pastor, or a certified lay speaker in good standing in The United Methodist Church.
2. No pastor shall discontinue services in a local church between sessions of the annual conference without the consent of the charge conference and the district superintendent.
3. No pastor shall arbitrarily organize a pastoral charge. (See ¶ 259 for the method of organizing local church.)

4. No pastor shall hold a religious service within the bounds of a pastoral charge other than the one to which appointed without the consent of the pastor of the charge, or the district superintendent. No pastor shall hold a religious service within the bounds of a pastoral charge or establish a ministry to a college or university campus served by The United Methodist Church without the consent of the pastor of the charge, or campus minister or chaplain serving the charge, or the district superintendent. If that pastor does not refrain from such conduct, he or she shall then be liable to the provisions of ¶ 361.1 and ¶ 2702.
5. All clergy of The United Methodist Church are charged to maintain all confidences inviolate, including confessional confidences, except in the cases of suspected child abuse or neglect or in cases where mandatory reporting is required by civil law.
6. Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.
7. No pastor shall re-baptize. The practice of re-baptism does not conform with God’s action in baptism and is not consistent with Wesleyan tradition and historic teaching of the church. Therefore, the pastor should counsel any person seeking re-baptism to participate in a rite of re-affirmation of baptismal vows.

Miscellaneous Provisions

Properties:
“The Board of Trustees shall not prevent or interfere with the pastor in the use of the said property for religious services or other proper meetings or purpose recognized by the law, usage and customs of the United Methodist Church or permit the use of said property for religious or other meeeti8ngs without the consent of the pastor or in the absence of the pastor, the consent of the district superintendent.” (Par. 2532.1) “When a pastor and or a board of trustees are asked to grant permission to an outside organization to use church facilities, permission can be granted only when such use is consistent with the Social principles and ecumenical objective.” (Par. 2532.3)

Pastor as Administrative Officer:
“The pastor shall be the administrative officer, and such shall be an ex officio member of all conferences, boards, councils, commissions, committees, and task forces, unless restricted by the Discipline.” (The Charge Conference, par. 245).

Evaluation of Pastor:
“The district superintendent, in consultation with the pastor-parish relations committee, will evaluate annually the pastor’s effectiveness for ministry, using criteria, processes, and training developed by the cabinet and the board of ordained ministry.” (Par. 350)

Job Description of Associate Pastor/Staff
PPR “To develop and approve written job descriptions and titles for associate pastors and other staff members in cooperation with the senior pastor. The term associate pastor is used as a general term to indicate any pastoral appointment in a local church other than the pastor in charge.” (Par. 258.7)

*Par. 340 BOD 2008
** Par.341 BOD 2008

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