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 properly called annual or special meeting of the church, provided that:
- The nomination shall have the prior approval of the district superintendent.
- The nomination shall have been approved by the District Advisory Board when the individual nominated is a member of that same local church, or serving as a paid or unpaid associate of that local church; and
- The individual shall have been nominated to the church by the church board by two-thirds vote by ballot of all its members.
This call shall be subject to review and continuance as hereinafter provided. (119, 122–125.5, 129.2, 159.8, 211.10, 225.16, 514, 532, 533.4, 534.3)
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 Roster of Ministers.
The local church should also make provision for the pastor’s traveling and moving expenses. (32–32.3, 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 may consider alternative plans for pastoral support in cooperation with their respective districts. (32.3, 129.8)
Affirming the value of family and the importance of pastors modeling peaceful and integrated lives, local churches should consider providing a maternity or paternity leave for the pastor and associates. District superintendents should encourage local churches to adopt maternity or paternity leave policies and provide for their development. Such policies may contain the following provisions:
- Timing and duration of maternity or paternity leave should be determined by mutual agreement of the pastor and church board prior to anticipated childbirth or adoption placement.
- Maternity or paternity leave should be considered in addition to and separately from vacation.
- The local church should consult with the pastor and district superintendent to arrange for a supply pastor during the period of maternity or paternity leave.
- During maternity or paternity leave the pastor’s full salary and benefits continue. Any other arrangement shall be placed in writing and signed by the pastor, secretary of the church board, and the district superintendent.
The pastor of a church that has been organized for fewer than five years, or had fewer 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. (211.17)
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 relationship 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 relationship reviews shall be the date of final approval.