Division of Ordained Ministry
¶ 1421. Duties and Responsibilities of the Division of Ordained Ministry-The Division of Ordained Ministry shall be responsible for leading and serving the church in inviting, equipping, and supporting faithful and effective spiritual leaders from all cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds, who serve as ordained deacons and elders, licensed local pastors, diaconal ministers, certified persons in specialized ministries, and clergy endorsed for extension ministries in order to fulfill the mission of The United Methodist Church and the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The division’s work includes all men and women who are serving in categories of appointment by a bishop. This responsibility shall be discharged in active relationship with bishops, schools of theology, annual conference boards of ordained ministry, cabinets, jurisdictional boards or committees on ordained ministry, central conferences, ethnic caucuses, and other appropriate bodies. This division shall be responsible for the promotion of theological education and its support for the whole church.
In fulfillment of this responsibility and in accordance with the disciplinary requirements established for each region of the church in the world, the division will organize its work around the following core responsibilities:
1. Administration-a) Provide leadership in the interpretation of the need for ministry in The United Methodist Church in ways that are appropriate to each region of the church in the world. The interpretation of ministry includes the ministry of deacons, elders, local pastors, those approved for extension ministries, and certified for specialized ministries.
b) Maintain contact with the constituencies of the Division through gatherings of the chairs of the Order of Deacons and the Order of Elders and the Fellowship of Local Pastors, personal communication, newsletters, and other consultative services.
c) In consultation with ethnic constituencies, work with boards of ordained ministry, district committees on ordained ministry, and other appropriate agencies by developing guidelines, training, and resources for their work; providing guidance and counseling in the examination of ministerial students; and interpreting current disciplinary legislation concerning ordained and licensed ministry.
d) Provide resources and training to conference boards of ordained ministry and similar recognized bodies in their responsibility for administering the standards, requirements, examination, and interviews for ordination and certification in ministry careers.
e) Provide the connectional relationship whenever agencies of the general church wish to enter into discussion with or make inquiry into the work of United Methodist seminaries.
f) Study and coordinate mutual ministry between United Methodist schools of theology and annual conferences in the fulfillment of their responsibilities for the education and formation of candidates for ordained, licensed, and certified ministries.
g) Lead in the church-wide interpretation and promotion of the Ministerial Education Fund, and support other funds and programs that assist in training persons for ordained ministry.
h) Relate to the University Senate and its Commission on Theological Education in the review and approval of non-United Methodist seminaries for candidates for ordination as elder and deacon.
i) Cooperate with other agencies and ethnic groups within The United Methodist Church in matters related to the calling, training, and support of ministerial leadership throughout the church.
j) Participate in professional, ecumenical, national and international associations that support professional ministry.
k) Cooperate with the General Council on Finance and Administration and boards of ordained ministry concerning legal issues, policies of professional ethics, and other matters related to the practice of ministry.
l) Foster cooperative relationships among persons in the diaconate of The United Methodist Church and their colleagues in other Christian churches.
2. Enlistment/Candidacy-a) Lead the church in lifting up God’s call to ordained, licensed, and certified ministry in The United Methodist Church, through enlistment programs in the local church and annual, jurisdictional and central conferences.
b) Study ministerial needs and resources in The United Methodist Church and cooperate with the general boards and agencies, and other appropriate ethnic and cultural groups, in the interpretation of ministry as a vocation, in an effort to enlist suitable persons for ordained, licensed, and certified ministry.
c) Study the ministerial needs of the annual and central conferences in terms of pastoral leadership, the ministry of the deacon, and certified ministries, including candidacy statistics, retirement trends, retention of clergy, and the changing demand for ministerial supply.
d) Study the ministerial needs of the world and provide resources for the enlistment of persons for service in ministries beyond the local church.
e) Provide program materials and training resources for the enlistment and support of candidates for ordained, licensed, and certified ministry.
f) Work with ethnic centers related to the United Methodist seminaries, general church initiatives, and the ethnic caucuses to enlist racial and ethnic persons as candidates for ordained, licensed, and certified ministry.
3. Education-a) Maintain the educational standards for those who are ordained as deacons and elders, licensed as local pastors, and certified for specialized ministries in The United Methodist Church.
b) Certify the course offerings in United Methodist history, doctrine, and polity as specified in ¶ 335.(3), and provide the University Senate and boards of ordained ministry with a list of the courses approved.
c) Prescribe a theological studies program which will include basic graduate theological studies for those preparing for ordination as a Deacon, an advanced course of studies program for local pastors preparing for ordination as an Elder, and a curriculum of studies for those seeking certification in areas of specialized ministry.
d) Prescribe a Course of Study for local pastors that include the studies for license for pastoral ministry and the five-year Course of Study curriculum. All work in the Course of Study shall be taken in programs approved by the Division of Ordained Ministry.
e) Identify the areas of need for specialized ministries; provide standards and educational programs that may lead to certification in those areas; and review the qualifications of persons recommended for certification by conference boards of ordained ministry.
f) Consult with the schools of theology and programs of pastoral training in the central conferences concerning pastoral needs, the relationship between United Methodist seminaries in the central conferences and the United States, and other resources for training pastors to serve in the central conferences.
g) Promote attending United Methodist seminaries for theological training in the Wesleyan tradition.
h) Cooperate with the Office of Loans and Scholarships, the Higher Education Foundation, the Crusade Scholarship Program, and other funding agencies in regard to scholarship assistance for racial and ethnic students preparing for ordained ministry.
4. Support/Accountability-a) Provide guidance and resources for the continuing education, spiritual formation, and career development of faithful and effective pastors, deacons, chaplains, diaconal ministers and persons certified for specialized ministries serving in local churches, extension ministries, and other appointment settings in the church and world.
b) Support and cooperate with bishops and district superintendents in the fulfillment of their ministry of superintending by (1) providing jointly with the Connectional Table and the Council of Bishops for the training of new district superintendents; (2) providing ongoing training and support for bishops and superintendents in their work; and (3) developing resources to assist clergy, superintendents, and local churches in assessment and evaluation of ministry, including providing tools for staff-parish relations committees, pastors, boards of ordained ministry, and cabinets on ensuring effective cross-racial and cross-cultural appointments.
c) Encourage and resource conference boards of ordained ministry, the Order of Deacons and the Order of Elders, and the Fellowship of Local Pastors for the on-going support of persons in ordained, consecrated, licensed, and certified ministry in The United Methodist Church.
d) Provide guidance to cabinets and other annual conference agencies to ensure conditions of employment, support, and benefits commensurate with their training, ability, and experience for those ordained, consecrated, licensed, or certified for ministerial service.
e) Support members of the endorsed community through relationships to certifying bodies and professional organizations; linking congregations, conferences, and church structures with persons in specialized settings; assisting persons in receiving specialized training for ministry in pastoral care and pastoral counseling settings; and providing retreats, convocations, and other special programs.
f) Lead the church in the acceptance and support of women of all ethnic and racial groups in ordained and licensed ministry.
g) Give attention to the specific needs of clergy with disabilities.
h) Work with bishops, cabinets, boards of ordained ministry, the Order of Deacons and the Order of Elders, the Fellowship of Local Pastors, and other church agencies in maintaining the professional and ethical standards of ministry in The United Methodist Church.
i) Encourage and support the continuing education, spiritual formation, and career development of effective spiritual leaders of all races and ethnic origins.
5. Endorsement-a) Identify, assess, and support chaplains and clergy who show demonstrated ability to provide pastoral care in health-care settings, children’s homes, retirement homes, prisons, workplaces, counseling centers, and the military.
b) Establish standards required for endorsed persons in the areas of specialized education, training and skills, and when required, professional certification, to ensure that The United Methodist Church provides quality pastoral care to patients, residents, prisoners, workers, counselees, and military personnel and their families.
c) Maintain policies and procedures to provide Ecclesiastical Endorsement for associate members, deacons and elders under appointment to ministries of chaplaincy and pastoral care where endorsement is required.
(1) The Division of Ordained Ministry, through its endorsing committee, has the authority to grant and remove endorsement and to adopt appropriate rules of procedure, to include procedure for appeals.
(2) An endorsing committee consisting of elected members of the Division of Ordained Ministry and chaired by a bishop shall represent The United Methodist Church in all endorsing procedures.
(3) Endorsement is the credential which certifies that a clergyperson performs a valid ministry of The United Methodist Church and has presented evidence of required specialized education, training, skills, and, when required, professional certification necessary to perform that ministry. Once the clergyperson no longer serves in that particular setting, the endorsement is withdrawn.
d) Establish and follow procedures for Ecclesiastical Approval for persons in the military student chaplain candidate programs, intermittent chaplaincy with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other identified entities.
e) Maintain programs for the oversight and advocacy of endorsed/approved persons.
f) Provide general oversight for all those under endorsement, particularly those serving outside the bounds of their annual conferences.
g) Assure conference boards of ordained ministry concerning the validity of ministry of clergy serving under endorsement.
h) Verify annually, to bishops and conference boards of ordained ministry, those clergy under endorsement and where necessary request their reappointment.
i) Establish and maintain standards for ecclesiastical endorsement.
(1) Establish standards for endorsements for all ministry settings in ¶ 344.1b
(2) Provide standards for use by annual conference boards of ordained ministry to determine the appropriateness of other extension ministry settings not identified in ¶ 344.1, and will assist, as requested, to evaluate specific settings.
(3) Provide advocacy for persons appointed under ¶ 344.1d and encourage new efforts to widen the understanding of ministry through the development of new extension ministry settings.
(4) Coordinate with certifying bodies in the development of standards for pastoral care certification in a variety of ministry settings.
j) Link congregations, conferences and church agencies with those persons in extension ministry settings.
k) Advise congregations, conferences, and church agencies in the development of programs of pastoral care in extension ministries.
l) Interpret extension ministries to the church and serve as an advocate for persons in extension ministries under its endorsement.
m) Assist in providing a ministry to United Methodist laity in or associated with the military, particularly outside the continental United States. The Division of Ordained Ministry, with GBOD, GBGM and other agencies of the Church, shall work together to prepare materials, programs, and continuing ministries that include retreats, confirmation classes and other pastoral functions.
n) Receive and distribute funds and special gifts as have been or shall be given specifically for the support of endorsing agency responsibilities.
o) Sponsor the Chaplains Supplemental Pension Grant Fund for certain endorsed clergy, with administration and oversight provided by the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits.
6. Constituency Relationships-Establish three teams (elders and local pastors, deacons and diaconal ministers, chaplains and endorsed clergy) to relate directly with the constituents of the Division of Ordained Ministry to resource, support and interpret the work of the Division of Ordained Ministry. Each team shall be led by a member of that particular constituency.