Discipline ¶330

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  ¶  330. Requirements for Ordination as Deacon and Admission to Full Connection-Probationary members who are applying for admission into full connection and who have been probationary members for at least three full annual conference years following the completion of the educational requirements for ordination as a deacon may be admitted into membership in full connection in an annual conference by two-thirds vote of the clergy members in full connection of the annual conference, upon recommendation by two-thirds vote of the board of ordained ministry, after they have qualified as follows:
1. Served under episcopal appointment in a ministry of service the entire probationary period. Upon recommendation of the board of ordained ministry, the annual conference may equate less than fulltime or nonsalaried service as meeting this qualification. Such equivalence is to be determined in light of the years of service involved, the quality of that service, the maturity of the applicant, and other relevant factors determined by the board. Supervision is to be: (a) by the district superintendent, and (b) by the board of ordained ministry. The applicant’s service must be evaluated by the board of ordained ministry as effective according to written guidelines developed by the board and adopted by the clergy members in full connection. Lay persons directly involved in the applicant’s servant ministry shall be involved by the board in the annual evaluation.
2. Been previously elected as a probationary member.
3. Responded to a written or oral doctrinal examination administered by the board of ordained ministry. The candidate shall demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly in both oral and written form. The candidate’s reflections and the board’s response shall be informed by the insights and guidelines of Part II of the Book of Discipline. The examination shall also focus upon the covenantal relationship of the applicant to God, to the Church, and to the Order of Deacon, as well as the understanding of diaconia, servant leadership, and the interrelatedness of the Church and the world. The applicant shall be able to articulate the call of God to the order of deacon and to relate that call to leadership within the ministry of all Christians, through the setting of their service, the local church, and the annual conference.
4. The following questions are guidelines for the preparation of the examination:
    a) Theology.
    (1) How has the practice of ministry affected your experience and understanding of God?
(2) What effect has the practice of ministry had on your understanding of humanity and the need for divine grace?
(3) What changes has the practice of ministry had on your understanding of (a) the “Lordship of Jesus Christ,” and (b) the work of the Holy Spirit?
(4) The United Methodist Church holds that Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason are sources and norms for belief and practice, but that the Bible is primary among them. What is your understanding of this theological position of the Church?
(5) How do you understand the following traditional evangelical doctrines: (a) repentance; (b) justification; (c) regeneration;
(d) sanctification? What are the marks of the Christian life?
(6) For the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world and the most effective witness to the Christian gospel, and in consideration of your influence as an ordained minister, are you willing to make a complete dedication of yourself to the highest ideals of the Christian life; and to this end will you agree to exercise responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to physical health, intentional intellectual development, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, integrity in all personal relationships, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge of the love of God?11
    (7) What is the meaning and significance of the sacraments?
(8) Describe the nature and mission of the Church. What are its primary tasks today?
(9) What is your understanding of: (a) the kingdom of God; (b) the Resurrection; (c) eternal life?
    b) Vocation.
    (1) How do you understand your vocation as an ordained deacon?
    c) The Practice of Ministry.
    (1) How has the practice of service ministry during the probationary period affected your understanding of ministry?
(2) Do you offer yourself to be appointed by the bishop to a service ministry?
(3) Describe and evaluate your personal gifts for ministry. What would be your areas of strength and areas in which you need to be strengthened?
(4) Are you willing to relate yourself in ministry to all persons without regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, social status, gender, sexual orientation, age, economic condition, or disabilities?
(5) Provide evidence of experience in peace and justice ministries.
    d) Historic Examination for Admission into Full Connection and Ordination as Deacon-The bishop as chief pastor shall engage those seeking to be admitted in serious self-searching and prayer to prepare them for their examination before the conference. At the time of the examination, the bishop shall also explain to the conference the historic nature of the following questions and seek to interpret their spirit and intent. The questions are these and any others which may be thought necessary:
    (1) Have you faith in Christ?
(2) Are you going on to perfection?
(3) Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?
(4) Are you earnestly striving after perfection in love?
(5) Are you resolved to devote yourself wholly to God and God’s work?
(6) Do you know the General Rules of our Church?
(7) Will you keep the General Rules of our Church?
    (8) Have you studied the doctrines of The United Methodist Church?
(9) After full examination do you believe that our doctrines are in harmony with the Holy Scriptures?
(10) Have you studied our form of Church discipline and polity?
(11) Do you approve our Church government and polity?
(12) Will you support and maintain them?
(13) Will you exercise the ministry of compassion?
(14) Will you diligently instruct the children in every place?
(15) Will you visit from house to house?
(16) Will you recommend fasting or abstinence, both by precept and example?
(17) Are you determined to employ all your time in the work of God?
(18) Are you in debt so as to embarrass you in your work?
(19) Will you observe the following directions?
      (a) Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly employed. Never trifle away time; neither spend any more time at any one place than is strictly necessary.
(b) Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time. And do not mend our rules, but keep them; not for wrath, but for conscience’ sake.
  5. A probationary member of the annual conference who has completed the requirements for deacon’s orders and admission into full membership shall be eligible for election to full membership and ordination as deacon by a bishop. Following election, the bishop and secretary of the conference shall provide a certificate of full membership in the annual conference, and following ordination, a certificate of ordination.
6. A deacon shall be ordained by a bishop by the laying on of hands, employing the Order of Service for the Ordination of Deacons. The bishops shall be assisted by other deacons and may include laity designated by the bishop representing the Church community and representatives of other Christian communions, in the laying on of hands.
11. See Judicial Council Decision 542.