¶373.2 Committees of the Local Church
Every local church must elect a Nominating Committee and Pastor’s Cabinet (¶320.5.2). Their duties, and the duties of other potential committees are outlined below. As indicated above, the number of other committees, their names and specific duties may vary from church to church. This list provides an indication of the typical committee names and duties. The members of the committees (other than the Nominating Committee and Pastor’s Cabinet) may be appointed by the official board, unless the society provides other directions.
¶373.2.1 Christian Education Committee
The Christian Education Committee is responsible for planning and implementing the children’s, youth and adult Christian education programs, providing biblically based education and training, and group activities. The committee may include Directors of Children’s Ministries, Youth Ministries and Adult Ministries. With the approval of the society or board, the committee will appoint all staff personnel needed to implement these programs. It will also provide for the required training and supervision of these personnel. The committee should encourage Christian education personnel to adhere to denominational doctrines and standards in the information they present.
In some churches, the Christian education committee may also take responsibility for the planning, implementation and supervision of the small group outreach and discipleship programs of the church.
¶373.2.2 Facilities and Property Committee
The Facilities and Property Committee (formerly trustees, see ¶3126.96.36.199) is responsible to routinely inspect the church’s building, property and equipment to ensure that all are being maintained adequately, to prioritize maintenance and replacement projects as to urgency within the constraints of the committee’s budget. The committee is also to respond appropriately to maintenance requests, organize work days as needed, and ensure that the church facilities are kept clean and tidy.
¶373.2.3 Membership Care Committee
The Membership Care Committee is composed of the pastor and a number of members of the local church elected by the official board. In smaller churches the official board may serve this function. The responsibilities of the committee are to:
- Assist the pastor to identify and recruit individuals as members, assist with the development and provision of membership training and with the pastor recommend new members for approval by the official board.
- Counsel members whose conduct may give cause for concern and assist in bringing reconciliation between persons or groups to avoid chronic unresolved conflict.
- Make recommendations to the official board regarding the membership status of those who have been counselled.
- Recommend to the official board termination of membership for members no longer intending to fulfill their membership commitments.
- Periodically review the membership status of members living at a distance and non-participating members.
- Review the membership roll at least annually to ensure it is accurate and current.
¶373.2.4 Missions Committee
The Missions Committee is responsible for keeping the congregation informed of and promoting interest in Free Methodist missions through an ongoing program with emphasis on personal awareness of missions needs, support of individual missionaries and the mission programs of the denomination through prayer, giving and personal participation in short-term missions teams or VISA assignments. Missions awareness may be enhanced through visits and presentations by career and short-term missionaries.
¶373.2.5 Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee is responsible for providing a slate of nominations for positions elected at the annual society meeting, and to the official board for other committee and service position appointments made by the board. The committee may also provide nominations to the board to fill any vacancies that occur between society meetings.
In making its recommendations, the nominating committee should carefully evaluate the spiritual gifts and graces of all members of the congregation. It should help members to recognize and use their particular gifts and skills. The committee should carefully develop a plan for rotation of committee memberships which takes into account the tenure requirement of a maximum of six years in any one position, while at the same time ensuring sufficient continuity of experienced personnel on committees.
It is important that the nominating committee be independent of the official board. The nominating committee is elected by the society from among the members of the church and is accountable to only the society, serving the church membership as a whole. Its recommendations should be presented to the annual society meeting, without prior review by the board. Any board involvement in the nomination process may bring the democratic process involved in society meeting elections into question. In times when there may be differences of opinion on one or more issues within the membership, any board involvement in the nomination process may lead to suspicions about board attempts to ensure the election of those holding a particular opinion or view. In addition, it may lead to suspicions, warranted or not, about attempts by a specific group to centralize power.
During the nomination process the committee should ensure that more than 50% of the board members deal with each other “at arms length,” i.e. unrelated by blood, adoption, marriage or employment. This can be accomplished by limiting or eliminating nominations of members of the same family (spouses, siblings, parents and children) to board positions.
It is also good practice for the nomination process to allow for input by the congregation. Suggestions may be collected from the congregation at the beginning of the process. Once a short list has been developed from these suggestions, these individuals should be interviewed by the nominating committee. When a slate of nominees has been proposed, it is wise to distribute or post the proposed nominations in advance of the society meeting, and provide some process for input from the congregation. This can help to limit the potential problems with “nominations from the floor,” where the proposed nominations may not be well considered or it may not be clear that the nominees have agreed to let their names stand.
¶373.2.6 Pastor’s Cabinet
The Pastor’s Cabinet is made up of members of the society, nominated by the Nominating Committee, elected by the society for the purpose of making ministry more effective. It may be elected by the society as a separate committee. The society may also assign the responsibility of choosing the pastor’s cabinet to the official board. In the latter case, the official board may designate several of its members to serve the functions of a pastor’s cabinet.
The pastor’s cabinet will assist the pastor by meeting with the pastor as a prayer cabinet, receiving recommendations and concerns arising from the congregation and reflecting on them with the pastor, and receiving recommendations and concerns from the pastor and offering support and counsel to the pastor.
The members of the pastor’s cabinet need to be mature, trustworthy individuals who can be entrusted with sensitive and confidential information.