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¶801 ADVICE TO THE MINISTER

¶801 ADVICE TO THE MINISTER
1. PERSONAL LIFE

DIVINE RESOURCES
Trust God. His power gives you all things necessary for life and godliness (II Peter 1:3). He has not given you the spirit of timidity, but of love, power, and a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7). Apart from Him, you can do nothing (John 15:5). Spiritual power is mediated to you through Scripture, prayer, the sacraments, the people of God and life itself. Practice the presence of God.

SPIRITUAL FORMATION
Make private, family, and public prayers of adoration, confession, petition, intercession and thanksgiving a habit. Let prayer be a daily means of grace.

Fast as health permits.

Search the Scriptures systematically, using commentaries. Meditate upon what you read and put into practice what you learn.

Take every opportunity to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

Form a covenant with an accountability partner to watch over your spiritual and emotional health and meet with him/her regularly.

ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
An accountability partner is a mature, discreet Christian of the same gender, preferably outside your congregation. He/she is neither a counselor nor a spiritual director but is a trustworthy person to whom you can confidentially confess personal matters and to whom you may be accountable for progress with respect to those matters. While an accountability partner does not divulge any information to local church or conference leaders, he/she is to urge you to seek counsel (including MEGaP guidance) when circumstances warrant it.

FAMILY LIFE
Be faithful to your marriage vows (I Timothy 3:2). Show honour to your spouse and family in private and public. Parent your children with loving discipline (I Timothy 3:4,5). Build a healthy home life.

FELLOWSHIP
Be open to your peers. Seek their counsel. Meet with them periodically for prayer. Confess your faults. Share your concerns. Take courage from mutual support. Be a part of a pastoral team. Resolve to encourage them.

Develop mature friendships that are supportive of and compatible with your vocation and ministry.

USE OF TIME
Be disciplined. Live an orderly and balanced life. Manage your time well. Resist both laziness and workaholism.

PERSONAL HEALTH
Master and apply the rules of healthy living, especially with regards to eating, rest and exercise. Set an example for those you lead. Avoid substance abuse.

CONVERSATION

Listen patiently; it is more than half of good conversation. Communicate clearly, stating your opinion with tact and kindness. Cultivate a healthy sense of humour. Keep confidences.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
Love your neighbour as yourself. Speak evil of no one. Manage your money wisely and do not borrow from parishioners. Live a simple lifestyle according to gospel values. Keep debts within bounds and model wise and disciplined spending.

Be cautious in receiving gifts, grants, or bursaries. Consider the source of the funding, asking if accepting the gift is consistent with our doctrine and watching for any expectations that may be attached.

Tithe as the starting point for the generous giving of your income.

Maintain appropriate physical and emotional boundaries in all relationships – especially with those of the opposite sex.

Lead your church in the ethical use of music, words and other media.

Respect your peers in ministry. Keep your ordination vows. Honour the work of your predecessors and successors by treating others as you want to be treated. Pastoral transitions require a fresh start. For the new pastor to establish his/her leadership, the departing pastor needs to leave. If that courtesy was not afforded to you when you arrived, all the more reason for you to break the pattern.

Principles to follow:

  • Don’t promise the congregation that you will be back.
  • Explain to the congregation how your relationship with them will change. Teach on boundaries and closure.
  • In situations where you are requested to return to participate in a pastoral role (e.g.
    baptism/dedication, wedding or funeral), do not accept without first checking directly with your successor and the leadership of the church.
    Remind yourself that these significant life-events are opportunities for your successor to develop ongoing relationships. Be prepared with a statement such as: “I’m honored that you’ve asked me but since I am no longer your pastor, I’ll need to first consult with your new pastor.” No pastoral ministry should occur with former parishioners without the knowledge and consent of your successor.
  • If you are remaining in the area, meet with your successor, clarify your relationship with him/her and the church and agree to worship elsewhere in your community for a determined amount of time.

ETIQUETTE AND PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES
Own an up-to-date book on etiquette and consult it regularly so that you are aware of how to conduct yourself appropriately as a public figure. Additionally, there are guidelines available from the credentialing coordinator that you need to follow with respect to requests to officiate at marriages.

2. PROFESSIONAL LIFE
CORE VALUES
Regularly review the eight core values of The Free Methodist Church in Canada and allow them to shape your ministry of leadership.

LEADING THROUGH PREACHING AND TEACHING

Discipline yourself to uninterrupted time for study and prayer so that you come before your people adequately prepared. Seek the Lord’s help. Preaching is only effective when anointed by God’s Spirit. Use
suitable Scriptures for each occasion. Prepare your messages thoroughly. Stay with your subject. Preach to the needs of the people. Expound the scriptures systematically. Seek divine leadership in choice of subjects. Consult the Christian calendar to give balance to your preaching. Communicate profound truths with simple words and speak with conviction. Practice what you preach.

Teach with clarity. Present truth in an orderly way, using a variety of methods. Give opportunity for dialogue.

Seek by preaching and teaching to bring about change in understanding and behaviour.

Avoid plagiarizing. Competent pastors always give proper source credit to things written or published under their name, or spoken by them from the pulpit. In this digital and Internet era, you must not pretend that simply because you are encouraged by online ministry resource sites to use their materials, you can let others believe that all these ideas are yours.

LEADING IN WORSHIP
Plan services of worship with care. Incorporate prayers, Scripture readings, singing, preaching, and regular observance of the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Seek a balance between ordered and spontaneous worship. Focus attention on God in all His attributes. Lead the people and teach them to worship. Be aware that you set an example by the way you worship yourself. Involve the congregation, using lay persons wisely and giving appropriate attention to the children.

Give careful thought to your pastoral prayers in advance. Deliver all prayers from your heart. Expect people to experience the presence of God. Whatever the theme of the service, always try to encourage the people before they leave.

LEADING THROUGH PASTORAL CARE AND EVANGELISM
See that attention is given to the care of your people. Balance strategic personal contact with care given through trained volunteers and/or staff. Find creative ways to ensure that a full range of pastoral care is given – e.g. visits, phone calls, cards and notes.

Give special priority to finding, befriending and introducing seeking people to Jesus. Model a personal commitment to the Great Commission yourself and see that others are trained and involved in outreach.

Ensure that attention is given to the sick, elderly, confined, and distressed. See that someone is with your people when they pass through crucial moments: the birth of a child, marriage, tragedy, the bestowment of honour, death.

Make provision for the pastoral counseling of people who seek guidance. Convey by your attitudes and words that you too are interested in their welfare. Ensure that counseling takes place in a professional manner in appropriate settings. Acknowledge the limits of your own counseling competencies/capacities and make responsible referrals when necessary, particularly with regard to legal, financial and medical matters, or other areas beyond your expertise. Interact with those under your care with honesty and love.

Be understanding. In controversy, arrange if possible, for another arbitrator/counsellor, so that you will be free to minister to both parties. This will also keep either party from accusing you of favouritism.

Maintain high professional standards. Conduct yourself always as in the presence of Christ. Do not be careless with confidentialities.

Ensure that new believers, newcomers, children and teens of the congregation are encouraged to join the church and care groups if they are available. See that membership instruction opportunities are provided regularly.

LEADING THROUGH LEADERS
The breadth and strength of any ministry is determined by the quality of its leadership. Resolve to develop Spirit-empowered, growing leaders and readily entrust responsibility to them according to their capacities of spiritual maturity, skill and availability.

Lead your leaders in planning and help them to set goals. Work to extend Christ’s kingdom. Mobilize and train your laity for ministries beyond the boundaries of your present congregation. Regularly promote the vision of starting an additional service and and/or a new congregation/church.

Oversee the administration of the church. By good administration, promote the congregation’s vision and mission, and work for harmony and growth. Do things in an orderly manner. Try, where appropriate, to make decisions in a consultative manner and to search for consensus so that different views are heard and people respected in the process.

Ensure that boards and committees meet regularly. See that your people have opportunity to discover and use their spiritual gifts and to develop ministry skills.

Share leadership and work cooperatively with both lay and ordained colleagues, respecting their different gifts, qualifications, ministries, and approach to spirituality.

Keep abreast of the activities of the major departments of your church. Have careful records kept of your ministries. Maintain and give summary reports regularly to your official board and conference leaders.

Build relationships with leaders of other churches in your community, promote good will, and seek appropriate ways to cooperate in ministry.

Cooperate with those in authority over you. Model loyalty to your denomination. See that requested reports are sent promptly. Use denominational resources. Participate in the support of CORE ministries and promote the Giving Streams and other general church ministries.

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