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Commissioned Ministers are persons called by God to provide specialized ministry leadership (examples include but not limited to: Children and Family Pastor, Youth, Community Development Missionary, Social Media, etc.). They do not feel called to provide pastoral leadership to the entire church. They may, under special circumstances, be appointed under one of the categories under Special Appointment (see ¶852), but it is assumed that they will normally work as specialized associate pastors under an ordained minister’s leadership.

Commissioned Ministers are eligible to be nominated as ministerial members in some of the larger administrative and leadership roles of the denomination (see Ch 4).

The training and experience candidates receive will include both formation in their area of specialization as well as ministry leadership. Commissioned Ministers are accountable to the local church and lead pastor (or equivalent) for the specific day to day living out of that call through their employment and/or job description. They are also accountable to the denomination who has credentialed them as being prepared to live out the ministry leadership aspect of that call, through their conference appointment.

In order to become a commissioned minister, a ministerial candidate must:

Demonstrate a serious desire to pursue God’s call to commissioned ministry within The Free Methodist Church in Canada by:

  • submitting a copy of required academic transcripts to the credentialing coordinator;
  • completing 3 years of full-time ministry experience under (conference) supervision as a ministerial candidate. Ministry experience equivalency credits may be accumulated on a part-time basis under supervision and granted by the MEGaP committee. Once a lay minister has been approved as a ministerial candidate and has been appointed at a local church, retroactive ministry experience equivalency credits may be granted by the director of leadership development and church health on an individual case-by-case basis, upon written request.
  • submitting a minister’s statement of affirmation (See ¶ 872).

Receive the church’s confirmation of suitability for commissioned ministry by being:

  • a ministerial candidate in good standing;
  • (if married after becoming a ministerial candidate) spouse and ministerial candidate together meeting with a MEGaP subcommittee for spousal support interview
  • interviewed and recommended by the MEGaP committee for commissioned ministry;
  • approved by the general conference or its board of administration for honorary membership in the conference and the commissioned ministry;
  • commissioned by the bishop or the bishop’s appointee.

Receive basic academic preparation for ministry in the FMCIC by:

  • in addition to the courses required for ministerial candidacy, successfully completing, as a minimum, the following prescribed core courses within an accredited and approved (by MEGaP) seminary, college, or directed study program:
    ▪ Systematic theology (3 credits)
    ▪ Elective courses related to the specific commission specialty (e.g. administration, children, pastoral care, youth, worship, etc.) (9 credits)
    ▪ Personal and Church Stewardship foundational course (3 credits)
    ▪ Culture and the Missional Church foundational course (3 credits)
  • being certified by the credentialing coordinator

If a Ministerial Candidate disagrees with a recommendation from MEGaP after his/her interview, s/he may appeal that decision by sending a letter in writing to the bishop and the director of leadership development and church health outlining the reasons for the appeal. The bishop will review the MEGaP notes, the recommendation and the appeal from the candidate and decide whether or not the recommendation should be reconsidered.

They remain members of local churches and honorary members of the conference. When a
commissioned minister transfers his/her local church membership to a different Free Methodist congregation, the commissioned minister is listed as in “transition” (as per ¶852) until the receiving church makes a recommendation for an appointment to ministry in that congregation. When a commissioned minister is in transition or retires, they retain honorary membership in the conference.

Since Commissioned ministers maintain membership in the local church, they have both a voice and a vote at the local church. Commissioned ministers also continue as honorary members of the official board and, at the discretion of the lead pastor, may participate in all official board meetings except when the board is dealing with delicate matters related to the life and ministry of the lead pastor or other pastoral staff. The Commissioned ministers also need to declare a conflict of interest with any board or society vote on budget/financial, employed personnel or other issues that would directly impact or involve them.
Commissioned ministers cannot serve as a delegate at the local church, since they are honourary members of conference.

Walking in a manner worthy of their call is expected, along with attendance at denominational events such as General Conferences, Regional Gatherings, Minister’s Conferences and Network meetings (except retirees).

Commissioned ministers [except retirees] must continue with ongoing development in both their area of specialization as well as in ministry leadership and must annually file a continuing education unit (CEU) report with the credentialing coordinator as a condition of maintaining good standing in the conference.