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¶881 THE NETWORK SYSTEM OF THE FREE METHODIST CHURCH IN CANADA

¶881 THE NETWORK SYSTEM OF THE FREE METHODIST CHURCH IN CANADA
The Vision of a Network: Discipleship is a key component of the FMCiC, as it is Jesus’ method of “building” His church. Furthermore discipleship was how John Wesley grew the Methodist movement. Since discipleship is key to the health and vitality of the FMCiC, it is clear that our leaders and pastors need to be full participants in discipleship. Networks are therefore to be “discipleship communities”. Pastors and leaders will enter a covenant relationship which includes creating a mutual discipling experience for each member of the network. Networks will therefore necessarily be a safe “place” for pastors, chaplains and other ordained leaders to be supported and grow in their personal and ministry lives.

The FMCiC defines “discipleship” as an intentional, organic and transformative relationship that Jesus modeled for each of us. Discipleship involves two or more people meeting regularly, where at least one (the leader, discipler, mentor, coach) is already a follower of Christ. The purposes of discipleship include: i) nurturing church family; ii) learning God’s Word; iii) prayer-worshipping; iv) participating in God’s mission in the world; and v) healing, deliverance, freedom in Christ.

The bishop, the national leadership team, the network mentor team and the network leaders work together to cultivate an environment to see the FMCiC’s common vision fulfilled.

NETWORK MENTOR TEAM RESPONSIBILITIES
1. The Role of the Network Mentor: The Network Mentor is responsible to help Network
Leaders to create a discipleship experience (as defined above).

Responsibilities: Network Mentor (hereafter “NM”) will:

A. Work together with the Bishop and the Network Mentor Team for the selection and
placement of new Network Leaders;
B. Meet regularly by phone or Zoom with each Network Leader for coaching and/or
discipling. These meetings will include coaching / mentoring in the use of the
discipleship materials. The hope is that the Mentor will become [another] spiritual mentor in the life of the NL;
C. NM will work closely with the Bishop to find resources for networks, strategize and pray. Presently, “Radical Mentoring” and “Bearing Faithful Witness” are excellent resources. On occasion the network may choose to meet with another network for a special course or social;
D. The NM will be responsible to help the Network Leader remember and honour the
Network Covenant (see below) in the networks;
E. The NM will ensure that the network check-ins with one another in between meetings
(the Network Leader may choose to do this themselves or the network will discuss a
strategy – for example each member is assigned another member to check in with);
F. The NM will be available for the annual Mentor-Network Leader meeting, which is
currently held in January. This is a two day event;
G. The NM also has as support and resource: Regional Coach, Director of Leadership
Development, Director of Church Planting and Bishop.

2. General Policies

  • Mentors will be appointed ministers.
  • Expenses (travel, meals) incurred to do “work” (outside of the Network meeting)
    requested by the Bishop.
  • Network Mentors who attend one network for their church but lead another are to be paid for travel/meal expenses.
  • The term of office for a NM is indefinite. Each year, adjustments will be made to the
    network leadership, based on performance evaluations and requests.

LEADING AS A NETWORK LEADER IN THE FREE METHODIST CHURCH IN CANADA

1. The Role of the Network Leader: The Network Leader is responsible to help a network of
FMCiC pastors / leaders create a discipleship experience (as defined above).

Responsibilities: Network Leaders (hereafter “NL”) will:

A. Meet regularly by phone or Zoom with Mentor for coaching, discipling. These meetings will include coaching / mentoring in the use of the discipleship materials. The hope is that the Mentor will become [another] spiritual mentor in the life of the NL;
B. Facilitate network meetings (at least 6 days per year);
C. Bring to the network resources that would help create a discipleship experience. The
NL’s Mentor and Bishop will offer resources and training. Presently, “Radical
Mentoring” and “Bearing Faithful Witness” are excellent resources. On occasion the
network may choose to meet with another network for a special course or social;
D. The NL will be responsible to introduce and help the Network mutually honour the
Network Covenant (see below);
E. The NL will ensure that the network check-ins with one another in between meetings (the NL may choose to do this themselves or the network will discuss a strategy – for example each member is assigned another member to check in with;
F. The NL will be available for the annual Mentor-Network Leader meeting, which is
currently held in January. This is a two day event;
G. The NL also has as support and resource: Mentor, Regional Coach, Director of
Leadership Development, Director of Church Planting and Bishop.

2. Character Requirements for this Ministry of Leadership

  • “A leader is a person who under the Lordship of Jesus knows where he/she is going and is able to influence others to follow.”
  • “A team player is a person who is able to give and receive loyalty to other team members as they work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect to achieve a common purpose.”
  • “A team player is a person who is able to effectively manage communication flow so that all people within the team feel that they are valued–their input is valued and their questions/concerns are answered.”
  • “A leader is a person who helps others develop by doing. He/she coaches and expects
    team members to make decisions and assume responsibility for outcomes. A leader
    celebrates with those who succeed and comes alongside those who are faltering to coach them more closely.”
  • “A leader is a person who cares: By praying regularly for the pastors under his/her
    supervision, and by taking personal interest to know the names of spouses and children.”

3. General Policies

  • Selection and placement of Network Leaders is the responsibility of the Network Mentor Team. • Expenses (travel, meals) incurred to do “work” (outside of the Network meeting) requested by the Bishop or Mentor.
  • Network Leaders who attend one network for their church but lead another are to be paid for travel/meal expenses.
  • The term of office for a Network Leader is indefinite. Each year, adjustments will be
    made to the network leadership, based on performance evaluations and requests.
  • Multi-day meetings of Networks are encouraged to take advantage of denominational facilities (e.g. camps) where practicable.

Pastor’s Network Covenant

The Free Methodist Church in Canada takes very seriously the spiritual and personal health of its pastors. With this in mind, networks have been established for peer support and accountability.

In the Methodist tradition we commit to this covenant:

1. It is my desire to become an all-in Jesus-follower, disciple-maker and Christian leader.
2. I understand that I will give and receive direct, honest feedback from the group. I will do everything in my power to receive it in love and to learn from it. I will avoid defensiveness, realizing that when I defend, I lose the opportunity to learn. I commit to being open in examining myself. I want to learn. I want to change, to be more like Jesus Christ in every fiber of my being.
3. I agree that network time is valuable, and that I may have to say “no” to important things in order to meet with the network and I am willing to do so.
4. I will strive to contribute my value to the network, and trust that the other members will also do so.
5. I understand that network is a safe place for pastors to grow as individuals and spiritual leaders. I will be totally vulnerable about my relationship with Christ, for the purpose of growing in my faith.
6. I commit to total confidentiality. What is said in the group stays in the group. The network leader reserves the right to the following exceptions:
a. If the pastor may be an immediate danger to himself or others
b. If the pastor is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as the case of
child or elder abuse
c. As required by law
7. I discussed this commitment with my Church Board and they fully support my involvement. They willingly give the time and resources it will take to attend the meetings and retreats with the goal of my becoming a godlier person and a better pastor.

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