PASTORAL MINISTRY HANDBOOK | CHAPTER 5

Specialized Ministers

¶41 Description

1. The Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, uses the term “specialized minister” to describe all non-ordained paid staff ministers employed by churches of the denomination.

2. Individuals holding the specialized minister license are not pursuing ordination, and generally are employed to oversee specific areas of ministry in a local church.

3. The specialized minister license is also used to provide ministerial credentials to church planters.

4. This designation does not include ministry support positions, such as secretarial or custodial staff.

¶42 Qualifications

Specialized ministers must meet the following qualifications.

1. Education

Complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of college level work in their field of specialization from an accredited college, including a minimum of 12 semester hours of college level work in Bible and the course in United Brethren church history.

2. Experience

Serve for a minimum of 12 months on a professional basis in the field of specialization in a United Brethren church.

3. Membership

Hold membership in a United Brethren church.

4. Qualifications

Demonstrate the following:

a. Faithfulness to the membership, family, and social standards of the church (UB Discipline, chapters 4-6).

b. Conformity to the general expectations of ministers (UB Discipline, chapter 7).

¶43 Licensing of Specialized Ministers

The following procedure is established for the licensing of specialized ministers:

1. Recommendation from a Local Church

a. After reviewing his or her conduct as a provisional minister and suitability for ministry, the senior pastor of a local church may recommend that the local church refer a candidate to the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team for a specialized minister’s license.

b. If the local church so concurs, the senior pastor will notify the bishop, and the bishop will forward the candidate’s file to the appropriate Ministerial Licensing and Ordination Team for examination.

2. References

The candidate shall present three references giving evidence of the candidate’s faithfulness in Christian living and suitability of service using the Ministerial Reference for Ministerial Licensing form. References should be obtained from the following individuals:

a. The senior pastor of the church where the candidate is a member.

b. A layperson serving in leadership at the local United Brethren church the candidate attends.

c. The chairperson of the Personnel Relations Commission of the church where the candidate is a member.

3. Written Responses

The candidate shall present written responses to the following, along with Scripture references and personal examples to support the answers.

a. How have you grown in your understanding and love of God and his ways since your last interview? In what ways has this impacted your relationship with the people where you live, work, and play?

b. What is your view on the reliability of Scripture as God’s Word? How is that demonstrated in your life?

c. What is your motive for desiring a specialized minister’s license?

d. How has your understanding of and experience with the work of the Holy Spirit in your life grown since your last interview?

e. In what ways are you maturing in your belief of the nature of humanity and the individual need for salvation?

f. Define the following terms: Trinity, incarnate, atonement, communion of saints, inspiration.

g. Describe your practice of evangelism. Share the story of the last person you led to Christ.

h. Will you submit to spiritual authority and agree to abide by the official actions of the denomination in all matters relating to your ministry?

i. Are you satisfied with the membership, family, and social standards, and with the government of this denomination, and will you seek to maintain them? What concerns, if any, do you have?

j. What are your future plans regarding ministry as they pertain to this license?

k. What current debts do you have?

l. Have you ever pled guilty to or been convicted of any crime?

m. Have you ever been charged with child neglect or abuse?

n. Has your driver’s license ever been suspended or revoked?

o. Do you use illegal drugs, beverage alcohol, or tobacco in any form?

p. Describe the ways in which your marriage/family relationships are in harmony with the “Family Standards” chapter of the Discipline.

q. What role does your area of ministry play in the overall ministry of the church?

r. What is your understanding of staff relationships in the church?

s. Explain your philosophy of ministry as it relates to your specific area of specialization.

4. Other Documents

The candidate shall also provide:

a. A copy of his/her academic transcripts.

b. An updated Minister’s Profile.

c. The Minister’s Spouse Survey (if married).

5. Examination

Based on the above documents and any others the examining committee may require, the candidate shall be examined to determine matters of:

a. Personal integrity.

b. Commitment to the Christian faith.

c. Ministerial call.

d. Relationships with others.

e. Spiritual maturity.

f. Understanding of the doctrinal distinctives, history, and polity of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.

6. Recommendation to the PMLT

Following the examination, the Ministerial Licensing and Ordination Team will report its findings to the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team and make any recommendations it deems consistent with its findings.

Pending a favorable recommendation from the examining committee, the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team may choose to grant a specialized minister’s license.

¶44 Loss of the License

The bishop and/or Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team shall have the authority to revoke the license of specialized ministers whose lives and ministries are inconsistent with the expectations detailed in the Discipline. Should they desire, specialized ministers shall be granted an opportunity for a hearing before final action is taken.

¶45 Ordination

If specialized ministers decide to pursue ordination, this license will be deemed the equivalent of a national conference license, pending the completion of all additional requirements for national conference license.

¶46 Expectations of Specialized Ministers

In addition to the general expectations of all ministers and members in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, specialized ministers are expected to faithfully fulfill the following requirements:

1. Annual Reporting

All specialized ministers are expected to file an annual report of their activities with the bishop.

2. Accountability

Since this license is granted by the national conference, specialized ministers are accountable to the national conference in addition to the normal accountability procedures in the local church where they serve.

3. Ministerial Service

Specialized ministers shall work under the direction of their senior pastors or bishop. They may officiate at funerals and weddings and administer the ordinances of baptism and communion only under the supervision of a senior pastor.

The entire Pastoral Ministry Handbook can be downloaded as a PDF file.

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