Thursday, August 15, 2013

Clergy Expectations

When I first came on the district in March of 2011, it seemed reasonable to tell our pastors  what my expectations were as a District Superintendent. I’m reposting them as a reminder, but to them I would add two more things:

1. You can expect me to have your back. Until you give me reason not to, I trust you and have no need to micromanage the execution of your ministry.

2. I expect you to be a good steward of how you use Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking media. Just because you can say or post something doesn’t mean you always should. Remember that (a) it never goes away, and (b) the public doesn’t differentiate between what you say in a ministerial context and what you say on your own time.

I’m committed to helping each church and pastor in the Paducah District realize their opportunities and potentials for ministry. May we continue to be faithful to the One whom we serve, even Jesus Christ our Lord.



Sky McCracken, District Superintendent

You will want to know what is expected of a pastor in the Paducah District. I pray that these expectations help challenge you and your ministry:

1.      SPIRITUAL LIFE. Be a person of prayer and devotion. Maintaining your spiritual commitments is first priority for you and for a great ministry. You cannot grow congregations spiritually if you are not growing spiritually yourself. You are the spiritual guide for the church/parish you serve.

2.      THE GREAT COMMISSION IS YOUR MISSION STATEMENT. Develop a personal evangelism plan for yourself and train others to develop an evangelistic church. The United Methodist Church is a sacramental church AND an evangelical church. Spiritual growth is important. Numerical growth is not antithetical to this.

3.      STEWARDSHIP. The sharing of your tithe, time and talents are as important as those of the laity. I expect each pastor to tithe to the church s/he pastors, or to develop a plan that reaches that goal. You are mistaken if you think your church doesn’t know your giving habits, and you cannot challenge your church to sacrificial giving if you do not practice it yourself.

4.      PREACHING. Give time to preparation for biblical and contemporary preaching, being a pastor of the Word.

5.      PASTORAL CARE AND VISITATION. Our pastors are expected to give time to the care and visitation of the congregation, both regular attenders and new people. Visitation should include new families, hospital calls, crisis calls, home visitation, etc.

6.      WORSHIP. Give proper attention to worship planning, to provide a warm, meaningful, creative worship service for your congregation. This is a shared responsibility with the laity – liturgy is “the work of the people,” not just the pastor.

7.      FAITHFUL TO THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH. You are a United Methodist pastor and are expected to fully support its doctrine and standards, to follow Book of Discipline  procedures, and to support the paying of church apportionments, per Book of Discipline (¶622) and the Financial Standards per 2005 Journal of the Memphis Annual Conference.

8.      APPEARANCE. Our appearance both in and out of the pulpit is important. Cleanliness and proper dress are expected as you model Christian ministry.

9.      CLERGY IN COVENANT. You are a clergy member in good standing in this district. As such, you are expected to:
         A. Attend district clergy meetings, as scheduled.
         B. Submit reports as requested, and on time.
         C. Have a positive attitude towards the local, conference, and general church. Support the functions not generally spelled out in this letter.
         D.  Meet with the District Lay Resource Leader in your church at least once a year. S/he is a conference staff person assigned to assess the needs of the local church and to consult with the pastor and church leaders (2008 Journal ). An office is being established at the district office for this position.
     E.  Be an encouragement by example and attitude to others in the ministerial family.
     F.  Support district programs and promotions.

10. BE A STUDENT. Develop a reading and study program and build disciplines of study. It is only by study and prayer that we can live more faithfully and serve more responsibly in the world. To quote Madeleine L’Engle, “We name ourselves by the choices we make.”

11. BE A TIME MANAGER. Study and implement principles of time and self-management that will enhance your ministry and life. Don’t be late. To quote Mr. Wesley: “Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time.”

12. FINANCES. Care for your personal finances in such a way that will not bring embarrassment to you or the church, and keep your personal obligations current. While you are not the chair of finance at your local church, you do have the responsibility to see that local finances are properly monitored and procedures followed. You are to give motivation and guidance to see that all budgets and apportionments are paid in full.

13. LEADERSHIP. You, as pastor, are expected to give spiritual and missional leadership to the church. You must be able to articulate a vision and give leadership to motivate your congregation to fulfill its mission. There must be planning, directing and implementation which results from your leadership. Learn the art of good delegation.

14. TRAIN THE LAITY. It will be your responsibility to train laity for ministry and to incorporate their gifts in the life of the church. Study the area of spiritual gifts. Building relationships by transparency and vulnerability takes risk, but are essential in establishing trust and leadership. We are servants and the laity are our partners on ministry.

15. GOAL SETTING. Lead your church in setting and reaching goals for church growth. Set realistic goals. Doing one thing well is preferable to doing many things poorly. This is where our district lay resource person can be very helpful to you and your church.

16. FAMILY TIME. You are expected to give time and care to your family responsibilities. Your mate and family are important to us and we want them to have quality time with you.

17. LEISURE/SABBATH. Reserve time during the week for yourself/family/leisure, free from church responsibilities (except emergencies). “Six days shall you enjoy the blessings of work;
on the seventh day, shall you understand that being is as important as doing.” (from the book How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household )

My prayer is that you will have a meaningful ministry as you come to your new assignment. I want you to know I have concern for your ministry, your family and your religious vocation. If I can be of help at any time, please let me know.

Originally Drafted March 2011, Paducah District
Parts adapted from Carlton D. Hansen’s “Expectations for Excellence in Ministry”

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