The Oklahoma Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church Board of Ordained Ministry

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1 ` Handbook for the District Committee on Ministry Edition 5 May 15, 2017 The Oklahoma Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church Board of Ordained Ministry

2 Preface It is hoped that this handbook will be helpful to the ministry of those who give their time and effort to the work of District Committees on Ministry. Your work is appreciated. Page - 2 -

3 CONTENTS Page 5 The Expectations of Spiritual Leaders in the Oklahoma Conference 10 Official Actions of the District Committee on Ordained Ministry 11 Organization and Responsibilities of the dcom 18 Membership on the dcom 19 dcom Leadership Job Descriptions 22 dcom Interview Guidelines 26 Suggested Questions and Procedures for Interviews 28 Key Words to Know 30 dcom Responsibilities For Interviews 33 Renewal of Certified Candidate 34 Guidelines for Accepting a Certified Candidate from Another Annual Conference 35 Initial Licensing for Pastoral Ministry 36 Renewal of Local Pastor License 37 Certification of Certified Lay Minister 38 Recertification of Certified Lay Minister 39 Recommendation for Associate Membership 40 Recommendation of Local Pastor for Provisional Membership (Alternative Route) 42 Recommendation for Provisional Membership 43 Recommendation for Discontinuance of Licensed Local Pastor 44 Recommendation for Reinstatement of Licensed Local Pastor 45 Recommendation for Re-admittance to Full, Provisional, and Associate Membership 46 Retirement of Local Pastors 49 The Candidacy Process 55 Background Check and Psychological Assessment Procedures for Certification 59 Forms and Reports 60 dcom Action Report to the BOM Registrar 61 Candidate s District File Content Checklist 62 Form 117 Local Church Support for Candidacy 63 Home Pastor s Discernment Tool for Those Considering Ordained Ministry 71 S/PPRC Discernment Tool for Those Considering Ordained Ministry Page - 3 -

4 79 District Superintendent Discernment Tool for Those Considering Ordained Ministry 81 Candidacy Mentor s Report for Certification Interview 82 Candidacy Mentor s Report for Recertification Interview 83 Candidate Discontinuance Report Form Local Pastors 84 Annual Interview for Local Pastors and Certified Candidates 86 Clergy Mentor s Report for Annual Local Pastor s Interview 87 District Superintendent s/guide s Report for Annual Local Pastor s Interview 88 Local Pastor Discontinuance Report Form GBHEM Forms 89 Form 102: Biographical Information 90 Form 103: Medical Report of Ministerial Candidate 91 Form 104: Declaration of Candidacy for Ordained Ministry Charge Conference Recommendation 92 Form 105: Application for Clergy Relationship to the Annual Conference 93 Form 106: Application for Change in Clergy Relationship to the Annual Conference 95 Form 110: COS 2013 Correspondence/Online Enrollment Form 96 Form 111: Studies in UMC History, Doctrine, and Polity Enrollment Form 98 Form 114: Candidate s Disclosure Form 99 Action Outlines 100 (Action Outline 1) Candidacy Certification 101 (Action Outline 2) Candidacy Renewal 102 (Action Outline 3) Local Pastor Approval/License for Pastoral Ministry 103 (Action Outline 4) Local Pastor Continuance Recommendation 104 (Action Outline 5) Local Pastor Reinstatement 105 (Action Outline 6) Provisional Membership Recommendation 106 (Action Outline 7) Associate Member Recommendation 107 (Action Outline 8) Readmission to Conference Relationship 108 (Action Outline 9) Other Denominations Serving in Annual Conference Bounds 109 Unified Yearly Schedule for dcoms Page - 4 -

5 Opening Thomas Jefferson once was asked about a rule that seemed irrational to the person asking Jefferson about it. Jefferson replied that whether a rule was irrational or not did not matter. What mattered was that there was a rule. Jefferson went on to explain that without a rule to follow two things happened. First, no one knew where he or she stood and how to proceed. Second, the absence of a rule left the whole process to the whims of the leader. In this dcom Handbook is an attempt to clarify the rules by which the dcom and those who come before the dcom are to proceed. Without such clarity, no one really knows where he/she stands. The person s condition is left to the whims of others. This is not an acceptable situation. There are several other reasons why this handbook is needed. For instance, we may think that the Discipline of the United Methodist Church is all we need. But, the Discipline is at times seemingly contradictory. The Discipline is also intentionally written to allow the individual Annual Conferences room to develop their own unique ways of doing things. Accordingly, we are forced by necessity to develop a set of guidelines and rules for how the Oklahoma Conference BOM and dcom will function. Finally, one critical thing needs to be kept in mind in the midst of these necessary guidelines and rules. Everyone who comes before the BOM or the dcom should be treated with respect and grace and valued as a brother or sister in Christ. Even no can be said to someone in a spirit of encouragement and love. THE EXPECTATIONS OF SPIRITUAL LEADERS IN THE OKLAHOMA CONFERENCE God s call to ministry is inherent in each person s baptism. All baptized believers have spiritual gifts to be used for the work of the body and for the glory of God. Some are called to be spiritual leaders in the faith community. Spiritual leaders invite and equip others to become disciples of Christ Jesus and to live out that discipleship in tangible ways. The call for leaders is always a call to service, never to status or position or for personal validation. In our denomination, this call to service may be expressed through certified, licensed, or ordained ministry. Each ministry is vital to the life and health of the Church. It is the responsibility of the Board of Ordained Ministry to assist persons in the discernment of their call to spiritual leadership, to guide persons in responding to their call, and to evaluate these persons in regard to their readiness for spiritual leadership. Throughout a discernment and training Page - 5 -

6 process, the Board of Ordained Ministry seeks to evaluate and encourage ministerial candidates in the areas of fitness, readiness, and effectiveness. FITNESS Spiritual leaders believe in the Triune God as revealed in scripture and can speak authentically to the personal and corporate meaning of the basic Christian confession that Jesus is Lord. United Methodist leaders in the Oklahoma Conference are in harmony with the teachings of the church in the Wesleyan tradition, such as the Wesleyan perspective on grace, the significance of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and the experience and hope of the Reign of God. In addition, an evaluation of fitness for ministry must include a discussion of the candidate s knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics. Fitness for ministry includes: - An awareness of the work of the Holy Spirit within one s personal life - An ability to communicate clearly - A sound moral character - Psychological and emotional wellness - Personal characteristics such as adaptability, creativity, intelligence, trust in God, authenticity, willingness to cooperate with others, dependability, integrity, leadership, and self-control. READINESS Spiritual leaders have a passion for ministry and the discipline to work hard and complete necessary tasks. Spiritual leaders: - Are able to articulate their call from God to service. - Practice effective stewardship of life. They practice self-care as well as care for others. They give attention to sound financial stewardship. They seek to maintain physical fitness and good health practices. They practice spiritual disciplines and continue to mature in their faith and commitment to Christ. - Uphold the connectional polity of the church, recognizing and supporting the corporate mission of the larger body. - Are committed to a vision of God s reign. - Are growing in their understanding and practice of theology and scripture, United Methodist doctrine, oral communication, written communication, conflict management, time management, administrative skills, and ability to multi-task. EFFECTIVENESS Spiritual leaders make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Effective spiritual leaders: - Have an ability to communicate the faith theologically, ethically, and biblically within the Wesleyan tradition as demonstrated in preaching, teaching, and congregational leadership. Page - 6 -

7 - Have the ability to discern and assist in the cultivation of the spiritual gifts in others, as well as an ability to motivate others to use their spiritual gifts for ministry within the church. - Will practice disciple making through: 1) being responsible for their individual role in the ministries of the church, 2) giving the church opportunities to participate in the ministry of the Gospel, and 3) calling and inspiring the church to participate in those ministries such as evangelism and mission, justice ministries, care and support ministries, and spiritual formation ministries. - Will help the church in its work of growing in worship attendance, professions of faith, and financial stewardship. - Demonstrate a profound inner-sense of calling to ministry. Such a calling bears fruit in terms of transformed lives. **These marks of fitness, readiness, and effectiveness serve as the guideline for the District Committee on Ministry and the Board of Ordained Ministry for the evaluation of ministerial candidates. BUILDING SPIRITUAL LEADERS It is the responsibility of the church to build spiritual leaders in order to be faithful to our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This responsibility lies in three distinct areas: the local church, the district Committee on Ordained Ministry (dcom), and the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM). Every baptized Christian is blessed with spiritual gifts and is called to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some are called out of the people of God for particular and unique forms of ministry: Certified Lay Minister, Local Pastor, commissioned or Ordained Deacon, and commissioned or Ordained Elder. A process of spiritual discernment is to take place not only in those seeking to investigate their calling but also within the local church (through the Staff Parish Relations Committee and Charge Conference), the dcom, and the BOM. At each of these levels, interviewers are encouraged to discern evidence indicative of the nature of each candidate s calling. It is not the responsibility of these bodies to determine who may or may not serve (for all are called to serve), but rather to determine what is the optimal place of service for each candidate. Active service as a lay person in a local church is in no way a negation of the authenticity of God s calling to service in a person s life. It is, however, the responsibility of the local church, dcom, and BOM to discern the fitness, readiness, and effectiveness which is required of those who would seek to serve as licensed or ordained ministers in the life of the church. Understandably, a local church is often excited and proud to have someone from their body sense a call to ministry. However, the local church may be too quick to move that person forward in the journey toward licensed or ordained ministry. Unless a significant discernment process is followed within the local church, a person may be placed into ministry settings that are not appropriate for them, or they may be turned down by the dcom or BOM after they have expended a significant amount of time and money. Therefore, it is necessary for the local church not only to hear a person s call, but also to witness evidence of this call in the early stages of his/her candidacy. Having a clear understanding of the candidate s fitness for ministry will enable local churches to make good decisions regarding the service and ministry potential for each candidate. Page - 7 -

8 It is fundamentally important that both the local church and the District Committee on Ordained Ministry take seriously the work of discerning each candidate s call in determining their suitability for licensed and ordained ministry. Persons who are not ready or fit for these forms of Christian service should not be moved forward in the process. Persons who do exhibit fitness for ministry should be highly encouraged. It is our prayer that local churches, District Committees on Ordained Ministry, and the Board of Ordained Ministry will continue to help those called by God to become strong spiritual leaders who will help us be faithful to our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. (The Book of Discipline, 2016, 120) DISCERNMENT OF CALL We believe that the discernment of the call to licensed or ordained ministry is a spiritual process involving the individual, the local church, the District Committee on Ordained Ministry and the Board of Ordained Ministry. All are partners in discerning the nature of each person s calling. All are called to ministry, but not all are called to licensed or ordained ministry within the church. There are many areas of service within God s church and all are important. THE ROLE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH The Church s mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The local church plays a vital role in the discernment of God s calling for ministry. The local church is entrusted to help every believer discover his/her gifts and the best fit for those gifts in the life of the church. In discerning the nature of each person s call to ministry, there will be some who experience a call to the ministry of the licensed and ordained. Here a deeper level of discernment needs to take place. A person may have gifts similar to those who are certified, commissioned or ordained ministers, but may not have an authentic calling to this form of Christian service. Others may be sensing a strong calling to this form of ministry but may not have a particular set of gifts which will enable them to be effective as spiritual leaders in the United Methodist Church. Or, the person may have certain gifts, but may not be effective because of the presence of psychological or emotional difficulties. The local church, not the dcom or the BOM, provides the best site for this level of spiritual discernment of fitness for ministry to take place. While we celebrate an individual s sense of call to ministry, we also recognize that all Christians are called to ministry. Therefore, local churches need to help potential candidates for licensed or ordained ministry in their discernment of call by looking at the issues of fitness, readiness, and effectiveness. No one is expected to be a finished product at this level, but some evidence is usually there and discernable by the local church. This process of discernment begins when an individual seeks to respond to God s call and shares this with his/her home pastor. Together, they read through the book, The Christian as Minister, discussing the nature of ministry and the candidate s experience of call. The candidate comes before the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee for examination and recommendation to Charge Conference. Wesley s historic questions of ministerial candidates (paragraph 310, The United Methodist Book of Discipline) should be used to guide the interview. At issue is not the presence of call, but the nature of God s calling upon the person s life. The committee is asked to Page - 8 -

9 prayerfully enter into the discernment process with the candidate regarding their fitness, readiness, and effectiveness for ministry. If there is no clear evidence of fitness for ministry, or if there are other concerns raised regarding the potential effectiveness of the individual in the work of a licensed or ordained minister, the SPRC should not recommend this person to the Charge Conference. Saying no at this level does not negate the authenticity of the person s call, but may redirect the person to a more appropriate expression of ministry. The SPRC may offer specific suggestions regarding areas of service. When candidates are approved by the SPRC of their home church, they should be fully encouraged to continue preparing for ministry. The SPRC recommends the candidate to the Charge Conference for approval. Finally, the local church s Charge Conference has the responsibility to recommend that Certified Candidates be recertified annually. Please note that this responsibility is no longer required once the person is serving as a local pastor because the individual will be under the direct supervision of the District Superintendent. However, if the candidate is no longer appointed as a local pastor, he/she turns in the ministerial license and returns to the status of Certified Candidate. In this case, the Charge Conference of the local church must again recommend the individual to the dcom for recertification. GOALS FOR THOSE SEEKING CERTIFICATION - To thoroughly reflect upon one s call from God to service, and to identify the gifts and graces related to the call, and to engage in discussion with others about the call. - To be familiar with the Oklahoma Conference expectations of spiritual leaders in the categories of fitness, readiness, and effectiveness. - To complete the Disciplinary and Conference requirements for certification. - To serve as a spiritual leader within the local church and/or in a District, Conference, or extension ministry setting. GOALS FOR THE DISTRICT COMMITTEE ON ORDAINED MINISTRY - To clarify with the candidate and with local churches the Oklahoma Conference expectations of spiritual leaders in the categories of Fitness, readiness, and effectiveness. - To identify early in the process potential problems or issues that may or will prevent eventual certification, licensing, or ordination. - To encourage those who exhibit evidence of fitness, readiness, and effectiveness for ministry to continue to pursue the call to spiritual leadership within the church. Page - 9 -

10 OFFICIAL ACTIONS OF THE DISTRICT COMMITTEE ON ORDAINED MINISTRY In the Oklahoma Conference, the District Committee on Ordained Ministry plays a significant role in the spiritual discernment of a candidate s fitness, readiness, and effectiveness. In determining a candidate s fitness, readiness, and effectiveness for licensed or ordained ministry, the dcom holds the important responsibility for taking the following actions: Initial interview and entrance into Candidacy Studies ( 310.1) Candidacy certification ( 310.2) Candidacy renewal ( 313), discontinuance ( 314.1), or reinstatement ( 314.2) Recommendation for licensing ( 315) Continuance as a Local Pastor ( 319) or Discontinuance ( 320.1) Local Pastor reinstatement ( 320.4) Recommendation to the BOM for Provisional Membership ( 324) Recommendation to the BOM for Associate Membership ( 322) Readmission to Conference Relationship ( ) Copies of these action forms (as well as all changes of status) must both be kept in the candidate s file and forwarded to the appropriate Conference Registrar, namely, 1) For local pastor concerns, the Local Pastors Registrar 2) For candidacy and elders track, the Elders Registrar, 3) For deacons track, the Deacons Registrar Specific action forms are available at: okumc.org/bomforms Page

11 ORGANIZATION AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE dcom The Position of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the dcom in the Life of the Church The Board of Ordained Ministry is a separate power within the Annual Conference distinct from the Episcopacy and the Superintendents. Judicial Council Decision # 689 from April 23, 1993 states: The operative principles of United Methodist polity and law include the authority of the Annual Conference; the separation of powers of the Episcopacy, the Superintendents, and the Board of Ordained Ministry; and due process. The Constitution clearly states that "The Annual Conference is the basic body in the Church and shall have reserved to it the right to vote... on all matters relating to the character and conference relations of its ministerial members." (Par. 36) The separation of authority and decision making is integral to the United Methodist Constitution and law. While the boundaries can become hazy in any particular situation, the preservation of the separation of powers must be observed. It is the responsibility of the Bishop to make and fix appointments. The Superintendents oversee the ministry of the pastors and churches under their supervision, and the needs both of the parish and the pastors for witness and service. The Board of Ordained Ministry reviews the change in status of candidates for and persons in ordained ministry to the end that ordained ministry's distinctive functions are to be devoted wholly to the work of the Church and the up-building of the general ministry. (Par. 110, 1992 Discipline) The Amenability and Relationship of the dcom to the Board of Ordained Ministry The District Committee on Ordained Ministry functions as a sub-committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry (Discipline, 635.1f). The dcom shall be amenable to the annual conference through the Board of Ordained Ministry (Discipline, 665.1). All actions of the dcom are recommendations to the Board of Ordained Ministry and shall be reported to the Board by the district committee s registrar or chair (cf. Discipline, 665.8). As a subcommittee of the Board of Ordained Ministry, it is the responsibility of the Board to train the dcom in its role and tasks ( 665.1). Accordingly, this dcom Handbook has been developed to assist in that responsibility. Responsibilities The District Committee on Ordained Ministry is responsible for the following: 1. As a candidate enters the Exploring Candidate phase a. Provide the candidate with necessary materials regarding the psychological assessment, background check, consumer credit report, Personal Data Inventory Form, medical report, etc. b. Educate candidate to online application process for Candidacy Studies through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the United Methodist Candidacy and Record Entry System (UMCARES) and how/where to go online at umcares.org. c. Ensure a candidacy mentor or mentoring group has been assigned and is meeting with the candidate. The candidacy mentor(s) will lead the candidate through the Candidacy Guidebook. Page

12 d. Train Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee to evaluate candidates using the Fitness, Readiness, and Effectiveness guidelines prior to SPRC and Charge Conference approval. Either the dcom chair or registrar should train the SPRC chairs in this using the pages in this dcom Handbook from The Expectations of Spiritual Leaders in the Oklahoma Conference through the section entitled Goals for the District Committee on Ordained Ministry and an outline of the candidacy process. e. Evaluate Psychological Assessment, Background Check, Consumer Credit check, Candidates Disclosure Form, etc. as soon as they are received by the registrar. 2. Prior to Certification interview: Prior to the initial phone contact/interview with a person seeking certification: a. Ensure that candidate has been a professing member in good standing of a United Methodist Church or a baptized participant of a recognized United Methodist campus ministry or other United Methodist setting for a minimum of one year b. Ensure that the candidate has read The Christian as Minister with his/her home pastor. c. Ensure that the candidate and his/her mentor have reviewed the document, The Expectations of Spiritual Leaders in the Oklahoma Conference. d. Receive and evaluate the Background Check, Credit Check, Psychological Assessment, and Behavior Guidelines responses. e. If needed, contact the BOM Psychological Assessment Officer to gain clarification on the evaluation and recommendations of the Psychological Assessment. f. Ensure that the candidate has completed and has in his/her dcom file: i. Biographical Information Form (Form 102) ii. Notarized Candidate s Disclosure Form (Form 114) iii. Psychological Assessment iv. Background Check v. Credit Check vi. Statement of Call and Responses to Wesley s Historic Questions in 310.1d (max. of 5-6 pages) vii. Medical Report (Form 103) viii. Responses to the Behavioral Health Questions (BOM policy #36) (Questions are available on the BOM section at okumc.org) ix. Mentor s Report x. Home Pastor s Report (pastor of the body referring the person to dcom) xi. SPRC Chair s Report xii. Charge Conference Report Form xiii. Written Responses to 310.2a and to the statement in 310.2d Initial Phone Contact/Interview: preferably conference call between the dcom chair, the dcom registrar, and the person seeking certification at least one month prior to the certification interview a. Ensure, in conversation with the candidate, that all forms, checks, assessments, written materials, etc. have been completed and are in the candidate s dcom file. If Page

13 all materials are not in the person s file in time to be distributed before the interview, the certification interview must be postponed (cf. BOM policy #2). b. Ensure, in conversation with the candidate, that the candidate has completed the book, Answering the Call Candidacy Guidebook with a mentor or mentoring group. c. Review with the candidate the document, The Expectations of Spiritual Leaders in the Oklahoma Conference in order to be clear about basic concerns that the dcom will be considering. d. Discuss with the candidate what other kinds of general issues, concerns, etc. will be considered at the Certification interview. e. Confirm with the candidate the date, time, and place of the interview. f. Encourage him/her to invite his/her mentor to come with him/her to the interview. The mentor is expected to be present. The mentor should be there to help interpret to the candidate after the interview what happened during the interview. The mentor shall not interfere with the interview. If a member of the dcom is the mentor, the person should: 1) relinquish their role as a dcom member for that interview, 2) absent themselves from the preparation of the committee for the interview, 3) be present with the candidate for the interview, and 4) not vote on the question of certification for that candidate. 3. Certification interview for licensed or ordained ministry. (Fitness for Ministry) ( 310) a. All necessary documents for evaluation should be made available to dcom members at least two weeks prior to the interview for their consideration. b. Receive and discuss report from Candidacy Mentor. The mentor will complete a form (to be supplied) based on the Fitness-Readiness-Effectiveness document. Essentially it will deal with three observations: i. Are some signs designated in the document already present? ii. Are there signs still to be developed? iii. Are there areas of concern? c. Receive and evaluate reports from the background check, psychological evaluation, medical report, notarized statement regarding sexual misconduct or child abuse, consumer credit check, and responses to the Behavioral Health Questions. d. Meet with the candidate to discuss above reports as well as their written response to questions regarding their call to ministry, personal beliefs, and gifts for the ministry in 310.2a and to the statement in 310.2d e. Evaluate the candidates fitness for ministry for certified, licensed or ordained ministry using the Fitness, Readiness, and Effectiveness guidelines. f. If recommending certification for ordained ministry, a written ballot with a ¾ majority needed for approval is required. (Fitness for Ministry) g. If denying certification, inform the candidate: i. The main reason(s) for denying, Page

14 ii. Indicate whether or not they should reapply iii. If they were reapplying, when or under what conditions that could happen h. Following certification, the dcom will work with the candidate in the development of a plan for education (cf ). i. Review the candidate s service setting and determining whether this setting provides sufficient opportunity for growth in the areas of Fitness, Readiness, and Effectiveness. j. Review with the candidate the document, Expectations of Spiritual Leaders, with the reminder that it is on the signs of Fitness, Readiness, and Effectiveness that the candidate will ultimately be evaluated. k. If candidate is approved for certification, give the candidate a BOM Scholarship Information Sheet. l. UMCARES submission of form 113 (Completion of Candidacy) 4. Recommend for licensing for pastoral ministry (Readiness for Ministry) ( 315) a. Ensure that candidate has submitted to the District Committee registrar all required forms and statements. b. May be done in conjunction with certification interview if the following are met. c. Only those who have been recommended for licensing for pastoral ministry may attend the Local Pastor s Licensing School (LPLS) or Bi-Vocational Pastor s Academy. d. The license must be renewed annually ( 316.2) e. The license remains valid only so long as the appointment continues ( 316.3) f. Receive from the candidate a certificate of good health on the prescribed Form 103 by an accredited physician. g. Evaluate person s readiness for ministry using the Fitness, Readiness, and Effectiveness guidelines such as call, theology, personal growth and development, understanding of United Methodist polity, etc. h. Assign a clergy mentor with whom the candidate shall contact at least quarterly. i. If recommending for licensing for pastoral ministry, a written ballot with a ¾ majority needed for approval is required. (Fitness for Ministry) j. Report a vote to license for pastoral ministry on the Action Report to the BOM registrar and send form to Local Pastor s Registrar. k. Once licensed, candidacy process is complete/terminated. 5. Recommend for Continuance as a Certified Candidate (annually) a. Ensure that candidate has submitted to the District Committee registrar all required forms and statements. Page

15 b. dcom must renew certification each year for those not under appointment. If not, the candidate is automatically discontinued. ( 313.1). c. Ensure that candidate has received annual approval from his/her charge conference. d. Review progress made in educational plan for each candidate ( 313.2). e. Continue to evaluate candidate s fitness for ministry using the Fitness, Readiness, and Effectiveness guidelines. f. Certified Candidates who are not under appointment must complete and turn into the dcom registrar Form 114 before their annual interview. A copy of the newly completed Form 114 should be sent to the appropriate BOM registrar annually. g. A candidate may be continued on a ¾ majority vote of approval for continuance. h. After the dcom votes: i. If the vote is for continuance as a certified candidate, send dcom Action Report form to BOM Elder Registrar. ii. If the vote is for discontinuance as a certified candidate, send dcom Action Report form to BOM Elder Registrar ( 314.1). iii. A vote for discontinuance means that the dcom does not believe that the candidate s call to licensed or ordained ministry matches the call as it is understood by the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church. Options available to the candidate: 1. To explore their call to be a lay member of a congregation 2. To explore their call to licensed or ordained ministry with another denomination 6. Recommend for Continuance as a Local Pastor ( 319) a. Ensure that candidate has submitted to the District Committee Registrar all required forms and statements. b. Review educational plan for each candidate. c. Receive transcript from candidate annually. d. Ensure that candidate is making satisfactory educational progress in college, a program of theological education at an approved seminary, or in the Course of Study. ( ) e. Receive updated biographical statement annually. f. Ensure that candidate is contacting/meeting at least quarterly with Clergy Mentor. g. Receive report from Clergy Mentor annually. h. Continue to evaluate candidate s fitness and readiness for ministry using Fitness, Readiness, and Effectiveness guidelines. i. Continuance as a licensed local pastor requires a written ballot with a ¾ majority vote for approval of continuance. Page

16 j. After the dcom votes: i. If the vote is for continuance as a local pastor, send Action Report form to the BOM Local Pastor Registrar. ii. If the vote is for discontinuance as a local pastor, send Action Report form to the BOM Local Pastor Registrar ( 320.1; 635.3d). iii. A vote for discontinuance means that the dcom does not believe that the candidate s call to licensed or ordained ministry matches the call as it is understood by the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church. Options available to the candidate: 1. To explore their call to be a lay member of a congregation 2. To explore their call to licensed or ordained ministry with another annual conference or denomination 7. Recommend for Associate Membership prior to interviews with the BOM ( 322) a. Ensure that the candidate has met the following disciplinary requirements: ( 322) b. Ensure that candidate has submitted to the District Committee registrar all required forms and statements. c. Evaluate candidate s effectiveness in ministry using the Fitness, Readiness, and Effectiveness Guidelines d. Evaluate candidate s theological readiness to participate in Provisional Members Examination before the Board of Ordained Ministry. Receive and review written answers (max. of 14 pages) to the questions found in Par a-p and had them deemed satisfactory. (Candidates with unsatisfactory answers may be given an opportunity to redo those areas deemed unsatisfactory. However, dcoms shall not recommend persons with unsatisfactory answers to the BOM.) e. The candidate may be recommended to the BOM for Associate Membership. Report that recommendation to the BOM s Local Pastor Registrar using the appropriate report form. f. To be recommended for associate membership requires a written ballot with a simple majority approving recommendation. g. Associate Members may be received as provisional members in the Annual Conference under conditions as set forth in upon receiving a three-fourths majority vote of the clergy members of the annual conference. ( 322.4) 8. Recommend for Provisional Membership prior to interviews with the BOM a. Ensure that candidate has met all disciplinary requirements and educational requirements list in 324. b. Ensure that candidate has submitted to the District Committee registrar all required forms and statements. Page

17 c. Receive and review written answers (max. of 14 pages) to the questions found in Par a-p and had them deemed satisfactory. (Candidates with unsatisfactory answers may be given an opportunity to redo those areas deemed unsatisfactory. However, dcoms shall not recommend persons with unsatisfactory answers to the BOM.) d. Evaluate satisfactory growth in the service setting as evaluated by the District Superintendent, Mentor, and dcom. e. If recommending for provisional membership, a written ballot with a ¾ majority needed for approval is required. f. Use Action Report form to refer those recommended for provisional membership to the appropriate BOM registrar elders track to Elders Registrar; deacons track to Deacons Registrar. Page

18 MEMBERSHIP ON THE DISTRICT COMMITTEE ON ORDAINED MINISTRY ( 666) The dcom is nominated annually by the district superintendent in consultation with the chair of the BOM and approved by the annual conference ( 666.1). The committee shall be comprised of: 1. the chairperson 2. the district superintendent 3. at least six other members of the clergy in the district, including women and ethnic clergy. 4. Local Pastors who have completed the COS MAY serve as members of the dcom where possible, at least one deacon in full connection 6. where possible, at least one clergyperson who is age 35 or under 7. at least one person, preferably other than the chair or registrar, who is a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry and who is appointed by the BOM as its representative on the dcom 8. at least three professing members of local churches The district superintendent, in consultation with the chair of the BOM, may nominate the chair and registrar of the district committee to the dcom. Any persons nominated must be elected by the dcom at its first meeting following Annual Conference. All persons in leadership on the dcom shall be elected by the dcom at the first meeting following annual conference session when the members are elected ( 666.2). It is suggested that dcom chairs should not serve more than four years consecutively. Page

19 dcom LEADERSHIP JOB DESCRIPTIONS Chairperson Sets date and place for meetings. Leads nomination process for other dcom officers. Trains SPRC chairs about The Expectations of Spiritual Leaders in the Oklahoma Conference document, candidacy, and candidacy interviews in the SPRC and Charge Conference. Ensure that candidates entering the Exploring Candidate phase receive all necessary instruction and support. Schedules and conducts with the registrar Initial Phone Contact/Interview for candidates requesting an interview for certification and schedules Certification Interviews with candidates who have completed the candidacy process and submitted all required documents. All documents are due one month prior to the interview. Sets the agenda and presides at the meetings. Makes sure that all dcom leaders are following through on their responsibilities. Makes sure that the dcom interviews candidates at the appropriate time with the appropriate documents in hand. Works with the district superintendent and the dcom in the assignment of candidacy mentors and clergy mentors. Corresponds with candidates regarding special needs or concerns. It is preferable, though not necessary, that the chair of the dcom also be a member of the BOM. District Superintendent Nominates in consultation with the chair of the BOM sufficient persons to serve on the dcom in accordance with 666 of the 2016 Book of Discipline Receives letter from candidate with a statement of call and request for admission to the candidacy program. (copy also goes to dcom chair and registrar) Invites those entering Exploring Candidate phase to apply online (umcares.org), or informs the Clergy Development Office who acts in their behalf, then approves the candidate s application. Assigns the candidacy mentor to an Exploring Candidate. Presides at Charge Conference where persons are recommended as candidates. Assists the dcom chair in scheduling candidates for the Certification Interview with the dcom. Nominates District Committee on Ordained Ministry members. Communicates slate of persons nominated to elder s registrar of the Board of Ordained Ministry by February 1 st of each year. Nominates dcom chairs and registrar who must be voted on and approved by majority vote of the dcom. Obtains from former districts the files of candidates and local pastors moving to the district. Submits letters of recommendation annually for those seeking continuance as licensed local pastors. Works with dcom Chair in preparation of district candidacy listing for Board of Ordained Ministry Report to the Clergy Session of Annual Conference. Secretary Sends meeting notices, if not done by the chair. Records and sends minutes of the meetings to the dcom members. Keeps a file of all dcom minutes. Page

20 Registrar Tracks all candidates as to status. Maintains the official file for each candidate. A Candidacy File Checklist or Local Pastor s File Checklist shall be used to keep a record of documents in each candidate s file. Record keeping procedures shall be governed by the Guidelines for Keeping Ordained Clergy and Diaconal Ministry Personnel Records in the United Methodist Church, prepared by GCFA. All documents are to be uploaded to the Pathways to Ministry website under the direction of GCFA. Following the district superintendent s and dcom chair s receipt of an application letter from a potential candidate for certification, sends a letter to the candidate that includes the following documents: Expectations of Spiritual Leaders in the Oklahoma Conference, The form, The Candidacy Process in the Oklahoma Conference Biographical Information (Form 102) Psychological assessment, background check, and consumer credit report information and official form Candidate s Disclosure Form (to be notarized; Form 114) Medical Report of Ministerial Candidate (necessary for licensing and recommendation to BOM for Provisional membership) Schedules (with dcom chair) and invites all candidates to annual interviews (recertification, renewal of license and continuation as local pastor, and annual Provisional Members interviews), and sends out appropriate materials: Recertification interview: o Biographical Information Form to candidate o District Committee Annual Interview Form for Local Pastors and Certified Candidates to candidate o Candidacy Mentor s Report for Recertification Interview to candidate s candidacy mentor Local Pastors interview: o Biographical Information Form to candidate o District Committee Annual Interview Form for Local Pastors and Certified Candidates to candidate o Clergy Mentors Report for Annual Local Pastors Interview to candidates clergy mentor Writes letter to each candidate regarding the results of the interview and recommended action with a copy in the candidate s file. Keeps a copy of all forms. Uses the Action Report form to record and report to the Board of Ordained Ministry all actions of the dcom. Keeps a copy of this Action Report Form in the candidate s file. Makes sure that all paperwork is in the file prior to a candidate s interview. Makes sure that the candidate s and local pastor s file is complete. Send files of those recommended for Provisional Membership to appropriate BOM Registrar by certified mail. Coordinator for Certified Lay Ministry ( 271) This position of leadership on the dcom is for those districts who have or who are interested in developing CLMs. Works with the dcom registrar in tracking any district candidates for Certified Lay Ministry Determines that candidates for CLM have been certified as lay speakers Works with the dcom registrar to ensure that candidates for Certified Lay Ministry have meet the following requirements before meeting with the dcom for certification one month prior to the meeting: Page

21 o requirements of o completed a BOM psychological assessment, background check, and consumer credit check that has been received and evaluated by the dcom registrar o completed form 114 (shall be completed annually after certification as a lay minister) o Developed a satisfactory education plan (cf b) Works with dcom registrar to schedule certification interviews with CLMs Works with dcom registrar to schedules recertification interviews with CLMs biannually. Ensures that the biannual recertification interview shall follow the requirements of Form 114 shall also be required. Ensures satisfactory progress in their education plan. Corresponds with candidates regarding results of certification and recertification interviews Know resources, training, etc. available for explanation of CLM and development of those who are Certified Lay Ministers. Page

22 dcom INTERVIEW GUIDELINES Guidelines for preparing for an interview Allow thirty minutes ahead of each interview to review the file, the written documents, and the psychological assessment. Discuss concerns and issues that need to be addressed in the interview. Decide on the most important questions and who will ask each question (do not have the chair or one person ask all the questions). Decide on the size of the interview group. dcom can subdivide for most interviews and then report back a recommendation to total committee for final decision. Refer to the dcom Handbook to make sure all items are in the file prior to the interview. Decide how long the interview will be. Role of the Chair Make sure that prior to scheduling an interview, the necessary papers have been submitted and the psychological assessment is in the file. Welcome the candidate to the interview and introduce by name and church to the dcom. State the purpose of the interview (Introductory Interview, Certification Interview, for recommendation for probationary or associate membership, etc.) Ask members of the dcom to introduce themselves. Ask someone to begin with a prayer. State the time available for the interview and be the time-keeper. The chair may want to ask the first question. A possible first question might be: Tell us about yourself, your sense of call, and where God is leading you. Be careful to involve the members of your committee in asking the questions. After the first question, the chair should focus on process and time-keeping rather than asking questions. Ask someone to close with prayer. Things to remember Decide how to begin the interview. Do not begin with the psychological assessment. Remember that the mentor may not speak in the interview; but he or she may be available to consult with the dcom after the interview with the candidate, at the request of the dcom. (All conversations and information are confidential between candidate and candidacy mentor. Only with candidate s written permission may the candidacy mentor release details of the conversations or other data about the candidate. -BOM Handbook, Chapter 2, page 5.) The candidate does most of the talking. Do not allow other committee members to answer questions or to engage in an argument or discussion with the candidate. This is not a therapy session. Recommendations should be determined by the whole committee after the interview, rather than individual committee members offering advice during the interview, and must be put in writing. Decide how the decision of the dcom will be communicated: having the candidate wait in the hall vs. a phone call and/or letter following the dcom meeting. Evaluate the interview. What was effective in the interview? What would we do differently next time? Were any questions asked that were inappropriate? Page

23 Remember the distinctions between candidates on the elder track and the deacon track. Ask appropriate questions. Board members should construct questions so that the question will be clear to the applicant. If the applicant does not understand the question, the board member should be prepared to reword the question to provide clarity. Board members are encouraged not to use role-play as an interview technique. Direct questions are found to be less confusing for applicants. Maintaining the Integrity of the Interview The interview process is an important element of the decision making process of the board when considering an applicant s request. Because of the importance in the total process the board follows some guidelines in order to maintain the integrity of the interview. Under certain circumstances a board member will be expected to excuse him/herself from the interview process including the discussion and vote following the interview. The board member should notify the convener that s/he will not be present during an interview. The conditions that warrant an absence are as follows: o o The applicant is a relative. The applicant is a current staff member. o The applicant is a close personal friend. o The applicant is a member of the board member s local church Page

24 The Etiquette and Ethics of Asking Questions of Candidates/Probationers Belief: As dcom and BOM members, we are privileged to sit with our peers and with those newly called to ministry, all of us are on a journey to perfection. Prayer: We ask that where God may be at work in each person s life, that we might with great sensitivity, join in. We ask prayerfully that our questions and comments might encourage the candidate to own their part of the journey and that our offering of contingencies might reflect the need we best can articulate for each to move forward in this process. The following reflective questions and comments are meant to remind us of our responsibility in this process: 1. HOSPITALITY. In whatever way we can, our greetings, our prayers, our attempt to invite comfort and the reduction of stress, needs to be foremost in our minds and in our actions. Our first questions, therefore, should be easy to answer. 2. THE SURROUNDINGS. The room needs to be comfortably arranged so that we might be as professional as possible. Computer screens, books, etc. should be closed. We need to give the person our undivided attention. Active listening is a profound act of love. 3. AFFIRMATION. As we spend our designated time with the candidate, we need to affirm growth where we see it and do it in I language. I am proud of the way you took that assignment that you probably did not want to do and learned some things about yourself in the process. Thank you for sharing how you felt about doing it and now, how you have grown in the process? 4. ASKING QUESTIONS. We need to ask questions that elicit more than a yes or no answer. Could you tell us in what ways you are a better preacher after taking Preaching with Presence? If the answer does not reflect an area in which the candidate has been asked to grow, we might follow up with one or two more questions. 5. KNOWLEDGE and SELF AWARENESS. We need to ask only enough questions to tell us whether the person knows the information and only enough questions that tell us whether they are self aware of their issues. We must NOT go on and on when we have enough data that tells us whether they have got it or not. On the other hand, we must NOT just ask fluff questions that avoid the pertinent issues. 6. THE KINDS OF QUESTIONS TOO NICE/TOO TOUGH. This interview is not about being too nice or too tough. It is about asking appropriate questions with kindness and respect so that we can know how far along the person is on their journey. We are there to ask what we do not know about their journey, to note what might be missing, (so that we can frame helpful contingencies) and to affirm God s work through them. 7. CORRECTIONS. If the person does not answer the way we think they should, our job is NOT to correct Page

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