The mission of the Global Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.
Anchored in our belief in Jesus Christ, the Church is of God and will be preserved to the end of time to worship God in spirit and in truth, to faithfully preach God’s Word and offer the holy sacraments, to edify all who believe and encourage them to grow in their lives of holiness and service to others, to minister to those who are in special need, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, to present the world with a clear and compelling invitation to accept Jesus Christ as Lord. All those of every age and station stand in need of the grace that God has promised to extend to others through His Body, the Church. While it is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of individuals, ours is the task of sharing the good news of God as we respond to the summons of Christ in Matthew 28: “As you are going, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you,” even as Christ has promised to remain with us always, “even to the end of the age.”
Following the example of early Methodists, we believe God has raised us up in order to “spread scriptural holiness across the land,” embodying that “grand depositum” of the faith that John Wesley believed had been entrusted to “the people called Methodists,” the continued striving for entire sanctification in our lives. As individual believers in Christ, and as those gathered together in local congregations, our calling is to connect with the communities and the world around us, extending both grace and mercy. Growing in our personal faith, and effectively discipling others, are both life-long expressions of loving the Lord with all of our hearts, all of our being, and all of our minds, as well as loving our neighbor as ourselves.
John Wesley famously declared in his journal on June 11, 1739, “I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.” Since that time Methodists have recognized that at the core of our church’s mission is ensuring that the Good News of Jesus Christ is shared around the globe. From Britain, to the Americas, to the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia, the Methodists who came before us shared Jesus’ message of salvation. Today our mission receives this rich inheritance and moves forward boldly into a new chapter. We recognize the world is the parish of the Global Methodist Church. We are active in advancing the cause of Christ on multiple continents, and our faith communities will continue to do so.
Ours is a global church that recognizes the gifts and contributions of each part of our communion in Christ, working together as partners in the gospel with equal voice and leadership. Learning from each other and sharing best practices across cultures, we follow the admonition of St. Paul that “to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good,” that together we are the Body of Christ, sharing in “an equal concern for one another” (1 Corinthians 12). Our vision of a global church is one marked by mutual love, concern, sharing, and accountability.
We believe that God has called us to live together in a faithful covenant that expresses our commitments both to God and to each other. With John Wesley, we affirm that the scriptures know of no such thing as “solitary religion,” but that we have been designed to grow in our discipleship in the company of others. As a church, we are committed to a connectional organization that is meant to encourage such sharing and accountability, with the end goal of all being partners in the gospel and in our outreach to the world. This connection is founded in both our common doctrinal understandings, as well as in our core mission of sharing the gospel with the world. Towards that end, we celebrate our unity with one another at the table of the Lord that extends across the globe, crossing all boundaries of language, culture, customs, and social and economic distinctions.
God has entrusted His work in this world to the whole people of God. All Christians are called through their baptism to be in ministry to others, both as individuals and as a part of the church, using the gifts and graces with which they have been equipped by the Holy Spirit. Every layperson bears the responsibility for carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), but likewise each have been given the power by God to do so. For like the variety of spiritual gifts described in the scriptures, the diversity of our outreach efforts knows no limit either when we serve Christ with joy and thanksgiving. With other heirs of the Protestant Reformation, we embrace the notion of “the priesthood of all believers” and we call upon both laity and clergy to work together in a partnership of servant hood. As suggested in Ephesians 4:12-13, Christ has not given to pastors the task of doing the ministry by themselves, but of equipping those in the church for such works of service, so that “the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
We believe that it is only as each individual, whether lay or clergy, bears witness to God’s grace that the world may come to know Christ and respond to His invitation to have life in abundance. Each member is therefore expected to be a witness for Christ in the world, a light and leaven in society, and a reconciler in a culture of conflict, identifying with the agony and suffering of the world and radiating and exemplifying the Christ of hope. As the people of God, we must either win the world to Christ, or abandon it to those forces that oppose Him. Beyond the diverse forms of ministry is this ultimate concern: that all persons will be brought into a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ and be renewed after the image of their creator (Colossians 3:10). This means that all Christians are called to minister wherever Christ would have them serve and witness in deeds and words that heal and free. Toward that end, the full participation of all who believe is vital and cannot be evaded if the gospel is to be heard and received.
In light of the mission of the Church and our covenant in Christ, the Global Methodist Church engages the commandment to make disciples of Jesus through an intentional process grounded in Scripture and in our Wesleyan heritage.
The Global Methodist Church defines a disciple as a person whose life reflects the character of Christ and extends the mission of Christ in holy love of God and neighbor. The disciple’s character and practice are informed by the Scriptures, nurtured by the community of faith, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The disciple’s mission is to continue the mission and ministry of Jesus through works of teaching, service, multiplication, mercy, and justice making more obedient disciples who will reflect the character and mission of Christ and expanding the boundaries of Christ’s Kingdom further out into the world.
The goal of transformational discipleship ministry in the Global Methodist Church is to make, develop, and nurture disciples of Jesus Christ through small groups where each person is invited, challenged, supported, and held accountable in living sanctified lives that reflect the practices, character, and mission of Christ.
We recognize that God made all creation and saw that it was good. As a diverse people of God who bring special gifts and evidences of God’s grace to the unity of the Church and to society, we are called to be faithful to the example of Jesus’ ministry to all persons. Inclusiveness means openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the spiritual life of the Church and its service to the community and the world. Therefore, inclusiveness denies every semblance of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or gender (defined throughout this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline by a person’s immutable biological traits identified by or before birth). The services of worship of every local church of the Global Methodist Church shall be open to all persons and church activities wherever possible should take place in facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. Similarly, inclusiveness means the freedom for the total involvement of all persons who meet the requirements of our Book of Doctrines and Discipline in the membership and leadership of the Church at any level and in every place.
Affirming the spiritual dimensions of the ministry of all Christians, it is recognized that this ministry exists in the secular world and that civil authorities may seek legal definition predicated on the nature of the Global Methodist Church in seeking fulfillment of this ministry. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the meaning of “Global Methodist Church,” “the general Church,” “the entire Church,” and “the Church” as used in this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline should be consonant with the traditional self-understanding of Methodists as to the meaning of these words. These terms refer to the overall denomination and connectional relation and identity of its many local churches, the various conferences and their respective councils, boards, and agencies, and other Church units, which collectively constitute the religious system known as Global Methodism. Under the procedures set forth in this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline, the “Global Methodist Church” as a denominational whole is not an entity, nor does it possess legal capacities and attributes. It does not and cannot hold title to property, nor does it have any officer, agent, employee, office, or location. Conferences, councils, boards, agencies, local churches, and other units bearing the name are, for the most part, legal entities capable of suing and being sued and possessed of legal capacities.
The church of Jesus Christ exists in and for the world. The local church is a strategic base from which Christians move out to the structures of society, providing the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs. It is a community of true believers under the Lordship of Christ. It is the redemptive fellowship in which the Word of God is preached by persons divinely called and the sacraments are duly administered according to Christ’s own appointment. Under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, the church exists for the maintenance of worship, the edification of believers, and the redemption of the world. The function of the local church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is to help people to accept and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to live their daily lives in light of their relationship with God. Therefore, the local church is to minister to persons in the community where the church is located, to provide appropriate training and nurture to all, to cooperate in ministry with other local churches, to defend God’s creation and live as an ecologically responsible community, and to participate in the worldwide mission of the church, as minimal expectations of an authentic church. Each local church shall have a definite evangelistic, nurture, and witness responsibility for its members and the surrounding area and a missional outreach responsibility to the local and global community. It shall be responsible for ministering to all its members, wherever they live, and for persons who choose it as their church. Such a society of believers, being within the denomination and subject to its discipline, is also an inherent part of the church universal, which is composed of all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
1. A pastoral charge shall consist of one or more churches that are organized under and subject to the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline of the Global Methodist Church, with a charge conference, and to which a pastor is appointed to serve.
2. A pastoral charge of two or more churches may be designated a circuit or a cooperative parish.
3. When a pastoral charge is not able to be served by an ordained or licensed minister, the bishop, upon recommendation of the cabinet, may assign a qualified and trained layperson to do the work of ministry in that charge. The layperson is accountable to the presiding elder (district superintendent) or another ordained minister appointed to oversee the charge, who will make provision for sacramental ministry. If the assignment is to continue longer than one year, the layperson will begin the process of becoming a certified candidate for ministry, coming under the care of the conference Board of Ministry. The layperson assigned is also accountable to the policies and procedures of the annual conference where assigned.
The Global Methodist Church is a part of the holy catholic (universal) church, as we confess in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. In the church, Jesus Christ is proclaimed and professed as Lord and Savior. All people may attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments and, upon taking the vows of membership, become members in any local church in the connection. In the case of persons whose disabilities prevent them from assuming the vows, their legal guardian[s], themselves members in full covenant relationship with God and the Church, the community of faith, may assume the appropriate vows on their behalf.
The membership of a local Global Methodist church shall include all people who have been baptized and all people who have professed their faith.
1. The baptized membership of a local church shall include all baptized people who have received Christian baptism in the local congregation or elsewhere, or whose membership has been transferred to the local church subsequent to baptism in some other congregation.
2. The professing membership of a local Global Methodist church shall include all baptized people who have come into membership by profession of faith through appropriate services of the baptismal covenant in the ritual or by transfer from other churches and who profess the vows of membership in ¶ 319.
3. For statistical purposes, church membership is equated to the number of people listed on the roll of professing members.
4. All baptized or professing members of any local Global Methodist congregation are members of the Global Methodist Church and members of the church universal.
A Sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. God gives us the sign as a means whereby we receive this grace and as a tangible assurance that we do in fact receive it. The two Sacraments ordained by Christ are Holy Baptism and Holy Communion (also called the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist). We receive the Sacraments by faith in Christ, with repentance and thanksgiving. Faith in Christ enables us to receive the grace of God through the Sacraments, and obedience to Christ is necessary for the benefits of the Sacraments to bear fruit in our lives.
3. For statistical purposes, church membership is equated to the number of people listed on the roll of professing members.
4. All baptized or professing members of any local Global Methodist congregation are members of the Global Methodist Church and members of the church universal.
In keeping with the historic practice of the Christian church, Elders are ordained to oversee the Sacramental life of the church and thus have full authority to preside at celebrations of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Bishops may extend Sacramental authority to Deacons appointed to the office of pastor in a local church or to another specialized ministry setting for the purpose of celebrating the Sacraments. Such Sacramental authority for a Deacon is limited to the appointed ministry setting and is exercised under the oversight and authority of a presiding elder.
Through Holy Baptism we are united in Christ’s death in repentance of our sins; raised to new life in Him through the power of the resurrection; incorporated into the Body of Christ; and empowered through the work of the Holy Spirit to go on to perfection. Holy Baptism is God’s gracious gift to us, flowing from the once for all work of Christ Jesus, and our pledge to follow as His disciples.
Holy Baptism may be performed by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. The outward and visible sign of Holy Baptism is water. Candidates are baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). The inward and spiritual grace is death to sin and new birth to righteousness by faith through union with Christ in His death and resurrection.
Holy Baptism is administered among a gathered congregation. Those present vow on behalf of Christ’s Holy Church to receive the baptized into the Church universal, to grow together in grace, and to remember the profession made and benefits received in Holy Baptism. Candidates for Holy Baptism, and those presenting candidates unable to answer for themselves, shall be instructed in the Christian faith and the meaning of Holy Baptism.
Holy Baptism, as initiation into Christ’s Holy Church, occurs once in a person’s life. Holy Communion serves as the regular and continual affirmation of baptismal vows within the church. Through a service of baptismal remembrance and reaffirmation of baptismal vows people can renew the covenant declared at baptism.
In faithfulness with early Christian practice as well as the Wesleyan tradition, those wishing to receive the Sacrament of Holy Baptism within the Global Methodist Church shall first be asked the following questions:
Do you renounce the devil and all his works, and reject the evil powers of this world?
I renounce them.
Do you repent of your sin, turn to Jesus Christ, and confess Him as your Lord and Savior?
Do you receive and profess the Christian faith as contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments?
Will you obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in them all the days ofyour life by the grace and power of God?
Those who present candidates for Holy Baptism who are unable to answer for themselves will also be asked this question:
Will you nurture these children (persons) in Christ’s Holy Church, that by your teaching and example they may be guided to accept God’s grace for themselves, profess their faith openly, and lead a Christian life?
I (We) will.
The congregation is then asked to affirm their commitment to support the baptismal candidate in the faith.
Will you who witness these vows encourage [these persons] in the faith and do all in your power to support [these persons] in [their] life in Christ?
Baptismal candidates (or those presenting candidates unable to answer for themselves) are then asked to confess their faith as contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
Do you believe in God the Father?
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, [who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again, he ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit, [the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Through the Rite of Confirmation, we personally renew the covenant declared at our baptism, witness to God’s work in our lives, affirm our commitment to Christ and His Holy Church, and receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands enabling our lifelong journey toward holiness. The Apostles prayed for and laid hands on those who had been baptized.
It is the duty of pastors to prepare confirmands, teaching them the basic tenets of the historic Christian faith, the history and theology of the Wesleyan revival movement, and the practical meaning of church membership in agreement with the Transitional Book of Doctrines & Discipline and approved catechism.
Those wishing to become professing members of the Global Methodist Church may present themselves to the pastor of any local congregation and, after any appropriate counsel, be baptized if they have not already done so, and join by professing their faith in Jesus Christ and agreeing to the vows of discipleship. Those wishing to transfer their membership from one congregation of the Global Methodist Church to another may do so by indicating such to the receiving pastor who shall send a request for the transfer to their previous congregation. Persons may also be received by transfer from other denominations in which the Lordship of Christ is affirmed. The pastor in charge has the authority to determine the readiness of any person to assume the vows of membership. A person deferred by the pastor may appeal that decision to the Pastor- Parish Relations Committee or its equivalent. In order to fulfill the mandate to “watch over each other in love,” professing members of the Global Methodist Church shall be encouraged to participate in a class meeting, small group setting, discipleship or other accountability group on a regular basis, as a key part of the fulfillment of their vows of membership.
In addition to taking the vows of baptism (¶ 316) those wishing to become professing members of the Global Methodist Church shall be asked the following questions before being received into the church:
Do you believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
Do you confess Jesus Christ as Savior, put your whole trust in His grace, and promise to serve Him as your Lord?
Do you receive and profess the Christian faith as contained in the Scriptures?
Do you promise, according to the grace given you, to keep God’s holy will and commandments and walk in the same all the days of your life as a faithful member of Christ’s holy church?
Will you be loyal to Christ through the Global Methodist Church and joining with your brothers and sisters around the world do all in your power to fulfill its mission?
Will you be a faithful member of the [Name] Global Methodist Church (or alternatively the [Name], a Global Methodist local church), doing all in your power to strengthen its ministries through your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness as Christ’s representative in this world?
Faithful membership in the local church is essential for personal growth and for developing a deeper commitment to the will and grace of God. As members involve themselves in private and public prayer, worship, the sacraments, study, Christian action, systematic giving, and holy discipline, they grow in their appreciation of Christ, understanding of God at work in history and the natural order, and an understanding of themselves. Faithful discipleship includes the obligation to participate in the corporate life of the congregation with fellow members of the body of Christ. A member is bound in sacred covenant to shoulder the burdens, share the risks, and celebrate the joys of fellow members. A Christian is called to speak the truth in love, always ready to confront conflict in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.
In Holy Communion also known as the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist (from the Greek word for “thanksgiving”), we are invited into fellowship (koinonia) with Christ Jesus who is spiritually present in the whole of the Sacrament; we participate in the communion of saints with the Church universal; and we are given a foretaste of God’s eternal banquet, the marriage supper of the Lamb. The Sacrament may be offered to all who repent of sin and desire to draw near to God and lead a life of obedience to Christ.
Holy Communion is normally celebrated in the midst of the congregation, physically gathered to remember and respond to God’s mighty acts of salvation revealed in Holy Scripture. Local congregations are urged to ensure regular opportunities for the congregation to commune.
The elements of Holy Communion may be taken to those whose condition prevents them from being physically present. When Holy Communion cannot be offered, the Love Feast provides an opportunity for significant fellowship in a wide array of settings. We encourage the use of non- alcoholic wine or juice for Holy Communion. Non-alcoholic juice must be offered as an option where wine is used.
1. Each member is called to fulfill their vows of baptism and membership, being faithful by participating in the spiritual formation, worship, stewardship, and service opportunities each church provides. It is the responsibility of each congregation to establish and communicate clear expectations of their members who share in the partnership (koinonia) of the gospel (Philippians 1:5), and the responsibility of each member or partner to strive to meet those expectations.
2. The pastor is responsible for ensuring that members are cared for by implementing a discipleship process focused on helping members to “go on to perfection” by loving God with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength, and by loving their neighbor as themselves. Pastors are charged with equipping all the members of a congregation to be in ministry by meeting people at their point of need and offering them Jesus (Ephesians 4:11-13).
3. All members of the church are called into a loving accountability with one another. If a member neglects the membership vows, however, the congregation shall use every means of encouraging that member to return to an active faith and to lovingly restore them to the fellowship of the church (Matthew 18:15-17). Each local church shall establish a grace-filled process, approved by the presiding elder (district superintendent), to restore negligent members to full participation in the life of the church. Negligent members may be placed on an inactive roll by a two-thirds vote of the church council.
4. Members placed on the inactive roll may remain in that status for up to two years while every attempt is made to return them to active membership. Members on the inactive roll are suspended from serving on church committees or voting on church matters during that time. If an inactive member does not complete the restoration process or show evidence of desiring to return to a more active status after two years, then the charge conference, with the recommendation of the pastor, may remove the member by a two-thirds vote.
5. Upon the approval of the charge conference congregations may require that individuals’ membership be intentionally renewed on a yearly basis. In such churches, congregants who do not choose to renew their commitment may be placed on the inactive roll of the church (¶ 320.3-4) for up to two years, after which the charge conference may, with the recommendation of the pastor, remove their names from the membership roll by a two-thirds vote.
A member in good standing in any Christian denomination who has been baptized and who desires to unite with the Global Methodist Church shall be received as either a baptized or a professing member. Such a person may be received as a baptized member by notification of transfer from that person’s former church or some certification of Christian baptism, and as a professing member upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith (see ¶¶ 311, 318, 319). In valid Christian baptism water is administered in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit by an authorized person. The pastor will report to the sending church the date of reception of such a member. It is recommended that instruction in the faith, work, and polity of the Church be provided for all such persons. Persons received from churches that do not issue letters of transfer or recommendation shall be listed as “Received from Other Denominations.”
A professing member of the Global Methodist Church, of an affiliated autonomous Methodist or united church, or of a Methodist church that has a concordat agreement with the Global Methodist Church, who resides for an extended period in a city or community at a distance from the member’s home church, may on request be enrolled as an affiliate member of a Global Methodist church located in the vicinity of the person’s temporary residence. The home pastor shall be notified of the affiliate membership. Such membership shall entitle the person to the fellowship of that church, to its pastoral care and oversight, and to participation in its activities. Local churches may decide whether affiliate members may serve on local church leadership including the holding of offices. Affiliate members may not serve as a lay member to the Annual Conference. Affiliate members shall be counted and reported as a professing member of the home church only. A member of another denomination may become an associate member under the same conditions. This relationship may be terminated at the discretion of the church in which the affiliate or associate membership is held whenever the affiliate or associate member shall move from the vicinity of the church in which the affiliate or associate membership is held.
A Constituency Roll shall be maintained in each congregation, comprising four categories of persons: (1) Unbaptized infants (“Cradle Roll”); (2) Individuals over the age of eighteen who have not indicated a desire to become professing members, including the spouses and adult children of professing members, but who are those for whom the local church has a pastoral responsibility; (3) Persons who have attended worship more than twice, or participated more than twice in the ministries of the church, during the previous twelve calendar months (“Potential Members”); (4) Persons who, though unlikely to join the church due to distance or other faith commitments, nevertheless come under the pastoral care of the congregation and are recognized as part of its wider community (“Friends of the Church”). The Constituency Roll shall be reviewed and audited annually.
Duly appointed clergy of the Global Methodist Church, while serving as a chaplain of any organization, institution, or military unit, as an extension minister, or as a campus minister, or while otherwise present where a local church is not available, may receive a person into the membership of the Global Methodist Church under the conditions of ¶ 322. Where possible, before the sacrament of baptism or vows of profession of faith are administered, such appointed minister shall consult with the pastor of the local church (should one be nearby) on the choice of the person concerned. Upon agreement by the pastor, a statement verifying that such sacrament was administered or that such vows were made shall be issued. The baptized or professing member may use the statement to join a local church.
Any candidate for church membership who for good reason is unable to appear before the congregation may, at the discretion of the pastor, be received elsewhere in accordance with the rituals of our church. In any such case lay members should be present to represent the congregation. Names of such persons shall be placed on the church roll, and announcement of their reception shall be made to the congregation.
If a local church is discontinued, the presiding elder (district superintendent) shall transfer its members to another Global Methodist Church or to such other churches as the members may select.
1. Active Membership Roll. Each local church shall accurately maintain a permanent membership record for each baptized or professing member including: a) the person’s name, date of birth, address, place of birth, date of baptism, officiating pastor, and sponsors; b) date of confirmation or profession of faith, officiating pastor, and sponsors; c) if transferred from another church, date of reception, sending church, and receiving pastor; d) if transferred to another church, date of transfer, receiving church, and address of receiving church; e) date of removal or withdrawal and reason; f) date of restoration of professing membership and officiating pastor; g) date of death, date and place of funeral/memorial, place of burial, and officiating pastor.
2. Inactive Membership Roll (¶ 322.3-4).
3. Constituency Roll (¶ 325).
4. Affiliate Membership Roll (¶ 324).
5. Associate Membership Roll (¶ 324).
6. In the case of a union or federated church with another denomination, the governing body of such a church may report an equal share of the total membership to each judicatory, and such membership shall be published in the minutes of each church, with a note to the effect that the report is that of a union or federated church, and with an indication of the total actual membership.
7. All baptism, membership, marriage and funeral records are the property of the local church and cannot be sold. If the church is discontinued, these records are placed in the care of the annual conference.
The pastor shall report to the charge conference annually the names of persons received into the membership of the church or churches of the pastoral charge and the names of persons removed since the last charge conference, indicating how each was received or removed. The church shall be encouraged to audit the membership records annually.
The pastor is encouraged to report annually the names and contact information for professing and baptized members attending colleges and universities to the chaplain or campus minister of such institutions where the church’s ministries exist.
If a member of a local church shall move to another community so far removed from the home church that the member cannot participate regularly in its worship and activity, this member shall be encouraged to transfer membership to a Global Methodist church in the community of the newly established residence. As soon as the pastor is reliably informed of this change of residence, actual or contemplated, it shall be the pastor’s duty and obligation to assist the member to become established in the fellowship of a church in the community of the future home and to send to a Global Methodist pastor in such community, or to the presiding elder (district superintendent), a letter of notification, giving the latest known address of the person or persons concerned and requesting local pastoral oversight.
When a pastor discovers a member of the denomination residing in the community whose membership is in a church so far removed from the place of residence that the member cannot participate regularly in its worship and activity, it shall be the duty and obligation of the pastor to give pastoral oversight to such person, adding the name to the constituency roll (¶ 325) and to encourage transfer of membership to a Global Methodist church in the community where the member resides.
When a pastor receives a request for transfer of membership to another Global Methodist congregation that pastor shall send the proper notification directly to the pastor of the congregation to which the member is transferring, or if there is no pastor, to the presiding elder (district superintendent). On receipt of such notification, the pastor or presiding elder (district superintendent) shall enroll the name of the person so transferring after public reception in a regular service of worship, or if circumstances demand, public announcement in such a service. The pastor of the sending church shall then be notified to remove the member from the roll.
A pastor, upon receiving a request from a member to transfer to a church of another denomination, or upon receiving such request from a pastor or duly authorized official of another denomination, shall (with the approval of the member) issue notification of transfer and, upon receiving confirmation of the member’s reception into another congregation, shall properly record the transfer of such person on the membership record of the local church. If a pastor is informed that a member has without notice united with a church of another denomination, the pastor shall make diligent inquiry and, if the report is confirmed, shall enter “Transferred to a Church of Another Denomination” after the person’s name on the membership roll and shall report the same to the next charge conference.
1. A person whose name has been removed from professing membership by withdrawal, or action by charge
conference, or trial court may ask to be restored to membership in the local church.
2. A person whose membership was recorded as having been withdrawn after becoming a member of another denomination may, when that denomination will not transfer membership, be restored to professing membership by reaffirmation of the membership vows.
3. A person who has withdrawn at his or her own written request may return to the church and, upon reaffirmation of the membership vows, become a professing member.
4. A person whose name was removed by charge conference action may return to the church and, at his or her request, be restored to professing membership in the local church through reaffirmation of the membership vows.
5. A person who withdrew under charges or was removed by trial court may ask to return to the church. Upon evidence of a renewed life, approval of the charge conference, and reaffirmation of the membership vows, the person may be restored to professing membership.
Each local church shall be organized so that it can pursue its primary task and mission in the context of its own community—reaching out and receiving with joy all who will respond to the invitation to follow Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives, encouraging people in developing their relationship with God, providing opportunities for them to strengthen and grow that relationship in spiritual formation, and supporting them to live lovingly and justly in the power of the Holy Spirit as faithful disciples.
In carrying out its mission, adequate provision should be made to evangelize and spread scriptural holiness by: (1) planning and implementing a program of nurture, outreach, and witness for persons and families within and without the congregation; (2) providing for effective pastoral and lay leadership; (3) providing for financial support, physical facilities, and the legal obligations of the church; (4) utilizing the appropriate relationships and resources of the district and annual conference; (5) providing for the proper creation, maintenance, and disposition of documentary record material of the local church; and (6) seeking inclusiveness in all aspects of its life.
1. The basic organizational plan for the local church may be designed by each congregation in such a manner that it provides for a comprehensive program of nurture, outreach and witness to all. In addition to a charge conference, a congregation must have a church council or similar governing board. The charge conference shall determine how to allocate the other responsibilities outlined in this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline.
2. Members of the church’s governing board or council shall be persons of genuine Christian character who love the church, are morally disciplined, are committed to the mandate of inclusiveness in the life of the church, are loyal to the ethical standards of the Global Methodist Church and are competent to administer its affairs. It should include confirmed youth and young adult members chosen according to the same standards as adults. All persons with vote must be professing members of the Global Methodist Church in relationship to the local church where they would be serving. The pastor shall be the administrative officer of the church and, as such, shall be an ex officio member of all conferences, boards, councils, commissions, committees, and task forces, unless otherwise restricted by the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline.
3. Open Meetings. All meetings of official administrative bodies of the local church shall be open to all professing church members. The only exception to this rule is if the committee is dealing with personnel, legal, or contractual issues and a majority of the body votes to close the meeting only for the portion of time that deals with those specific issues. All meetings of the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee or its equivalent shall be closed unless the committee invites another person or persons to meet with it to address a particular issue.
1. Within the pastoral charge the basic unit in the connectional system in the Global Methodist Church is the charge conference. The charge conference shall therefore be organized from the church or churches in every pastoral charge and shall meet at least annually.
2. The membership of the charge conference shall be all members of the church council or other equivalent body of the local church who are professing members of the Global Methodist Church, together with retired ordained ministers and retired diaconal ministers who elect to hold their membership in that charge conference and any others as may be designated in the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline. If more than one church is on the pastoral charge, all members of each church council shall be members of the charge conference.
3. The presiding elder (district superintendent) shall fix the time and place of the meetings of the charge conference and shall preside at the meetings of the charge conference or may designate an elder to preside.
4. The members present and voting at any duly announced meeting shall constitute a quorum.
5. Special sessions may be called by the presiding elder (district superintendent) after consultation with the pastor of the charge, or by the pastor with the written consent of the presiding elder (district superintendent). The purpose of such special session shall be stated in the call, and only such business shall be transacted as is in harmony with the purposes stated in the call. Any such special session may be convened as a church conference.
6. Notice of time and place of a regular or special session of the charge conference shall be given at least ten days in advance by three or more of the following (except as local laws may otherwise provide): from the pulpit of the church, in its weekly bulletin, in a local church publication, by email, or by mail.
7. A charge conference shall be conducted in the language of the majority, with adequate provision being made for translation.
8. A joint charge conference for two or more pastoral charges may be held at the same time and place, as the presiding elder (district superintendent) may determine.
9. The Church Conference. To encourage broader participation by members of the church, the charge conference may be convened as a church conference, extending the vote to all professing members of the local church present at such meetings. It shall be called at the discretion of the presiding elder (district superintendent) or following a written request to the district superintendent by one of the following: the pastor, the church council, or 10 percent of the professing members of the local church. In any case a copy of the request shall be given to the pastor. Additional regulations governing the call and conduct of the charge conference shall apply also to the church conference. A joint church conference for two or more churches may be held at the same time and place as the presiding elder (district superintendent) may determine. A church conference shall be conducted in the language of the majority with adequate provision being made for translation.
1. The charge conference shall be the connecting link between the local church, the annual conference, and the general church and shall have general oversight of the church council(s) and the overall ministry of the local church.
2. The charge conference, the presiding elder (district superintendent), and the pastor shall organize and administer the pastoral charge and churches according to the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline. When the membership size, program scope, mission resources, or other circumstances so require, the charge conference may, in consultation with and upon the approval of the presiding elder (district superintendent), modify the organizational plans, provided that the provisions of ¶¶ 336-337 are observed.
3. The primary responsibilities of the charge conference in the annual meeting shall be to review and evaluate the total mission and ministry of the church, receive reports, elect leaders, and adopt objectives and goals recommended by the church council that are in keeping with the objectives of the Global Methodist Church.
4. The charge conference recording secretary shall keep an accurate record of the proceedings and shall be the custodian of all records and reports and, with the presiding officer, shall sign the minutes. A copy of the minutes shall be provided for a presiding elder (district superintendent), and a permanent copy shall be retained for church files. When there is only one local church on a charge, the secretary of the church council shall be the secretary of the charge conference. When there is more than one church on a charge, one of the secretaries of the church councils shall be elected by the charge conference to serve as its secretary.
5. Each charge is encouraged to be inclusive in the make-up of the council so that all segments of the congregation are represented.
6. The charge conference may establish a limit to the consecutive terms of office for any or all of the elected or appointed officers of the local church, unless the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline sets a specific limit. It is recommended that no officer serve more than three consecutive years in the same office.
7. The charge conference shall examine and recommend to the board of ministry, faithfully adhering to the provisions of this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline, candidates for ordained ministry who have been professing members in good standing of the Global Methodist Church or its predecessors for at least one year; whose gifts, evidence of God’s grace, and call to the ministry clearly establish them as candidates; and who have met the educational requirements. It is out of the faith and witness of the congregation that men and women respond to God’s call to ordained ministry. Every local church should intentionally nurture candidates for ordained ministry, providing for spiritual and financial support, and for their education and formation as servant leaders for the ministry of the whole people of God.
8. The charge conference shall examine and recommend, faithfully adhering to the provisions of this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline, renewal of candidacy of candidates for the ordained
9. The charge conference shall inquire annually into the gifts, labors, and usefulness of the certified lay ministers related to the charge and recommend to the conference Board of Ministry those persons who have met the standards for a certified lay minister.
10. The charge conference shall receive reports annually on all local church organized mission teams and shall forward the combined report through the regular annual local church statistical report.
11. The charge conference shall, in consultation with the presiding elder (district superintendent), set the compensation of the appointed clergy.
12. In preparation for and at the charge conference, it shall be the responsibility of the presiding elder (district superintendent), the pastor, and the lay member(s) of the annual conference and/or the church lay leader(s) to interpret to each charge conference the importance of apportioned funds, explaining the causes supported by each of them and their place in the total program of the Church. Payment in full of these apportionments by local churches is the first benevolent responsibility of the church
13. The charge conference shall receive and act on the annual report from the pastor concerning the church’s membership.
14. In those instances where there are two or more churches on a pastoral charge, the charge conference may provide for a charge or parish council, a charge-wide or parish treasurer, and such other officers, commissions, committees, and task groups as necessary to carry on the work of the charge. All churches of the charge shall be represented on such charge-wide or parish committees or boards. Charge-wide or parish organization shall be consistent with disciplinary provisions for the local church.
15. In instances of multiple church charges, the charge conference shall provide for an equitable distribution of parsonage maintenance and upkeep expense or adequate housing allowance among the several churches.
16. The charge conference shall promote awareness of and concurrence with the Doctrinal Standards and General Rules of the Global Methodist Church (¶¶ 101- 109), and
with policies relative to the Social Witness of the church (¶¶ 201-202).
17. When authorized by the presiding elder (district superintendent) and other relevant annual conference agency, the charge conference may provide for the sponsoring of satellite congregations and the planting of new faith communities.
18. The charge conference shall have such other duties and responsibilities as the General or annual conference may commit to it.
The charge or church conference shall elect by simple majority vote leaders who shall be professing members of the Global Methodist Church in the local church where they would be serving as needed to fulfill the mission of the church. In filling the offices of the church, special attention should be given to the inclusion of women, men, youth, young adults, persons over sixty-five years of age, persons with disabilities, and persons of various racial, ethnic, or tribal identities. Local church offices may be shared between two persons.
If a leader or officer who has been elected by the charge conference is unable or unwilling to perform the duties reasonably expected of such a leader or officer, the presiding elder (district superintendent) may call a special session of the charge conference. The purpose of such special session shall be stated as “Consideration for the removal of person(s) from office and the election of person(s) to fill vacancy(ies).” The Nominations and Leadership Development Committee or another group charged with that responsibility shall meet as soon as possible after the special session of the charge conference has been announced and shall propose person(s) who may be elected if vacancy(ies) occur at the charge conference. If the charge conference votes to remove a person or persons from office, the vacancy(ies) shall be filled in the manner prescribed for elections. When a local church trustee is under consideration for removal and the pastoral charge consists of two or more churches, a church local conference shall be called instead of a charge conference.
1. Out of the professing membership of each local church, there shall be elected by the charge conference a lay leader who shall function as the primary lay representative of the laity in that local church and shall have the following responsibilities:
a) fostering awareness of the role of laity both within the congregation and through their ministries in the home, workplace, community, and world, and finding ways within the community of faith to recognize all these ministries;
b) meeting regularly with the pastor to discuss the state of the church and the needs for ministry;
c) serving as a member of the charge conference and the church council, the Finance Committee, the Nominations and Leadership Development Committee, and the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, where, along with the pastor, the lay leader shall serve as an interpreter of the actions and programs of the annual conference and the general Church (to be better equipped to comply with this responsibility, it is recommended that the lay leader also serve as a lay member of annual conference);
d) continuing involvement in study and training opportunities to develop a growing understanding of the Church’s reason for existence and the types of ministry that will most effectively fulfill the Church’s mission;
e) assisting in advising the church council of opportunities available and the needs expressed for a more effective ministry of the church through its laity in the community;
f) informing the laity of training opportunities provided by the annual conference. Where possible, the lay leader shall attend training opportunities to strengthen his or her work. The lay leader is urged to become a certified lay minister. In instances where more than one church is on a charge, the charge conference shall elect additional lay leaders so that there will be one lay leader in each church. Associate lay leaders may be elected to work with the lay leader in any local church, sharing the responsibilities.
g) The lay leader, at each local church’s discretion, may also serve as the chairperson of the church council or other governing body.
2. The lay member(s) of the annual conference and alternates may be elected annually or to coincide with the conferences of the general church. If the charge’s lay member of the annual conference shall cease to be a member of the charge or shall for any reason fail to serve, an alternate member in the order of election shall serve in place. Both the lay members and the alternates shall have been professing members in good standing of the Global Methodist Church or its predecessor for at least two years and shall have been active participants for at least four years next preceding their election, except in a newly organized church. Churches that become part of an ecumenical shared ministry shall not be deprived of their right of representation by a lay member in the annual conference. The lay member(s) of the annual conference, along with the pastor, shall serve as an interpreter of the actions of the annual conference session. These persons shall report to the church council on actions of the annual conference as soon as possible.
3. The church council or governing board chairperson shall be elected by the charge conference annually. The chairperson shall be a professing member of the Global Methodist Church in the local church where he or she would be serving, and shall have the following responsibilities:
a) leading the council in fulfilling its responsibilities;
b) preparing and communicating the agenda of the council meetings in consultation with the pastor(s), lay leader, and other appropriate persons;
c) reviewing and assigning responsibility for the implementation of actions taken by the council;
d) communicating with members of the council and others as appropriate to permit informed action at council meetings;
e) coordinating the various activities of the council;
f) providing initiative and leadership for the council as it engages in planning, establishing of objectives and goals, and evaluating ministry;
g) participating in leadership training programs as offered by the annual conference and/or district.
h) The church council chairperson shall be entitled to attend meetings of all boards and committees of the church unless specifically limited by the Book of Discipline. The chairperson is encouraged to attend annual conference.
4. In congregations with an alternate system of governance, individuals shall be named to represent the functions fulfilled by a Pastor-Parish Relation and Finance Committee and a Board of Trustees.
1. The church council, or its equivalent governing body, shall provide for planning and implementing a ministry of evangelizing and spreading scriptural holiness through nurture, outreach, witness, and resources in the local church. It shall also provide for the administration of its organization and temporal life. It shall envision, plan, implement, and annually evaluate the mission and ministry of the church. The church council shall be amenable to and function as the administrative agency of the charge conference.
2. Mission and Ministry—Nurture, outreach, and witness ministries and their accompanying responsibilities include:
a) The nurturing ministries of the congregation shall give attention to but not be limited to education, worship, Christian formation, membership care, small groups, and stewardship. Attention must be given to the needs of individuals and families of all ages.
b) The outreach ministries of the church shall give attention to local and larger community ministries of compassion, justice, and advocacy.
c) The witness ministries of the church shall give attention to developing and strengthening evangelistic efforts of sharing personal and congregational stories of Christian experience, faith, and service; communications; certified lay ministers; and other means that give expressions of witness for Jesus Christ.
d) The leadership development and resourcing ministries shall give attention to the ongoing preparation and development of lay and clergy leaders for the ministry of the church.
a) The council shall meet at least quarterly. The chairperson or the pastor may call special meetings.
b) It is recommended that the council make decisions by trying to achieve a consensus driven by the Holy Spirit. If, in the opinion of the chair, a consensus cannot be achieved, then the Council may make a decision by voting with a simple majority as the standard.
4. Other Responsibilities—It will also be the responsibility of the church council to:
a) Review the membership of the local church;
b) Fill interim vacancies occurring among the lay officers of the church between sessions of the annual charge conference;
c) Establish the budget on recommendation of the Finance Committee or its equivalent body and ensure adequate provision for the financial needs of the church;
d) Recommend to the charge conference the salary and other remuneration of the pastor(s)
and staff members after receiving recommendations from the Pastor-Parish (or Staff-Parish) Relations Committee or its equivalent body;
e) Review the recommendation of the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee regarding provision of adequate housing for the pastor(s), and report the same to the charge conference for approval. Housing provisions shall comply with the annual conference housing policy and parsonage standards. Housing shall not be considered as part of compensation or remuneration except to the extent provided for in denominational pension and benefit plans.
5. Membership—The charge conference will determine the size of the church council. Members of the church council shall be involved in the mission and ministry of the congregation. The membership of the council may consist of as few as eight persons or as many as the charge conference deems appropriate. The membership shall include but not be limited to the chairs of the committees responsible for pastor-parish relations, the finances of the church, the management of the church’s properties and assets, the lay leader, the lay member(s) of the annual conference, and all appointed clergy.
6. Quorum—The members present and voting at any duly announced meeting shall constitute a quorum.
As the charge conference determines, there may be elected annually by that conference a Nominations and Leadership Development Committee or its equivalent that is composed of professing members of the local church or the committee’s responsibilities may be assigned to a different group. The responsibility of this committee is to identify, develop, deploy, evaluate, and monitor Christian spiritual leadership for the local congregation. Members of the committee shall engage in and be attentive to developing and enhancing their own Christian spiritual life in light of the mission of the Church. In conducting its work, the committee shall engage in biblical and theological reflection on the mission of the church, the primary task, and ministries of the local church. It shall provide a means of identifying the spiritual gifts and abilities of the church’s members. The committee shall work with the church council or equivalent body, to determine the diverse ministry tasks of the congregation and the skills needed for leadership.
a) The Nominations and Leadership Development Committee shall serve throughout the year to guide the church council on matters regarding the leadership (other than employed staff) of the congregation, so as to focus on mission and ministry as the context for service; guide the development and training of spiritual leaders; recruit, nurture, and support spiritual leaders; and assist the church council in assessing changing leadership needs.
b) The committee shall recommend to the charge conference, at its annual session, the names of people to serve as officers and leaders of designated ministries of the church council required for the work of the church and as the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline of the church requires or as the charge conference deems necessary to its work.
c) The pastor shall be the chairperson. A layperson elected by the committee shall serve as the vice chairperson of the committee.
d) To secure experience and stability, the membership may be divided into three classes, one of which would be elected each year for a three-year term. Retiring members of the committee shall not succeed themselves. Only one person from an immediate family residing in the same household shall serve on the committee. When vacancies occur during the year, successors shall be elected by the church council.
e) In the identification and selection process, care shall be given that the leadership of ministries reflects inclusivity and diversity.
1. As the charge conference determines, there may be elected annually by that conference a Pastor-Parish Relations Committee or its equivalent composed of professing members of the local church or charge, or the committee’s responsibilities may be assigned to a different group. Where the church employs additional program staff beyond the pastor in charge, the committee may be structured as the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, with the same responsibilities. People serving on this committee must be engaged in and attentive to their Christian spiritual development to give proper leadership in the committee’s responsibilities. In conducting its work, the committee shall identify and clarify its values for ministry. It shall engage in biblical and theological reflection on the mission of the church, the primary task and ministries of the local church, and on the role and work of the pastor(s) and staff as they carry out their leadership responsibilities.
2. No staff member or immediate family member of a pastor or staff member may serve on the committee. Only one person from an immediate family residing in the same household shall serve on the committee. The lay leader is automatically a member of the committee.
3. To secure experience and stability, the membership may be divided into three classes, one of which shall be elected each year for a three-year term. The lay leader is exempt from the three- year term on this committee. Members of the committee may succeed themselves for a second three-year term. When vacancies occur during the year, the church council shall elect successors.
4. In those charges where there is more than one church, the committee shall include at least one representative and the lay leader from each local church.
5. The Pastor-Parish Relations Committees of charges that are in cooperative parish ministries shall meet together to consider the professional leadership needs of the cooperative parish ministry as a whole, or one parish-wide Pastor-Parish Relations Committee may be formed.
6. The committee shall meet at least quarterly. It shall meet additionally at the request of the bishop, the presiding elder (district superintendent), the pastor, any other person accountable to the committee, or the chairperson of the committee. The committee shall meet only with the knowledge of the pastor. The pastor shall be present at each meeting of the committee, except where he or she voluntarily excuses himself or herself. The committee may meet with the presiding elder (district superintendent) without the appointed clergy under consideration being present. However, the appointed clergy under consideration shall be notified prior to such meeting with the presiding elder (district superintendent) and be brought into consultation immediately thereafter. The committee shall meet in closed session and information shared in the committee shall be confidential.
7. In the event that only one congregation on a charge containing more than one church has concerns it wishes to share, its member(s) in the committee may meet separately with the pastor or any other person accountable to the committee or the presiding elder (district superintendent), but only with the knowledge of the pastor.
8. The duties of the committee shall include the following:
a. To encourage, strengthen, nurture, support, and respect the pastor(s) and staff and their family(ies).
b. To promote unity in the church(es).
c. To confer with and counsel the pastor(s) and staff on matters pertaining to their effectiveness in ministry; assessing their unique gifts and abilities; priorities in the use of gifts, skills, and time; relationships with the congregation; the person’s health and self-care, including conditions that may impede their effectiveness of ministry; and to interpret the nature and function of the ministry to the congregation, while interpreting the congregation’s needs, values, and traditions to the pastor(s) and staff.
d. To provide evaluation at least annually for the use of the pastor(s) and staff to enhance their effective ministry and to identify continuing educational needs and plans.
e. To communicate and interpret to the congregation the nature and function of ministry in the Global Methodist Church regarding open itinerancy and the preparation for ordained ministry.
f. To develop and approve written job descriptions and titles for associate pastors and other staff members in cooperation with the senior pastor. The term associate pastor is used as a general term to indicate any pastoral appointment in a local church other than the pastor in charge. Committees are encouraged to develop specific titles for associate pastors that reflect the job descriptions and expectations.
g. To arrange with the church council for the necessary time and financial assistance for the attendance of the pastor and/or staff at such continuing education, self-care, and spiritual renewal events as may serve their professional and spiritual growth, and to encourage staff members to seek professional certification in their fields of specialization.
h. To enlist, interview, evaluate, review, and recommend annually to the charge conference lay ministers and persons for candidacy for ordained ministry and to enlist and refer to the appropriate agencies persons for candidacy for missionary service, recognizing that the Global Methodist Church affirms the biblical and theological support of persons regardless of gender, race, ethnic or tribal origin, or disabilities for these ministries. Neither the pastor nor any member of the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee shall be present during the consideration of a candidacy application or renewal for a member of their immediate family. The committee shall provide to the charge conference a list of persons from the charge who are preparing for ordained ministry, lay ministry, and/or missionary service, and shall maintain contact with these persons, supplying the charge conference with a progress report on each person.
i. To confer with the pastor and/or other appointed members of the staff if it should become evident that the best interests of the charge and/or pastor(s) will be served by a change of pastor(s). The committee shall cooperate with the pastor(s), the presiding elder (district superintendent), and the bishop in securing clergy leadership. Its relationship to the presiding elder (district superintendent) and the bishop shall be advisory only. The committee shall not recommend to the presiding elder (district superintendent) or bishop a change of pastor(s) without first discussing its concerns with the pastor(s) involved.
j. After consultation with the pastor, to communicate with the Nominations and Leadership Development Committee when there is a need for other leaders, and/or the church council when there is a need for employed staff, to work in areas where utilization of the gifts of the pastor(s) or staff proves an inappropriate stewardship of time (cf. Acts 6:2).
k. The committee and the pastor shall recommend to the church council a written statement of policies and procedures regarding the process for hiring, contracting, evaluating, promoting, retiring, and dismissing staff personnel who are not ordained clergy subject to episcopal appointment. Until such a policy has been adopted, the committee and the pastor shall have the authority to hire, contract, evaluate, promote, retire, and dismiss non-appointed personnel. The committee shall further recommend to the church council a provision for adequate health and life insurance and severance pay for all lay employees. In addition, the committee shall recommend that the church council provide an equitable pension with local church contribution for lay employees serving at least half time. The church council shall have authority to provide such pension benefits through a denominational pension program.
l. Members of the Pastor-Parish (or Staff-Parish) Relations Committee shall keep themselves informed of personnel matters related to the denomination’s policies, professional standards, liability issues, and civil law. They are responsible for communicating and interpreting such matters to staff. Committee members should make themselves available for educational and training opportunities that will enable them to be effective in their work.
m. To consult on matters pertaining to pulpit supply, proposals for compensation, travel expense, vacation, health and life insurance, pension, housing (which may be a church-owned parsonage or housing allowance in lieu of parsonage if in compliance with the policy of the annual conference), continuing education, and other practical matters affecting the work and families of the pastor and staff, and to make annual recommendations regarding such matters to the church council, reporting budget items to the Finance Committee. The parsonage is to be mutually respected by the pastor’s family as the property of the church and by the church as a place of privacy for the pastor’s family. The committee will follow up to assure timely resolution of parsonage problems affecting the health of the pastor or pastor’s family. The chairperson of the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, the chairperson of the Board of Trustees, and the pastor shall make an annual review of the church-owned parsonage to assure proper maintenance and to give immediate resolution to parsonage issues affecting the family’s health and well-being.
Unless otherwise provided for in the governance structure of a local church, within each congregation of the Global Methodist Church there shall be a Board of Trustees, consisting of at least five professing members of the church representing the gender, race, and age of the congregation, provided that all members shall be of legal age as determined by the relevant and controlling civil law. The pastor of the congregation(s) shall be a member with voice but without vote of the Board of Trustees and may not be counted for the purpose of achieving a quorum or calculating a majority.
1. Election of Trustees. Members of the Board of Trustees of each local congregation may be elected by the charge or church conference to a three-year term, equally divided into three classes, with one-third elected each year. A member of the Board of Trustees may be re-elected for no more than one additional term, and no member may serve longer than six consecutive years.
2. Vacancies and Removal of Trustees. Should a trustee withdraw from the membership of the local church or be excluded therefrom, trusteeship therein shall automatically cease from the date of such withdrawal or exclusion. Should a trustee of a local church or a director of an incorporated local church be unable to carry out their responsibilities, or when he or she refuses to execute properly a legal instrument relating to any property of the church when directed to do so by the charge conference, and when all legal requirements have been satisfied in reference to such execution, the charge conference may by majority vote declare the trustee’s or director’s membership on the Board of Trustees or Board of Directors vacated. Vacancies occurring in the Board of Trustees shall be filled by election for the unexpired term. Such election shall be held in the same manner as for Trustees (¶ 346.1). A vacancy other than the preceding that occurs ad interim may be filled until the next charge conference by the church council.
3. Organization. The Board of Trustees may organize as follows:
a. Within thirty days after the beginning of the calendar or conference year (whichever applies to the term of office), the Board of Trustees shall convene at a time and place designated by the chairperson or the vice chairperson for the purpose of electing officers of the board for the ensuing year and transacting any other business properly brought before it.
b. The board shall elect from its members, to hold office for a term of one year or until their successors shall be elected, a chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary, and, if need requires, a treasurer; provided, however, that the chairperson and vice chairperson shall not be members of the same class; and provided further, that the offices of secretary and treasurer may be held by the same person. The charge conference may, if it is necessary to conform to the local laws, substitute the designations president and vice president in place of chairperson and vice chairperson.
c. Where necessary as a result of the incorporation of a local church, the corporation directors, in addition to electing officers as provided above, shall ratify and confirm by appropriate action and, if required by law, elect as officers of the corporation the treasurer(s) elected by the charge conference in accordance with the provisions of the Doctrines and Discipline. If more than one account is maintained in the name of the corporation in any financial institution(s), each such account and the treasurer thereof shall be appropriately designated.
4. Meetings. The board shall meet at the call of the pastor or of its chairperson at least three times per year at such times and places as designated in the meeting notice at least one week prior to the appointed time of the meeting. Waiver of notice may be used as a means to validate meetings legally where the usual notice is impracticable. A majority of the members of the Board of Trustees shall constitute a quorum.
5. Powers and Limitations. The board shall have the following powers and responsibilities:
a. Oversight, and care of all real property owned by the local church and of all property and equipment acquired directly by the local church or by any group, board, class, commission, or similar organization connected with it. The Board shall not, however, violate the rights of any local church organization elsewhere granted in the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline, nor prevent or interfere with the pastor in the use of any of the said property for religious services or other proper meetings or purposes recognized by the law, usages, and customs of the church. Reflecting the historic understanding of Methodism, pews in the Global Methodist Church shall always be free.
b. The use of a local congregation’s facilities or properties by an outside organization may be granted by the Board of Trustees after consideration of whether the purposes and programs of that organization are consistent with the values of the congregation and the Global Methodist Church.
c. Should the congregation possess a parsonage offered to the pastor for housing, the chairperson of the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, the chairperson or designee of the Board of Trustees, and the pastor shall make an annual review of the church-owned parsonage to assure proper maintenance and to give immediate resolution to parsonage issues affecting the family’s health and well-being. The parsonage is to be mutually respected by the pastor’s family as the property of the church and by the church as a place of privacy for the pastor’s family (¶ 345.8m). The Board of Trustees are responsible to ensure timely resolution of parsonage problems affecting the health and well-being of the pastor or pastor’s family and shall provide that the parsonage be maintained in good condition.
d. Subject to the direction of the charge conference, the Board of Trustees shall receive and administer all bequests made to the local church, shall receive and administer all trusts, and shall invest all trust funds of the local church in conformity with laws of the country, state, or political unit in which the local church is located. Nevertheless, upon notice to the Board of Trustees, the charge conference may delegate the power, duty, and authority to receive, administer, and invest bequests, trusts, and trust funds to a permanent endowment committee or to a local church foundation.
e. The board shall conduct an annual accessibility audit of their buildings, grounds, and facilities to discover and identify any existing physical, architectural, or communication barriers that impede the full participation of people with disabilities and shall make plans and determine priorities for the elimination of all such barriers.
6. Annual Report. The board shall annually make a written report to the charge conference, in which shall be included the following:
a. The legal description and the reasonable valuation of each parcel of real estate owned by the church;
b. The specific name of the grantor in each deed of conveyance of real estate to the local church;
c. An inventory and the reasonable valuation of all personal property owned by the local church;
d. The amount of income received from any income-producing property and a detailed list of expenditures in connection therewith;
e. The amount received during the year for building, rebuilding, remodeling, and improving real estate, and an itemized statement of expenditures;
f. Outstanding capital debts, payoff date, and how contracted;
g. A detailed statement of the insurance carried on each parcel of real estate, indicating whether restricted by co-insurance or other limiting conditions and whether adequate insurance is carried;
h. The name of the custodian of all legal papers of the local church, and where they are kept; i. A detailed list of all trusts in which the local church is the beneficiary, specifying where and how the funds are invested
j. An evaluation of all church properties, including the chancel areas, to ensure accessibility to persons with disabilities, and when applicable, a plan and timeline for resolving barriers to accessibility (¶ 346.5e).
1. As the charge conference determines, there may be elected annually by that conference a Finance Committee or its equivalent composed of the committee chairperson, the pastor(s), a lay member of the annual conference, the chairperson of the church council, the chairperson or designee of the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, a representative of the Board of Trustees to be selected by that board, the chairperson of the ministry group on stewardship (if any), the lay leader, the financial secretary, the treasurer, the church business administrator (if any), and other members to be added as the charge conference may determine. Alternatively, the committee’s responsibilities may be assigned to a different group. The chairperson of the Finance Committee shall be a member of the church council. The financial secretary, treasurer, and church business administrator, if paid employees, shall be members without vote. The positions of treasurer and financial secretary may not be combined and held by one person, and the persons holding these two positions should not be immediate family members. No immediate family members of any appointed clergy may serve as treasurer, Finance Committee chair, financial secretary, counter, or serve in any paid or unpaid position under the responsibilities of the Finance Committee. These restrictions would apply only to the church or charge where the clergy serves.
2. The Finance Committee shall oversee the stewardship of financial resources as their priority throughout the year, seeking as part of the ministry of discipleship to move members toward tithing and beyond, with an attitude of generosity.
3. All financial requests to be included in the annual budget of the local church shall be submitted to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee shall compile annually a complete budget for the local church and submit it to the church council for review and adoption. The Finance Committee shall be charged with responsibility for developing and implementing plans that will raise sufficient income to meet the budget adopted by the church council. It shall administer the funds received according to instructions from the church council. The committee shall carry out the church council’s directions in guiding the treasurer(s) and financial secretary.
4. The committee shall designate at least two persons not of one immediate family residing in the same household to count the offering. They shall work under the supervision of the financial secretary. A record of all funds received shall be given to the financial secretary and treasurer. Funds received shall be deposited promptly in accordance with the procedures established by the Finance Committee. The financial secretary shall keep records of the contributions and payments.
5. The church treasurer(s) shall disburse all money contributed to causes represented in the local church budget, and such other funds and contributions as the church council may determine. The treasurer(s) shall remit each month to the conference treasurer all denominational and conference benevolence funds then on hand. The church treasurer shall make regular and detailed reports on funds received and expended to the Finance Committee and the church council. The treasurer(s) shall be adequately bonded.
6. The Finance Committee shall establish written financial policies to document the internal controls of the local church. The written financial policies should be reviewed for adequacy and effectiveness annually by the Finance Committee and submitted as a report to the charge conference annually.
7. The committee shall make provision for an annual audit of the financial statements of the local church and all its organizations and accounts. The committee shall make a full and complete report to the annual charge conference. A local church audit is defined as an independent evaluation of the financial reports and records and the internal controls of the local church by a qualified person or persons. The audit shall be conducted to reasonably verify the accuracy and reliability of financial reporting, determine whether assets are being safeguarded, and determine compliance with local law, local church policies and procedures, and the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline. The audit may include: 1) a review of the cash and investment reconciliations; 2) interviews with the treasurer, financial secretary, pastor(s), Finance Committee chair, business manager, those who count offerings, church secretary, etc., with inquiries regarding compliance with existing written financial policies and procedures; 3) a review of journal entries and authorized check signers for each checking and investment account; and 4) other procedures requested by the Finance Committee. The audit shall be performed by an audit committee composed of persons unrelated to the persons listed in 2 above or by an independent certified public accountant (CPA), accounting firm, or equivalent.
8. The committee shall recommend to the church council proper depositories for the church’s funds. Funds received shall be deposited promptly in the name of the local church.
9. Contributions designated for specific causes and objects shall be promptly forwarded according to the intent of the donor and shall not be retained or used for any other purpose.
10. After the budget of the local church has been approved, additional appropriations or changes in the budget must be approved by the church council.
11. The committee shall prepare at least annually a report to the church council of all designated funds that are separate from the current expense budget.
The church council may recommend such other committees it deems advisable, whose members are to be elected by the charge conference, including but not limited to: communications committee, discipleship committee, records and history committee, missions committee, memorial gifts committee, and ministries that address the unique needs and interests of both women and men.
1. Each local church of the Global Methodist Church contributes financially to the ministry of the Church beyond the local church through connectional funding. The local church treasurer or designee shall calculate the amount to be remitted in accordance with ¶¶ 349.3 and .4 by January 30 of each calendar year based on the prior year’s local church operating income.
2. Connectional funding shall not include amounts due from the local church for insurance benefits and pension contributions for its pastor(s) and any additional staff who are part of such plans of the Global Methodist Church. Such payments for insurance benefits and pension contributions for plan participants are due in addition to connectional funding remittances by the local church.
3. In calculating the amount of connectional funding to be remitted,
a. the following items are to be included in local church operating income: giving from identified and not identified donors, investment income utilized for operations, building use fees and rental income, and other unrestricted operating income.
b. the following items are to be excluded from local church operating income: benevolences (outside ministries supported by the local church), capital campaign receipts, borrowed funds, fundraisers for non-operating expenses, receipts for reduction of indebtedness, memorials, endowments, and bequests whether restricted or non-restricted, receipts for Global Methodist Church special mission programs, grants and support from other organizations, sales of land, buildings or other church assets, and other non-operating income received.
4. The amount remitted by the local church for connectional funding shall be calculated as follows:
a. For general church connectional funding, not more than 1.5% of local church operating income (see ¶ 349.3) as set by the Transitional Leadership Council or the Convening General Conference;
b. For annual conference connectional funding, not more than 5% of local church operating income (see ¶ 349.3) as set by the Transitional Leadership Council or the respective annual conference.
5. The percentages in ¶ 349.4 shall only be increased upon the vote of two-thirds of the Transitional Leadership Council or of the convening General Conference.
6. Each month the local church shall remit one-twelfth of the annual sum of general church connectional funding and annual conference connectional funding to the Transitional Leadership Council or its designee.
7. The Transitional Leadership Council or its designee may designate a local church as a missional church and exempt such a church from paying general church or annual conference connectional funding for up to five years from the date of designation. Missional churches shall be church plants, church re-starts, or churches located in or serving economically disadvantaged communities.
8. The pastor(s) and leadership of the local church shall interpret connectional funding to the members of the local church so that connectional funding is embraced by such membership and regularly share information with the members of the local church to educate and interpret such connectional funding.
9. The failure of a local church to remit connectional funding in full as calculated annually may result in the Transitional Leadership Council or designee proceeding under ¶¶ 354 to involuntarily disaffiliate the local church from the Global Methodist Church.
1. A new local church may be planted by any lay person or clergyperson of the Global Methodist Church with the consent of the bishop or presiding elder (district superintendent).
A sponsoring local church, or group of local churches, shall be the agent in charge of the project. In the absence of a sponsoring church, an Annual Conference, through its designated leadership, may assume the initiative.
2. Each annual conference may determine the minimum number of members required for the chartering of a new local church.
The bishop shall designate the district to which the new church shall belong.
3. Upon the request of the organizing pastor, the presiding elder (district superintendent) shall call the interested people to meet at an appointed time for the purpose of organizing them into a chartered local church, or may by written authorization designate an elder in the district to call such a meeting.
Following a time of worship, opportunity shall be given to those in attendance to present themselves for membership, whether by transfer or profession of faith. Upon organization, the new local church shall function under the provisions of the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline.
A local church may be transferred from one annual conference to another by a two-thirds vote of the professing members who are present and voting in the church council and the church conference, and a simple majority vote by each of the two annual conferences involved. Upon announcement of the required majorities by the bishop or bishops involved, the transfer shall immediately be effective. The votes required may originate in the local church or either of the annual conferences involved and shall be effective regardless of the order in which taken. In each case an action shall remain effective unless and until rescinded prior to the completion of the transfer by a majority vote of those present and voting.
1. A cooperative parish is a designated geographical area containing two or more local churches that have agreed to work together under unified parish leadership. The pastor and any other appointed clergy or employed staff work as a unified ministry team. Each local church has its own church council, but there is also a parish council consisting of representatives from each local church council that governs the coordinated efforts of the cooperative parish. There will also be a parish-wide Pastor-Parish or Staff-Parish Relations Committee. There may also be other parish-wide committees where financial support, property, or program ministry are shared parish-wide. The presiding elder (district superintendent), with the approval of the bishop, may form a cooperative parish in any suitable ministry setting with the consent of the local churches concerned.
2. The cabinet may organize cooperative parishes and may create appropriate policies and procedures as fits their ministry context.
3. A cooperative parish or yoked parish may be formed with local churches of other denominations, provided that the doctrine and mission of the other denomination does not conflict with those of the Global Methodist Church. Such an ecumenical cooperative parish requires the approval of the appropriate judicatory body within which each local church is a member.
1. Definition. Ecumenical congregations may be formed by a local Global Methodist church and one or more local congregations of other Christian traditions, provided that the doctrine and mission of the other denomination does not conflict with those of the Global Methodist Church. Such congregations are formed to enhance ministry, make wise stewardship of limited resources, and live out the ecumenical spirit in creative ways responsive to the needs of God’s people, as well as to opportunities for expanded mission and ministry. Forms of ecumenical shared ministries include:(a) a federated church, in which one congregation is related to two or more denominations, with persons choosing to hold membership in one or the other of the denominations; (b) a union church, in which a congregation with one unified membership roll is related to two or more denominations; (c) a merged church, in which two or more congregations of different denominations form one congregation that relates to only one of the constituent denominations; (d) a yoked parish, in which congregations of different denominations share a pastor (see ¶ 353.3).
2. Covenanting. Congregations forming an ecumenical congregation shall develop a clear covenant of mission, set of bylaws, or articles of agreement that address financial and property matters, church membership, denominational support and apportionments, committee structure and election procedures, terms and provisions of the pastorate, reporting procedures, relationship with the parent denominations, and matters related to amending or dissolving the agreement. Congregations shall notify the presiding elder (district superintendent) of any amending of the covenant agreement and shall consult with the presiding elder (district superintendent) prior to dissolving the covenant agreement.
3. Connectional Responsibilities. Cabinets, conference staff, and other leaders shall work with ecumenical congregations at their inception and to maintain ongoing avenues of vital relationship and connection to the denominational church, while recognizing that such avenues must also be maintained with the other denominational partners in that congregation.
Central to the integrity of both local congregations and the Global Methodist Church as a whole, the doctrines and discipline of the denomination as outlined in this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline shall be voluntarily and joyfully embraced and practiced by all. Additionally, local congregations covenant to provide connectional funding as set forth in ¶ 349. Congregations that for reason of conscience find themselves unable to do so are accordingly encouraged to affiliate with another Christian denomination more in keeping with their beliefs or practices under the provisions of ¶ 903. Should a congregation consistently advance doctrines or engage in practices not in conformity with this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline or fail to remit in full the connectional funding set forth in ¶ 349, the Transitional Leadership Council or its successor shall have the authority to effectuate such a change independently, provided that the following provisions are met:
1. If the current pastor of the congregation is promoting doctrines or practices contrary to those of the Global Methodist Church, the bishop shall remove the pastor and appoint a pastor who will promote and defend the doctrines and practices of the Global Methodist Church. The bishop shall then allow time for the new pastor to bring the congregation into conformity.
2. If step one proves unfruitful or the pastor is not contributing to the problem, the bishop and presiding elder (district superintendent) shall meet with the church council (or its equivalent) or a larger group of the congregation to identify areas of disagreement over Global Methodist Church doctrines or practices, seeking a resolution of such disagreements and restoration of conformity by the local church. The bishop shall winsomely defend and teach the doctrines and practices of the Global Methodist Church in such engagements.
3. If the local congregation fails to remit its connectional funding in full as calculated annually, the presiding elder (district superintendent) shall meet with the church council (or its equivalent) to encourage remittance.
4. If a resolution of the disagreement proves unattainable or the local church does not remit its connectional funding in full following the meeting with the presiding elder (district superintendent), the local church may be involuntarily disaffiliated from the Global Methodist Church by a two-thirds vote of the Transitional Leadership Council or its successor, by agreement of the bishop, and by an affirmative vote of the cabinet of the conference in which the local church is located.
5. The congregation shall receive timely written notice of the involuntary disaffiliation and may appeal the decision to the Connectional Council on Appeals within sixty days, providing whatever explanations or other details to support their case. During the pendency of any appeal, the involuntary disaffiliation shall be stayed. The determination of the Connectional Council on Appeals shall be final. If no appeal occurs or if the involuntary disaffiliation is affirmed on appeal, the disaffiliation shall take effect immediately.
1. Local congregations formerly aligned with The United Methodist Church may align with the Global Methodist Church through an affirmative vote by the professing members of the congregation present and voting at a duly authorized church conference. The church council shall notify the Transitional Leadership Council of their decision. The affirmative vote must be to endorse the doctrinal standards and Social Witness (¶¶ 101-202) in this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Disciplines and express a desire to be connected and accountable to this church.
2. Other Christian congregations who desire to be connected and accountable to the Global Methodist Church may request to align upon an affirmative majority vote of a congregational meeting to endorse the doctrinal standards and Social Witness (¶¶ 101-202) in this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Disciplines. It is the responsibility of the Transitional Leadership Council to verify the legality of the process used by the local congregation and the congregation’s viability prior to their request being approved.
3. The Transitional Leadership Council shall serve the local church by ensuring all congregations in the Global Methodist Church have: an annual conference and district to which they belong, appropriate supervision, pastoral appointments, and the opportunity to elect through its annual conference delegates to the convening General Conference of the Global Methodist Church. Congregations shall function in their annual conferences and districts under this Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline. Beginning on the effective date of affiliation, local churches shall forward connectional funding to the Global Methodist Church under processes established by the Transitional Leadership Council.
4. Where both a local church and its pastor affiliate with the Global Methodist Church and both desire to continue the pastoral assignment, the Transitional Leadership Council and the bishop in charge will seek to maintain the current clergy appointment for the sake of stability and continuity in this time of transition.
5. The effective date of affiliation of annual conferences and local churches under ¶ 355.1-3 shall be the date established by the Transitional Leadership Council.