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District SPRC Workshop: Pastor/Staff/Parish Relations Committee. Rev. Timothy J. Russell, Assistant to the Bishop Presenter. Who is a member of the Staff / Pastor Parish Relations Committee? 5-9 professing members of a local charge

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District SPRC Workshop:

Pastor/Staff/Parish Relations Committee

Rev. Timothy J. Russell, Assistant to the Bishop



Who is a member of the Staff / Pastor Parish Relations Committee?

5-9 professing members of a local charge

At least one member shall be a young adult and one member may be a youth

In addition, the lay leader and a lay member of AC are members

Organized into three classes

The Chair and members are nominated by the Committee

on Lay Leadership and elected by the Charge Conference.

Members of the pastor’s or a staff member’s family are

ineligible to serve.

Only one person from the same household may serve.

Each church on a charge must have representation.


1. To encourage, strengthen, nurture, support,

and respect the pastor(s) and staff

and their family


To confer with, and counsel the pastor(s)

  • and staff on matters pertaining to the
  • effectiveness of ministry; relationships with
  • the congregation; conditions that may impede
  • the effectiveness of ministry; and to interpret
  • the nature and function of the ministry.

to confer with, consult, and counsel the

  • pastor(s) and staff on matters pertaining to
  • priorities in the use of gifts, skills, and time
  • and priorities for the demands and
  • effectiveness of the mission and ministry
  • of the congregation.

Prioritizing The Work Of Ministry

Helping your church reach its fullest potential


The role of the pastor includes preaching, teaching,

administration, pastoral care, overseeing staff,

and much more.

No pastor will excel in every area of ministry and it

would be unrealistic to expect otherwise. Also, the

needs of the local church will vary from place to

place and over time the results of what the church

needs in a pastor will vary.

It is helpful then, to establish some goals for

prioritizing the work of ministry.


The goals for prioritizing the work of ministry are

  • simple:
  • Improve communication between the pastor
  • and the S/PPRC.
  • Clarify the expectations of the S/PPRC with
  • regard to the ministry of the pastor based on
  • the mission of the church.
  • Come to a basic agreement on the areas of
  • ministry which will be priorities for the
  • pastoral leadership

The basic tasks of pastoral ministry are grouped

into 10 major areas. It is important for the pastor

and the S/PPRC to explore these areas and

determine a priority of importance for them.

It is suggested that the pastor and the S/PPRC spend

time working together to establish this order of



The following guidelines should be used:

  • Top Priority – Very important and must be
  • done well.
  • Important – Needs some attention from
  • the pastor.
  • Low Priority – Not the focus of significant
  • energy.

Rules for setting these priorities:

  • No more than three ministry areas may receive
  • a ranking of 1, or Top priority.
  • No more than three of these areas may receive
    • a ranking of 2, or important priority.

Ministry areas:

Spiritual Preparation: Personal prayer, Bible Study,

spiritual retreats, reading for spiritual growth,

receiving spiritual direction, self-care.


Worship Leadership: Preaching, conducting worship,

organizing and planning worship service, creating

inspiring worship, attention to issues such as the

pace and energy of the worship service, assisting

persons to participate in worship, administration

of the sacraments, etc.


Administration: Working with committees, completing

required paperwork, reviewing and revising policies

and procedures, organizing the church, intentional

day-to-day involvement in the financial and facilities

operation of the church, etc.


Discipleship: Teaching, leading Bible studies, serving

as a spiritual director, encouraging those in the church

to grow in their faith, challenging people to tithe,

expanding the number of small groups and/or

Sunday School classes, etc.


Outreach: Involvement in missions, leading the

church to help those in need, participating in

local and /or foreign mission trips, challenging

the church to take seriously the needs of the

homeless, hungry, lower income persons, and

those in poverty or prison.


Evangelism: Spends time with people who are

not yet participating in the life of the church,

challenges the church to reach those not active

in a church, clearly presents the salvation message

of Jesus to others, trains and equips people in the

church to share their faith with others, etc.


Pastoral Care: Hospital and home visitation,

counseling, caring ministry, funerals, contacting

shut-ins, etc.


Leadership: Leading the church into God’s vision

for it, identifying, equipping, and developing

emerging laity leaders, providing a strong sense

of direction for the ministries of the church,

hands on management of staff, casting vision, etc.


Denominational Involvement: Serving on committees

and task groups for the denomination, mentoring

candidates for ministry, attending denominational

meetings, expressing leadership beyond the local

church, etc.


Other: Some churches have special or unique

expressions of ministry that may create a priority

for the pastor. This could be a preschool in which

the pastor is expected to participate in supervision

of staff and providing weekly chapel experience,

a large ministry to homeless persons in which the

pastor is expected to serve etc.


“Okay, We’ve got that part

covered. We have helped the

pastor prioritize ministry.”

What’s next??”


To provide evaluation at least annually

    • for the use of the pastor(s) and staff
    • in an ongoing effective ministry
    • and for identifying continuing educational
    • needs and plans.

Ministry Assessment

And Development Planning Tools

The Ministry Assessment and Development Tool

is an instrument designed to accomplish two goals:

  • Provide a thoughtful and fair process for
  • assessment of pastoral effectiveness that
  • fosters dialogue and understanding.
  • Serve as a vehicle for identifying areas in
  • which effectiveness can be improved and
  • special steps that will help the pastor and
  • church be more fruitful.


Step I: The Assessment Document is distributed

to committee members for their

personal reflection.



Step II: Committee members bring

completed assessment documents

to a meeting where a consensus

document will be completed

outside the pastor’s presence.



Step III: The pastor and committee members

will compare the pastor’s self- assessment and

the committee’s consensus document. Then

the Development Plan will be created.



Step IV: A copy of the committee consensus

document, the pastor’s self assessment, and

the development action plan is mailed to

The District Office.


Three possible ratings:

  • Very Effective: The pastor is highly effective in
    • this area compared to the expectations of the
    • church. The pastor functions at a very high
    • level in this area and is highly competent.
  • Effective: The pastor is effective and fulfills
  • the expectations of the church. The pastor
  • functions well in this area and is competent.
  • Not Fully Effective: The pastor is not fully
  • effective and does not fulfill the expectations
  • of the church. The pastor does not demonstrate
  • consistent competence in this area.

The focus of this process is assessment.

The process is not about personality, but

effectiveness and developing a plan to be

helpful to the pastoral leadership and

the church.

The Goal is to agree upon a focused and shared ministry with a mutual covenant to glorify God in every way.


10 Areas to assess.

  • Spiritual Formation and Self Care:
  • - evidences a commitment to personal prayer,
  • Bible study, and reading for spiritual growth
  • - observes a Sabbath for personal renewal
  • apart from time with family
  • - is open to receiving spiritual direction from others
  • - honors and models healthy life-styles
  • (spiritual, physical, and emotional) for
  • strengthening individual and family health

Worship Leadership:

  • - is an effective preacher and worship leader,
  • organizes and plans worship services with
  • skill and care
  • - creates an inspiring worship
  • time and gives attention to issues such as the
  • pace and energy of the service
  • - includes other persons by encouraging
  • participation in liturgy


  • - works well with committees
  • - completes required paperwork in a timely
  • manner
  • - knowledgeable in policies and procedures
  • - demonstrates intentional involvement in the
  • financial and facilities operation of the church


  • - uses time well and appropriately
  • - is an engaging teacher and Bible study leader
  • - encourages people to grow in their faith;
  • - challenges people to tithe
  • - demonstrates competence in basic theology
  • and Bible studies;
  • - demonstrates a comprehensive spiritual
  • knowledge needed to perform the primary
  • tasks of ministry

Mission Issues:

  • - lives out the mission & values of the UMC
  • in word and deed
  • - leads the church to help those in need by
  • participating in local and/or foreign missions
  • - challenging the church to take seriously the needs of the least, the last, & the lost
  • - leads the congregation in the fulfillment of its mission through full and faithful payment of all apportioned ministerial support, administrative, and benevolent funds

Evangelism: spends time with people who are

  • not yet participating in the life of the church;
  • leads people in discipleship and evangelistic
  • outreach that they might come to know Christ
  • and follow him; trains and equips people in
  • the church to share their faith with others.

Pastoral Care: is attentive to the ministries of

  • hospital and home visitation, counseling,
  • caring ministry, funerals, contacting shut-ins;
  • the pastor enables and partners with the
  • laity in the caring ministry of the church


  • - leads the church into God’s vision
  • for it by identifying, equipping, and developing
  • emerging lay leadership
  • - demonstrates organizational skills; delegates
  • appropriately; understands his/her role and its
  • function within the church
  • - honors confidentiality
  • - relates well to staff; manages conflict in a healthy
  • manner; punctual & prepared for assignments

Denominational and Ecumenical Involvement:

  • - serves on district and/or conference
  • committees
  • - mentors candidates for ministry
  • - attends district and conference meetings
  • - participates in community, ecumenical
  • and interreligious concerns

Team Building and Equipping:

  • - effectively builds teams to multiply ministry
  • - shares credit for successes
  • - seeks out new people to be in ministry
  • - casts vision for positive change
  • - able to build consensus for a new idea and
  • implement it
  • - believes the best days of the church are ahead

To work with the pastor to improve on areas

where improvement is needed. . . .









is a covenant between the Pastor and

the S/PPRC, designed to benefit the

church. It’s purpose is to improve

the effectiveness of the pastor

and in turn, the overall ministry of

the church.


6. To communicate and interpret to the congregation

the nature and function of ministry in The

United Methodist Church regarding open

itinerancy, the preparation for ordained ministry,

and the Ministerial Education Fund.


7. 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

the local church other than the pastor in charge

(see par. 339). Committees shall be encouraged

to develop specific titles for associate pastors

that reflect the job descriptions and expectations.


8. To consult with the pastor and staff concerning

continuing education and spiritual renewal, 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 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.


9. To enlist, interview, evaluate, review, and

recommend annually to the charge conference

lay preachers and persons for candidacy for

ordained ministry (see BOD 247.8 and 310),

and to enlist and refer to the General Board

of Global Ministries persons for candidacy for

missionary service.


Neither the pastor nor any member of the committee

on S/PPR 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 students from the

charge who are preparing for ordained ministry,

diaconal ministry, and/or missionary, and shall maintain

contact with these students, supplying the charge

conference with a progress report on each student.

10. To interpret preparation for ordained ministry

and the Ministerial Education Fund to the



11. 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 the

pastor(s) will be served by a change of pastor(s).

The committee shall cooperate with the pastor(s),

the district superintendent, and the bishop in

securing clergy leadership. Its relationship to the

district superintendent and the bishop shall be

advisory only.

the pprc role in appointment making
The PPRC Role in Appointment Making

Annual Evaluation (due December 1st)

Charge Profile (due December 1st)

Consultation (January – March)

Introductory Visit (April – May)


Appointment Core Values

1. The Church is the body of Christ.

2. The work we are doing is the

work of God.

3. Don’t reward mediocrity.

4. The needs of the local church are priority.


5. The only thing worse than having no pastor

  • is having the wrong pastor.
  • Consultation is very important.
  • Consultation means attempting to gain all
  • information vital to making a correct decision.
philosophy of appointment making
Philosophy of Appointment Making

All that we do and consider will be bathed in prayer.

Church Profiles & Clergy Profiles will be used to match the needs of the church with abilities of the clergy. Make sure your profile is accurate.

Long term appointments are key to healthy congregations.

We will work towards moving only those clergy who want to move or must move due to the request of the church.

Interim pastors will be used to address patterns of dysfunction on the part of a local congregation.

Ineffectiveness on the part of a clergy person will be dealt with by remedial action or suspension.


12. To recommend to the church council, after

consultation with the pastor, the professional

and other staff positions (whether employee

or contract) needed to carry out the work of

the church or charge. The committee and the

pastor shall recommend to the church council

a written statement of policy and procedures

regarding the process for hiring, contracting,

evaluating, promoting, retiring, and dismissing

staff personnel who are not subject to

episcopal appointment as ordained clergy.


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


When persons are hired or contracted, consideration

shall be given to the training qualifications and

certification standards set forth by the general Church

agency to which such positions are related. 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; effective on and after

January 1, 2006, 100% vested pension benefits

of at least 3% of compensation for lay employees

of the local church who work at least

20 hours/week, are at least 21 years of age, and have

at least one year of permanent service. The

church council shall have authority to provide

such pension benefits through either a

nondenominational pension program administered

by the General Board of Pension and Health

Benefits or another pension program administered

by another pension provider.


13. To recommend to the charge conference, when

the size of the employed staff of the charge makes

it desirable, the establishment of a personnel

committee. This committee shall be composed of

such members S/PPRC as it may designate and such

additional members as the charge conference may


14. To educate the church community on the value

of diversity of selection in clergy and lay staff

and develop a commitment to same.


15. Members of the S/PPRC shall keep themselves

informed of personnel matters in relationship

to the Church’s policy, 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 provided by the conference,

the district, and/or other arenas that will enable

them to be effective in their work.


16. 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 a parsonage if in

compliance with the policy of the annual conference)

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, and 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 chairperson of the S/PPRC , the

chairperson of the board of trustees, and the pastor

shall make an annual review of the church owned

parsonage to assure proper maintenance.