Our Pastoral Team
It is biblical for the Church to set apart particular persons for special tasks of leadership. These persons bear witness to an inward call of the Holy Spirit. They are examined and set apart by public ordination, including the laying on of hands after the pattern of the early Church.
These men and women ordained by the Church are characterized by both gifts and graces. Gifts are special endowments of abilities. Graces are special qualities of character. Both have their source in the enabling Holy Spirit. Although the Church must discern and cultivate those who have such endowments, ordination is always first and foremost an act of God’s calling and anointing.
In each assignment, the ordained minister follows the model of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep (John 10:1-18; Ezekiel 34), served willingly and selflessly (1 Peter 5:1-4) and commanded the undershepherds to feed the sheep (John 21:15-17).
Free Methodist ministers may carry out their task under appointment as pastors of particular congregations or they may be given other assignments. In either case, they are called to provide Spirit-filled leadership in the Church to fulfill the Annual Conference Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
A healthy church, reproducing more and better disciples as well as new churches, will be characterized by vital worship, evangelistic and social action, Christian nurture and fellowship. Ordained ministers commit themselves to equipping the whole body of believers to these ends. Biblically and historically, they are set apart for the study and proclamation of the Word of God, intercessory prayer, the winning of persons to Christ, the administration of the sacraments and the defense of the gospel.
Free Methodist ministers under appointment as pastors of churches are called to be leaders of God’s people. Leadership requires vision, daring, moving people to action and living with the turbulence change brings. Pastoral leadership is rooted in a deep love for Christ and His compassion for human need. God’s resources are abundantly available for all who embrace this task in courageous and radical obedience.
Ordained elders may be elected to lead the Church-at-large as bishops or superintendents. Under the direction of the bishop they may also be given other assignments, such as those of general church administrators, chaplains, missionaries, evangelists or theological teachers in universities or seminaries.
Qualifications for Pastoral Ministry
A person called by God enters a vocation which through biblical tradition and Methodist heritage carries significant responsibilities. Dealing with the souls of people and leading the church in making disciples requires a heart attuned to God and others, a mind appropriately informed for the work of ministry, and hands equipped for effective service.
The Free Methodist Church prepares elders and leaders who will serve effectively in any context. Preparing for ministry with a solid education is a rich part of our heritage as Free Methodists and an integral part of developing leaders. A baseline of a Bachelor’s degree (B.S./B.A. or equivalent) and some graduate work in theology is what we envision. We urge our candidates to entrust this part of their journey to one of our AFMEI institutions. While this may not always be possible or practical, still our colleges and universities remain essential partners in shaping the future of the Free Methodist Church.
Outcomes-Based Ordination emphasizes candidate proficiency in 15 areas of qualification for ministry. Candidates will enter this process with varying degrees of preparation and readiness; as such, Ministerial Education and Guidance Boards have the freedom to design formation plans according to the needs of the candidate.
These qualities are intended to assist the church. Ordained ministers should examine themselves in light of these; conferences should publicly review these when designing evaluation and reporting instruments for pastors; Ministerial Education and Guidance Boards should consider these qualities and skills when interviewing and guiding ministers.