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Church of the Nazarene Trinidad and Tobago District Pastor's Code of Conduct PDF Print E-mail

The Pastor’s Code of Conduct for the Church of the Nazarene in Trinidad & Tobago was formally adopted on May 11, 2011 by the Pastors of the Church of the Nazarene in Trinidad & Tobago District.

 

I.

PREAMBLE: These guidelines provide the basis for a covenant to which all Pastors (Assigned and Un-Assigned) affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene Trinidad and Tobago District shall commit themselves. The purpose of these guidelines is to enhance the dignity of pastoral ministry, and to give greater confidence that pastors belonging to the Church of the Nazarene are committed to standards of excellence and to a high quality of professional service.

 

As Nazarene Ministers we accept the requirements outlined in the Church of the Nazarene Manual http://nazarene.org/files/docs/Manual2009-2013.pdf  412-421:

 

412.  A pastor is a minister (115) who, under the call of God and His people, has the oversight of a local church. A pastor in charge of a local church is an assigned minister. (210)

413. The core duties of a pastor are:

413.1. To pray.

413.2. To preach the Word.

413.3. To equip the saints for the work of the ministry.

413.4. To administer the sacraments.

413.5. To care for the people by pastoral visitation, particularly the sick and needy.

413.6. To comfort those who mourn.

413.7. To correct, rebuke, and encourage, with great patience and careful instruction.

413.8. To seek, by all means, the conversion of sinners, the entire sanctification of the converted, and the upbuilding of God’s people in the most holy faith.

413.9. To administer the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper at least once a quarter. Pastors are encouraged to move toward a more frequent celebration of this means of grace. A licensed minister who has not complied fully with the provisions of 429.7 (see also 802) shall arrange for the administration of the sacrament by an ordained minister. Consideration should be given for extending the Lord’s Supper to homebound persons, under supervision of the pastor.

413.10. To nurture the call that people feel toward Christian ministry and to mentor such persons as are called. This shall include guiding them toward appropriate preparation for ministry.

413.11. To fulfill the expectations of God and the Church for a program of lifelong learning. (435.15)

413.12. To nurture his or her own call through the years of ministry, to maintain a life of personal devotion that enriches his or her own soul, and, if married, to guard the integrity and vitality of that marriage relationship.

414. The administrative duties of a pastor are:

414.1. To receive persons as members of the local church according to 107 and 107.1. 414.2. To have the care of all departments of local church work.

414.3. To appoint the teachers of the Sunday School/Bible studies/small groups in harmony with 145.8.

414.4. To read to the congregation the Constitution of the Church of the Nazarene and the Covenant of Christian Conduct contained in 1-27, 33-39, both inclusive, within each year (114), or have this section of the Manual printed and distributed annually to the members of the church.

414.5. To supervise the preparation of all statistical reports from all departments of the local church, and present promptly all such reports through the district secretary to the district assembly. (114.1)

414.6. To give leadership to the evangelism, education, devotion, and expansion programs of the local church in harmony with the district and general church promotional goals and programs.

414.7. To submit a report to the annual church meeting, including a report on the status of the local church and its departments, and an outline of areas of future needs with recommendations for reference by the church to any of its officers or departments for study and/or implementation in future steps for growth and progress. 414.8. To appoint an investigating committee of three church members in case of accusation filed against a church member.

414.9. To see that all World Evangelism Fund monies raised through the local NMI are remitted promptly to the general treasurer; and that all District Ministries Fund monies are remitted promptly to the district treasurer. (136.2)

414.10. To nominate to the church board all persons who are paid employees of the local church, and to have supervision of the same. (160.1-60.3)

414.11. To sign in conjunction with the church secretary all conveyances of real estate, mortgages, releases of mortgages, contracts, and other legal documents not otherwise provided for in the Manual. (102.3, 103-4.3)

414.12. To notify the pastor of the nearest church when a member or friend of a local church or any of its departments moves to another locality in the same assembly district where vital association with the previous local church is impractical, giving the member’s or friend’s address.

414.13. To arrange, together with the church board, according to plans adopted by the General Assembly and agreed to by the district assembly, for the raising of the World Evangelism Fund and District Ministries Fund apportionments made to the local church; and to raise these apportionments. (38.2, 130, 154)

414.14. The pastor may, when requested by a member, grant a transfer of church membership, a certificate of commendation, or a letter of release. (111-11.1, 112.2, 813.3-13.6)

414.15. The pastor shall be, ex-officio, president of the local church, chairperson of the church board, and a member of all elected and standing boards and committees of the church he or she serves. The pastor shall have access to all records of the local church. (127, 145, 150, 152, 153.1)

415. The pastor shall have the right to a voice in the nomination of all heads of all departments of the local church, and any Nazarene childcare/school (birth through secondary) organization.

416. The pastor shall not contract bills, create financial obligations, count moneys, or disburse funds for the local church unless authorized and directed by majority vote of the church board or by majority vote of a church meeting; such action, if taken, must be approved in writing by the District Advisory Board and shall be duly recorded in the minutes of the church board or of the church meeting. No pastor or any member of his or her immediate family shall be authorized to sign checks on any church account except upon the written approval of the district superintendent. Immediate family shall include spouse, children, siblings, or parents. (129.1, 129.21-29.22)

417. The pastor shall always show due regard for the united advice of the district superintendent and the District Advisory Board. (222.2, 435.2)

418. In case a licensed or ordained minister presenting a credential from another denomination shall, during the interim of sessions of the district assembly, make application for membership in a local church, the pastor may not receive such applicant without first having obtained the favorable recommendation of the District Advisory Board. (107, 225)

419. For the exercise of this office the pastor shall be amenable to the district assembly, to which he or she shall report annually and give brief testimony to his or her personal Christian experience. (203.3, 429.8, 435.9)

420. The pastor shall automatically become a member of the church of which he or she is pastor; or, in case of more than one church in his or her charge, of the church of his or her choice. (435.8)

421. Pastoral Service includes the ministry of a pastor or an associate pastor, who may serve in specialized areas of ministry recognized and approved by the appropriate governing, licensing and endorsing agencies. A member of the clergy called to any of these levels of pastoral service in connection with a church may be considered an assigned minister.

 

II. PASTORS AND THE CHURCH

 

Pastors have a key role within the community of faith, providing leadership in the church’s ministries of worship, discipleship, evangelism, fellowship and stewardship. There is a tri-fold spiritual responsibility of serving as a Prophet who preaches and teaches the Word of God, the Priest who counsels and intercedes for the flock and the Servant- Leader who guides the flock, administrates and advances the Kingdom

 

In light of the fact that Pastors within the Church of the Nazarene exercise considerable influence and power (authority), it is essential that they act at all times with integrity, aware of appropriate boundaries in their relationships with others. The District Advisory Board and District Superintendant serves as the governing body that holds the Pastor accountable for upholding the ethical standards required by the District.

 

III. THE ‘CALL’ TO MINISTRIES OF PASTORAL CARE AND LEADERSHIP

 

Any ministry of pastoral leadership is both a ‘vocation’ and a ‘profession’. As a vocation it is a response to a call from God and the Church to commit ourselves to love and serve others. As a profession it is a commitment to be of good moral character and to acquiring special competence in serving the needs of the community of faith.

 

A ‘profession’ is a group of people engaged in an occupation or calling whose competency depends upon specialized knowledge. A pastor’s ‘specialized knowledge’ is theology – knowledge of/about God. So their professionalism is enhanced by disciplined and prayerful reflection on how Christian faith impacts specific situations in the lives of people. Pastors and other preachers are required to give sufficient time to reading, prayer and theological study so that their spiritual wells do not run dry. Ministering ‘professionally’ means pastors will:

 

*Maintain high standards of knowledge and skill in all the areas of ministry relevant to their placement.

*Offer the best quality care, leadership of worship and preaching of which they are capable;

*Deal appropriately with emotional and spiritual needs;

*Be sensitive to people’s different social contexts and cultures;

*Follow recognized and acknowledged modes of working in specialist areas such as bereavement, trauma and suicide;

*Practise ‘professional humility’ in terms of discussing difficult issues with their supervisor, and referring people to others with greater expertise;

*Be sensitive to the needs and vulnerability of the children and young people.

*Avoid being ‘overbusy’ or monopolisers of ministerial functions or roles. (This lack of true professionalism is sometimes a result of insecurity, or a need to create dependency).

*Manage their time well – seeking a proper balance between personal obligations, church duties, and family responsibilities.

 

Pastors are expected to at least keep bi-monthly meetings with their church boards and attend District organized meetings and training events. “Busyness” is not a valid reason.

Pastors are strongly advised not to practice spiritual abuse:

*Raising offerings for themselves among their parishioners except for Missionary assignments and training;

*Taking advantage of the trust their Parishioners place in them. 

 

IV. Procedures for Ministering to Members of Other Churches

 

Pastors who receive requests from church members to speak at their churches ought to only give final consent after consulting with the member’s Pastor. The member must be informed of the Minister’s intention to speak to their Pastor. (Pastors are to ensure that they and not members of their church makes the request for another Pastor to speak at their church)

 

Where there are differences of opinion between pastors, the District Superintendent should be consulted for a final decision.

 

A pastor who is performing a service in another pastor’s community should inform that pastor of his visit to the community.

 

The Pastor shall not proselytize members of other churches.

 

The Pastor who has an ‘Interim’ or ‘Pulpit Supply’ role shall not encourage personal loyalties; their tenure is temporary and their function is to prepare the congregation for the calling and installation of a new pastor.

 

In the event of finding out that the member of another Nazarene assembly is attending their churches on a regular basis (more than two Sundays in one month); pastors are expected to speak to the Pastor of the attendee’s home church to determine that they know their whereabouts. In the case of church conflict, Pastors should encourage the member to return to their church or if not possible, seek to have them receive their former Pastors blessings and /or release.

 

The Pastor should not take active members of other churches into their membership without the former Pastor knowing in advance.

 

V. Social Behavior of Pastors

 

We recognize that in general, culture, community and religious settings possess both sinful and amoral elements; therefore the Pastor’s social behavior should be informed by biblical principles that will not violate the teachings of the Word of God. Key questions that must be asked are:

 

*Does it glorify God?

*Will it affect my witness?

*Will it be an offense to the Church of God or the Christian Community?

 

'''It is expected that Pastors:'''

 

*Shall not engage in a sexual relationship with anyone other than their spouse.

 

*Have a moral and spiritual commitment to truthfulness, and shall not plagiarize another’s ideas but will acknowledge sources for preaching and written material.

 

*Will organize and administer their work conscientiously, remembering that living in a covenant relationship with God and others means that we keep our promises.

 

*Shall unite the church rather than divide it. They shall neither exchange nor tolerate scandalous, malicious or inaccurate information with or about other persons.

Have a responsibility to provide unbiased pastoral care to those with whom they disagree.

 

VI. Financial Management/ Integrity

 

Personal Finances

 

The Pastor is expected manage their personal finances as a trustworthy steward by giving faithfully to the congregation they serve and being careful in all financial obligations to contract no indebtedness that we will be unable to repay in a timely fashion.

 

Pastors are required to refrain from accepting any gift that might compromise their personal integrity or the congregation’s ministry. (Closer examination) The portion below is yet to be addressed

 

Pastors are expected to create and manage a realistic working budget for their household.

Pastors are barred from complaining about their financial situation and remuneration packages from the pulpit or to members of the congregation.

Pastors are afforded the opportunity to request a fee for their professional services.

 

Church Finances

 

Clergy shall not use church funds and accounts for their personal or private advantage. Adequate accounting shall be made of any funds handled by clergy. All requests for reimbursement (example: medical expenses, travel, continuing education) from the church treasury shall be accompanied by documentation relevant to the expense.

Pastors should not encourage or condone signatories to affix their signatures to blank cheques.

 

Pastors, when making purchases or contracting persons on behalf of the church are expected to work within budget or where outside of budget, reasonably work within the stipulations set by the church board. Churches are not required to honor contracts made by the Pastor which the Board voiced their disapproval against in previous meetings or which cannot be deemed as reasonable or necessary at the time of purchase. The District Advisory Board will be invited to serve as the mediator in such circumstances where the matter cannot be resolved by the Pastor and Board.

 

VII. Pastoral deportment

 

Dress: Ministers should dress appropriately for all occasions in consideration of our Christian principle of modesty as outlined by the Word of God.

Language: The Minister’s language should be in keeping with our Christian standards and must be free from vulgarity, profanity and obscenities.

Public Appearance: The Minister should be presentable at all times. They should be neatly dressed, clean and should avoid wearing clothing containing insignias that are not in keeping with their Christian beliefs.

 

VIII. PREACHING AND TEACHING

 

*Represent accurately the teachings of the Scriptures and of the Church of the Nazarene.

*Takes seriously the traditions of faith and worship of the church, connecting the historic faith to the issues of our day

*Presents the Good News of Jesus Christ in the language and forms of the particular worshipping community

*Being open to challenge and correction from colleagues. Whoever occupies a pulpit is normally under the control of the pastor/s, who will exercise care not to invite persons who may create dissension.

 

IX. RELATIONSHIPS RESPECT FOR PASTORS

 

We demonstrate high levels of respect for fellow pastors.

*Laity and their family

*Other Pastors and Family

*The Community

 

Pastors are expected to be professional in preaching. Calling the names of other creditable Born-Again Christian organizations and pastors that may not carry the same opinions and philosophies as the Church of the Nazarene is not encouraged. This can be considered as “kicking against the pricks.”

 

BALANCING CHRISTIAN MINISTRY WITH MARRIAGE, FAMILY AND FRIENDSHIP

 

Pastors shall give special consideration to their spouse and family, giving them the quality time, love and consideration they need and without imposing undue expectations on them. The primary responsibility of pastors’ spouses is as marital partner and parent to the children, and secondarily as church worker and assistant to the pastor.

 

SELF-CARE AND ‘CARE OF THE CARERS

 

Pastors and other leaders shall take responsibility to maintain their physical, spiritual and emotional health; and to nurture personal relationships which assist them in their wholeness. Physical health requires proper nutrition, adequate sleep, regular exercise, taking at least one day’s Sabbath each week and an annual vacation; and abstaining from the misuse of alcohol or other drugs. Moral and mental health are enhanced by good friendships and good reading, and the disciplined avoidance of such ‘moral cancers’ as pornography on the Net, TV or movies.

 

RELATING TO OTHER LEADERS AND COLLEAGUES

 

*Pastors shall respect the rights and responsibilities of others who share leadership in the Church. Those who have positions of authority over other pastors and staff shall exercise their power justly and in a clearly accountable manner. They shall also respect the professional expertise of members of other disciplines/professions with whom they work in the Church or other institutions.

*Staff members in multiple-staff teams e.g. Senior Pastor and Assistant/Junior Pastor shall not undermine other persons on the staff – especially with the aim of acquiring their position. They shall be loyal to one another, and not encourage gossip about other staff members.

*It is unethical to speak ill of the character or work of another pastor – especially a predecessor or successor. Pastors, counsellors and leaders shall refrain from gossip or slander that is false, degrading, defaming, invasive, or harmful to another’s reputation.

*When there is an actual or potential conflict of interest in matters affecting pastors/leaders, their family or their financial interests, they shall absent themselves at an appropriate time from discussion and decision.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY AND DISCLOSURE

 

*Pastoral counselors shall not breach confidentiality. Confidentiality is not about secrecy. In the context of a pastoral relationship, it is an assurance that pastors/counselors will not share written or spoken information about an individual with other people (except as indicated below), or use it for a purpose other than for which it was collected.

*No one else should have access to confidential matters raised in counseling, without the permission of the counselee.

*Those who preach are encouraged not to disclose information or stories from private counseling with persons who attend their church, except with the counselees’ consent. In the event that the Pastor recognizes that the matter centers on an issue they may have to preach on at any particular time, it will be wise for them to explain their position in advance to the counselee.

 

SEXUAL ETHICS AND SEXUAL ABUSE

 

*'''Sexual harassment:''' any unwelcomed sexual advances or unwelcomed requests for sexual favours, or engagement in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Such contact may include expressions of inappropriate ‘affection’ such as unwelcomed kissing, touching, bumping or patting; sexual assault: any unwelcome sexual behavior that may occur along a continuum from verbal insult to sexual intercourse, that makes a person feel threatened or afraid;

*Sexual conduct prohibited by criminal law; or

*Sexualization of a professional relationship: any interaction, consensual or otherwise, which may include overt or covert seductive speech or gestures, or inappropriate questioning about another’s sexual history.

 

 

CHILD ABUSE

 

Child Abuse is a criminal offence which the Church takes seriously. Allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct involving a child under the age of consent should be reported to the protective services.

 

SPIRITUAL AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE

 

Spiritual and emotional abuse occurs when a group and its leader/s attempt to exercise undue control over a person and make decisions for them which adults normally make for themselves, thereby fostering co-dependent allegiances and behaviors. People’s boundaries are invaded, and the Scriptures are ‘twisted’ to back up the leaders’ assertions or ideas. Such churches/ groups tend to tell their people:

 

*How to conduct their personal lives. All other groups are considered heretical: God is with our group only (and to leave this group is to forsake God)

*Children are often schooled privately so as not to be contaminated by ‘the world’ or ‘other churches’ Our response to victims/survivors of such sects or cults is to offer unconditional grace and acceptance – usually over a long period of time.

 

X. ETHICS AND THE LAW

 

*Termination of employment of staff members should be done ethically.

*In any advertising we will avoid personal aggrandizement or exaggerated claims.

*It is unethical for pastors to break the law or encourage another to do so. The only exception would be in instances of political resistance or civil disobedience.

*Pastors shall inform the District Advisory Board of any matter which may lead to legal action against the Church or its pastors/leaders.

 

UNETHICAL OR UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT: BREACHES OF THE CODE OF ETHICS

 

*Pastors are encouraged to adhere to the District Code of Conduct and where necessary, the guidelines provided in the District Operations Manual and District New Start Manual. *Church Board Members reserve the right to address Pastors on matter relating to the Code of Conduct.

*The District Advisory Board is expected to ensure that Pastors fulfill the codes and where necessary, take appropriate action when they are broken.

 

 

Editorial Note Components of this Code of Conduct represent the recommendations made by Pastors on the Church of the Nazarene Trinidad and Tobago District, Guidelines from the Church of the Nazarene Manual and original work done by John-Mark Ministries http://www.jmm.org.au/articles/8803.htm  (modified to our local context)

 

Editor: Pastor Alviline Matthews-Williams 

 
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