Okay, earlier I posted the Responsibilities and Duties of Elders and Licensed Pastors ( 340. BoD). I will leave off the discussion associated with who should be supervising the pastor (SPRC, DS, and BOOM), and instead try to focus on what my skills lead me to prioritize, in concert with the needs of my local church. So this should be a priority list 1-??. You might want to compare that with the earlier post of how it is laid out in the Discipline. Keep in mind Elders have a four-fold ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order and Service within the connection and thus serve in the church and the world.
So maybe I should start with the statement that I believe Word, Sacrament, Order and Service is the correct order of priority, but that the way it plays out, and the understanding of each changes how it is enacted in my ministry.
On with the priority list.
1. To embody the teachings of Jesus in servant ministries and servant leadership.
2. To maintain all confidences inviolate, including confessional confidences except in the cases of suspected child abuse or neglect, or in cases where mandatory reporting is required by civil law.
3. To preach the Word of God, lead in worship, read and teach the Scriptures, and engage the people in study and witness.
4. To be the administrative officer of the local church and to assure that the organizational concerns of the congregation are adequately provided for.
5. To administer the sacraments of baptism and the Supper of the Lord according to Christ's ordinance.
6. To give pastoral support, guidance, and training to the lay leadership, equipping them to fulfill the ministry to which they are called.
7. To lead people in discipleship and evangelistic outreach that others might come to know Christ and to follow him.
8. To visit in the homes of the church and the community, especially among the sick, aged, imprisoned, and others in need.
9. To search out and counsel men and women for the ministry of deacons, elders, local pastors and other church related ministries.
10. To be willing to assume supervisory responsibilities within the connection.
11. To administer the temporal affairs of the church in their appointment, the annual conference, and the general church.
12. To ensure faithful transmission of the Christian faith.
13. To build the body of Christ as a caring and giving community, extending the ministry of Christ to the world.
14. To promote faithful, financial stewardship and to encourage giving as a spiritual discipline.
15. To counsel persons with personal, ethical, or spiritual struggles.
16. To give diligent pastoral leadership in ordering the life of the congregation for discipleship in the world.
17. To encourage the private and congregational use of the other means of grace.
18. To give an account of their pastoral ministries to the charge and annual conference according to the prescribed forms.
19. To be responsible for organizational faithfulness, goal setting, planning and evaluation.
20. To administer the provisions of the Discipline.
21. To care for all church records and local church financial obligations, and certify the accuracy of all financial, membership, and any other reports submitted by the local church to the annual conference for use in apportioning costs back to the church.
22. To conduct funeral and memorial services and provide care and grief counseling.
23. To explain the meaning of the Lord's Supper and to encourage regular participation as a means of grace to grow in faith and holiness.
24. To encourage reaffirmation of the baptismal covenant and renewal of baptismal vows at different stages of life.
25. To lead the congregation in racial and ethnic inclusiveness.
26. To lead the congregation in the fulfillment of its mission through full and faithful payment of all apportioned ministerial support, administrative, and benevolent funds.
27. To encourage people baptized in infancy or early childhood to make their profession of faith, after instruction, so that they might become professing members of the church.
28. To provide leadership for the funding ministry of the congregation.
29. To give oversight to the educational program of the church and encourage the use of United Methodist literature and media.
30. To seek out opportunities for cooperative ministries with other United Methodist pastors and churches.
31. To prepare the parents and sponsors before baptizing infants or children, and instruct them concerning the significance of baptism and their responsibilities for the Christian training of the baptized child.
32. To participate in community, ecumenical and inter-religious concerns and to encourage the people to become so involved and to pray and labor for the unity of the Christian community.
33. To participate in denominational and conference programs and training opportunities.
34. To perform the marriage ceremony after due counsel with the parties involved and in accordance with the laws of the state and the rules of The United Methodist Church. The decision to perform the ceremony shall be the right and responsibility of the pastor.
35. To select and train deacons and lay members to serve the consecrated communion elements.