Guidelines for Clergy Practice

As a part of the ongoing work and responsibility of the local church's pastor-parish relations committee (para. 259.2), the appropriate Disciplinary paragraphs and these guidelines should be reviewed annually. Primary responsibility for maintaining these guidelines rests with each individual pastor, as part of his/her covenant relationship within the annual conference.

1. Ethical Conduct

    It is the responsibility of the pastor:

  • To maintain a high moral standard in speech and conduct.
  • To seek to be Christ-like in attitudes and conduct toward all people.
  • Not to set aside personal convictions to win popular support.
  • To be intellectually honest in preaching and teaching, giving credit to the ideas and  words of others.
  • To regard all persons with love and concern, ministering impartially to the needs of all.
  • Not to violate confidences.
  • Not to use the pastoral office to seek, solicit or encourage any bequests, gifts, discounts or other material benefit for the pastor or members of the pastor’s family.

2. Personal Conduct

    It is the responsibility of the pastor:

  • To be attired and groomed so as not to hinder effectiveness as a pastor.
  • To establish living habits which will insure that the parsonage is kept in presentable fashion.
  • To be attentive to the needs and aspirations of the disadvantaged and the victims of injustice and prejudice.
  • To be diligent in the discharge of responsibilities, observing proper work habits and schedules.
  • To share leadership with staff members and duly elected lay persons.
  • To be a pastor to all in the community and encourage the church to participate in community and ecumenical concerns.
  • To consider that his/her primary duty is to the church in which he/she serves.

3. Connectional Support

    It is the responsibility of the pastor:

  • To leave membership lists and all other records in a current and well-organized status upon termination and departure as pastor.
  • To work with the local church leaders to make provisions for the regular assessment of his/her performance.
  • Not to speak disparaging of predecessors or successors or any other United Methodist pastor, nor encourage members in their real or imagined grievances, nor interfere in the work of other congregations.
  • To give loyal support to the pastor of the congregation into which he/she retires.
  • To refrain from performing pastoral functions in any church or charge to which he/she is not appointed, except upon the request of the pastor in charge.
  • To fulfill the obligation to the connectional fellowship of the United Methodist Church, giving full support to its efforts to extend the Kingdom of God.
  • To interpret to the congregations their responsibilities to the denomination.
  • To support and interpret the appointive system.
  • To become familiar with the mission, programs, structure and missions of the district and annual conference.