The Board of Ordained Ministry of the Missouri Conference has a complete set of policies for the interviewing and credentialing of persons entering the ministry. In conjunction with the Task Force on Covenant Accountability, the Board has enacted several new or revised policies and procedures. What follows is a brief summary of those policies. The full policies are available on the conference web site, www.moumethodist.org.
1. Complete File Interview Policy
Before a District Committee on Ministry (DCOM) or the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM) assesses a candidate, a file must be “properly before the committee.” That requires submitting completed required assessments including background checks, psychological assessments, and other evaluations. A candidate will not be interviewed without a complete file of required evaluations and assessments.
2. Psychological Assessment and Background Check Review Policy
When a psychological report or background check on a candidate is returned with points of concern, there will be an intentional intervention process that will involve the BOM chair, the candidate’s district superintendent, DCOM chair, assessment coordinator, and the coordinator of clergy relations to determine if a candidate is fit for continuing in candidacy and/or ministry.
3. Background Check Information
A satisfactory standardized background check and Safe Sanctuaries certification are required of any person when that person initially seeks to serve in a pastoral role in the local church or extension ministry. The background check includes credit history, criminal history, traffic violations and reference checks. In addition, the background check is required of anyone seeking certified candidacy in the Missouri Conference.
4. Residents in Ministry/Probationary Member Formation
The Discipline mandates that probationary members of the Conference be “involved in a curriculum that extends theological education…to support the practice and work of their ministry and to understand covenant ministry in the life of the Conference….” The Residents in Ministry (RIM) program will assist probationary members to become effective leaders through supervision, mentoring, covenant groups and continuing theological education. The BOM’s newly-revised RIM program will be introduced to the current probationary members at the 2006 Session of Annual Conference.
5. Transfer Policy
While conference-to-conference transfers are effected by the resident Bishop, those seeking to transfer into the Missouri Conference must satisfy all assessments for serving in a pastoral role in the local church or extension ministry including, but not limited to, psychological and background assessments.
6. Ineffective or Exit Process for Clergy
When the Cabinet identifies ordained, commissioned, or licensed clergy who have a pattern of ineffectiveness in ministry, there will be an intervention process. The process will have as its goal developing a precise plan to lead to effectiveness or a plan for exiting the clergyperson by assisting with career counseling and guidance on benefits.