Our mission from Jesus Christ and the United Methodist Church is to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. At the same time, through our membership vows in an individual church, we are to faithfully participate in the congregation’s ministries by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and service, as well as witness.

     The United Methodist Book of Discipline contains the rules that govern the operation of the denomination and, it also includes the history of United Methodism, and, perhaps most importantly, outlines the doctrines and theology of the Church.

Within The Book of Discipline is a chapter on the local church that includes membership and organization and administration. Within the organization there are several required committees, which are a church council, a committee on pastor-parish relations, a board of trustees, and committees on finance and nominations and leadership development. Other committees may be elected by the charge conference, as needed to fulfill the programs of the church. The charge conference is comprised of active members of the church. The charge conference elects the members of the committees and has general oversight of the church council. It meets annually unless a special meeting is needed. This year’s charge conference is scheduled for Sunday, September 30th at Ionia First United Methodist Church. Worship will be at 2:00pm and the conference will be at 3:00pm. I hope each of you will plan to attend, whether you are a church member who can vote or an interested constituent. Now that you are probably totally confused, I am going to provide a brief job description for each committee. The current committees on nominations and leadership are in the process of recruiting church members to serve on each of these committees. At LeValley, you may be contacted by Pastor Nancy, Roberta Delamarter, Karla Wittenbach, or Ned Kuhlman. At Berlin Center, you may be contacted by Pastor Nancy, Jim Clover, Kim Denny, Dutch Doornbos, or Craig Harder. If you are not personally contacted, but have an interest in serving, please let one of the committee members know.  I hope you will prayerfully consider serving the church in some way.

Committee on Pastor-Parish Relations

 This committee encourages, strengthens, nurtures, supports, and respects the pastor and staff and their families.

 This committee communicates openly and regularly with the pastor, staff, and congregation.

 This committee recommends compensation, travel, housing, and other financial matters to the church council through the finance committee.

 In consultation with the pastor, the committee recommends to the church council a written statement of policy and procedures for hiring, evaluating, promoting, retiring, and dismissing staff members.

 This committee is responsible for carrying out background checks for lay employees and volunteers. This committee weighs several factors such as the age of the congregation, desires of the congregation, and the culture of the community as it meets with the district        superintendent in an advisory capacity related to clergy appointment.

 This committee provides an annual evaluation of the pastor and other staff for ongoing effective ministry.

 This committee recommends interested candidates for professional ministry to the charge conference.

 The work of the committee may include subteams (such as a parsonage committee). The committee on nominations and leadership development may help identify people for these groups. The committee works with the pastor and district superintendent to develop a church profile that reflects the needs, characteristics, and opportunities for mission of the charge consistent with the church’s statement of purpose.

Board of Trustees

 This team, subject to the direction of the charge conference, has oversight and care of all local church property, buildings, and equipment. This work is done in consultation with the pastor.

 Trustees receive and administer all gifts made to the congregation and make certain that trust funds of the congregation are invested properly.

 Trustees ensure that the Articles of Incorporation of the congregation are kept up-to-date.

 Trustees annually review property, liability, and crime insurance coverage on church-owned property, buildings, and equipment. They also review  personnel insurance for protection against risk and consult with the pastor-parish relations team about other personnel insurance.

 Trustees conduct an annual audit of buildings and grounds.

 The team submits annual budget requests to the committee on finance for property maintenance and  improvement and new property  purchases. Trustees are accountable to the charge conference and the church council.

Committee on Finance

 The finance committee annually  compiles a budget and submits the budget to the church leadership team for review and adoption. During the year, the finance team recommends any changes to the  approved annual budget to the church leadership team.

 This team is responsible for developing and carrying out plans to raise enough income to support the budget that has been approved.

 The finance committee recommends to the church leadership team proper depositories for church funds and carries out the church        leadership team’s directions about administration and disbursement of funds and about procedures for the church treasurer and the financial secretary. There are three tasks not specifically assigned to the treasurer, financial secretary, or the chairperson of the committee on finance by the Discipline. Keeping these responsibilities separate is essential in maintaining segregation of duties. These tasks are: (1)     approving  payments for expenditures; (2)  signing checks; (3) reconciling bank accounts. While the treasurer, financial secretary, or finance chairperson may be authorized to do any one of these tasks, no person should be authorized to do more than one. No persons related to one another should perform any two or more of these three tasks.

 This team arranges for an annual audit of financial records and makes a report of this audit to the charge conference.

 The finance committee has responsibility for teaching a biblical understanding of generosity and stewardship. The finance leaders of the church are accountable to the charge conference through the church council.

Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development This committee works cooperatively with other groups or individuals to prepare job descriptions that are adapted to the needs and organizational style of the church.

 This committee becomes familiar with the responsibilities for each leadership position and matches potential leaders with particular opportunities for spiritual leadership.

 This committee invites people to positions of spiritual leadership, receives their responses, and provides training and support for these  individuals.

This committee presents a nomination list to the charge conference for a church council chair, a committee on pastor (staff) parish relations and its chair, a board of trustees, a committee on finance (to include chair, financial secretary, and treasurer), a lay      member to annual conference, and a lay leader. The committee works with the church council (or other leadership group) throughout the year to name other leaders for the ministry that fulfills the mission of the congregation.

Some of these job descriptions may appear daunting, but in smaller churches such as LeValley and Berlin Center, some of the        responsibilities are taken on by the entire church council or even the entire congregation. The committees are not required to meet every month and meeting dates and times can be decided by the committee members.

There are also several non-disciplinary(not required) committees in each church. The names of the committees are self-explanatory, but questions of responsibility can be addressed to a member of the nominations and leadership committee or the chair of the           committee of which you are interested. Some of these are missions, memorials, worship, and education. A complete leadership directory for each church is included in the church directory. 

I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together. The old cliché is that many hands make light work. Let’s all          participate to sustain and enhance our churches for the glory of God. 

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