aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,
aefenglommung
aefenglommung

Questions for the clergy

Upon being admitted to Full Membership in the Annual Conference, each ministerial candidate stands before the Conference (or sometimes, the Clergy Executive Session), and gives answer to the following questions.

The first five have to do with the candidate's own spiritual life.
1. Have you faith in Christ?
2. Are you going on to perfection?
3. Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?
4. Are you earnestly striving after it?
5. Are you resolved to devote yourself wholly to God and his work?

The next seven ask the candidate to uphold our particular teaching and practice as a church.
6. Do you know the General Rules of our Church?
7. Will you keep them?
8. Have you studied the doctrines of The United Methodist Church?
9. After full examination, do you believe that our doctrines are in harmony with the Holy Scriptures?
10. Will you preach and maintain them?
11. Have you studied our form of Church discipline and polity?
12. Do you approve our Church government and polity?
13. Will you support and maintain them?

The next three have to do with pastoral practice.
14. Will you diligently instruct the children in every place?
15. Will you visit from house to house?
16. Will you recommend fasting or abstinence, both by precept and example?

The last three refer to use of time and resources.
17. Are you determined to employ all your time in the work of God?
18. Are you in debt so as to embarrass you in your work?
19. Will you observe the following directions?
a) Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly employed. Never trifle away time; neither spend any more time at any one place than is strictly necessary.
b) Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time. And do not mend our rules, but keep them; not for wrath, but for conscience’ sake.

Every fully-credentialed United Methodist clergyperson has answered Yes to every one of these questions before God and the Annual Conference. I plan to write a series of blogposts about these vows, section by section. For there are many ways to fail as a minister, but most of them involve not doing what you promised to do. Likewise, there are many ways to "succeed" in ministry which do not involve delivering on these promises; in which case we need to ask whether such success really amounts to much.

Stay tuned.
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