2016 Wesleyan Discipline: Appendix C: Affiliate Churches
7000. An independent congregation of the Wesleyan tradition which seeks a less than full relationship with The Wesleyan Church may commit to Articles of Agreement and be recognized and listed as an affiliate church. The district board of administration shall be authorized on behalf of the district conference to develop and agree to the terms of the Articles of Agreement. Such relationships shall exist to encourage fellowship and to include the affiliated body in adult, youth, and children’s ministries of The Wesleyan Church and to benefit the affiliated unit through acquaintance with and involvement in Wesleyan institutions of higher education, global outreach ministries, and helpful publications of the denomination. The relationship may be terminated at any time, either by vote of the district board of administration or the ruling body of the affiliate church.
7005. Membership. All persons who have met the membership requirements of the independent congregation shall be listed by the district as affiliate members. Any affiliate member who seeks to transfer membership to The Wesleyan Church shall be examined by the pastor and the local board of administration. If it is discovered that the person involved had indeed been previously converted and is fully committed to the doctrines and standards of The Wesleyan Church, said affiliate member may be received by letter into the membership of The Wesleyan Church (cf. 2016 Wesleyan Discipline:570; 2016 Wesleyan Discipline:578). If the affiliated church elects to become a Wesleyan congregation, the procedures of organization as set forth in The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church, paragraph 2016 Wesleyan Discipline:520 shall be followed.
7010. Pastors. The calling of pastors to an affiliated church shall be determined by said church’s by-laws and shall not require approval of the Wesleyan district conference. A change of pastor or senior pastor of an affiliate church shall automatically give rise to a review of the affiliate status and shall require a renewal vote by the district board of administration to extend the relationship. In the event the affiliate church seeks to secure the leadership of a Wesleyan minister, that arrangement shall require the consent of the district superintendent and the ratifying vote of a majority of the district board of administration. An ordained minister serving on staff of an affiliate church may be appointed by the district conference as affiliate church pastor (cf. 2016 Wesleyan Discipline:3346).
7015. Government. The Wesleyan Church shall not regulate the governance of an affiliate church. However, the district board of administration shall review the governmental structure of the church seeking affiliate status and shall be satisfied it is founded upon biblical principles prior to authorizing affiliate status. Conversely, any affiliate church desiring to adopt The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church as a governance model for the local church may do so.
7020. Property and Support Obligations. As long as the independent unit retains the status of an affiliate church it is not subject to the trust clause and other provisions for holding property as set forth in The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church. It is anticipated that the affiliate church will financially support The Wesleyan Church and its various ministries. The details of such support shall be agreed upon between the affiliate church and the district board of administration. It is expected that the various agencies of The Wesleyan Church shall have access to the affiliate church for the presentation of their programs and for the solicitation of support in the same manner as with all Wesleyan churches.
7025. District/General Conference Representation. Each affiliate church may send the pastor and one lay representative as honorary delegates, having voice but not vote, to the annual district conference. The listed affiliate members shall not be included in the membership count which determines the number of persons a district conference is authorized to elect as General Conference delegates.
7030. Continuance of Status. The district board of administration shall be empowered to renew the status of an affiliate church for up to five years from inception of the relationship. If the affiliate church has not begun the process leading to acceptance as an established church by the fifth year, renewal of the affiliate status shall require the annual recommendation of the district board of administration and the annual approving vote of the district conference.
7035. Use of Name. The affiliate church may not adopt the name The Wesleyan Church nor utilize such benefits as coming under the denominational umbrella for IRS recognition as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit entity until said unit is received as a developing or established Wesleyan church and conforms to The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church in all matters of governance. It may choose to advertise with such language as “A congregation of the Wesleyan tradition” or “affiliated with The Wesleyan Church.”
7040. No two church “joinings” will be characterized by identical circumstances. The district board of administration may modify the following sample agreement to reflect levels of monetary support from the affiliate church or other mutual agreements which detail commitments to a developing unified ministry.
THE WESLEYAN CHURCH AFFILIATE CHURCH ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT
_________________________________ CHURCH AND THE ____________________________ DISTRICT OF THE WESLEYAN CHURCH
The _________________________ Church, an independent congregation of the Wesleyan tradition (hereinafter referred to as “church”) and the ________________ District of The Wesleyan Church (hereinafter referred to as “district”), upon the signing of these Articles of Agreement do establish and commit to an affiliate relationship between church and district.
It is the objective of church and district, as co-laborers, to advance the Kingdom of Christ through the encouragement of fellowship, cooperation in varied ministries of evangelism, discipleship, and education, and a sharing of denominational benefits by making available literature, publications, and personnel.
ARTICLE 1 STATEMENT OF FAITH
Both the church and the district affirm the foundation for such affiliate relationship lies in the mutual embrace of and commitment to the following Statement of Faith:
- We believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- We believe that Jesus Christ the Son suffered in our place on the cross, that He died but rose again, that He now sits at the Father’s right hand until He returns to judge every person at the last day.
- We believe in the Holy Scriptures as the inspired and inerrant Word of God.
- We believe that by the grace of God every person has the ability and responsibility to choose between right and wrong, and that those who repent of their sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are justified by faith.
- We believe that God not only counts the believer as righteous, but that He makes such persons righteous, freeing them from sin’s dominion at conversion, purifying their hearts by faith and perfecting them in love at entire sanctification, and providing for their growth in grace at every stage of spiritual life, enabling them through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to live victorious lives.
ARTICLE 2 GOVERNANCE
During the time period the church and district retain the affiliate church relationships, the district superintendent shall be expected to make periodic visits and provide such counsel as the church’s pastor and board may welcome. The district board of administration shall annually review the on-going relationship. The church shall establish its own organizational by-laws and shall be exempt from the property trust clause established for congregations holding full relationships to the denomination. During the period of affiliate relationship, the church may choose to advertise with such language as “a congregation of the Wesleyan tradition” or “affiliated with The Wesleyan Church,” but may not assume/use the name The Wesleyan Church.
The affiliate church may send the (senior) pastor and one lay delegate to the annual district conference to enjoy voice but not vote.
ARTICLE 3 ADVANCEMENT
Advancement to full relationship is possible. While no commitment to such is implied by the church or the district in affixing signatures to these Articles of Agreement, mutual approval by both entities can result in the church coming into full relationship with the district and The Wesleyan Church with all rights and privileges pertaining thereto.
ARTICLE 4 CONTINUANCE
Subject to annual review by the district board of administration, the affiliate relationship may be renewed up to five years by said district board of administration. If the affiliate church has not begun a process leading to acceptance as an established church by the end of the fifth year, renewal of the affiliate status shall that year and each successive year require the recommendation of the district board of administration and an approving vote of the district conference. A change in pastoral leadership in the church shall automatically give rise to a review of the relationship and, to renew affiliate status, shall require the consent of the district superintendent and the ratifying vote of a majority of the district board of administration. The relationship may be terminated at any time by either the vote of the district board of administration or the ruling body of the church.
Sustained by the mutual belief that God in His providences has led together the people of the _________________________ Church and the ____________________ District of The Wesleyan Church, and upon the voted authority of the church’s ruling body and the district board of administration, the authorized officials herewith affix their signatures to duplicate copies of these Articles of Agreement, thereby evidencing establishment of an affiliate relationship between church and district.
The__________________________ District of The Wesleyan Church:
Assistant District Superintendent