Chapter 4: General Administration
A. General Superintendent
1900. The General Superintendent is the spiritual, executive, and administrative leader of the Church (350:1). As such, the General Superintendent must communicate through preaching, writing, teaching, and various uses of technology the fourfold mission and vision of the Church: evangelizing the lost, discipling believers, equipping the Church, and ministering to society. The result will be that hope and holiness will spread throughout the globe producing transformed people, communities, and cultures.
2. General Regulations
1903. The General Superintendent is elected from among the ordained ministers of The Wesleyan Church by the General Conference as a general official of the Church (325; 350:1; 1590:15), and is an ex officio member of the General Conference (1503:1c), the General Board (1605:1), the Executive Board (1755), and the Executive Cabinet (1990).
1909. The term of service, amenability, and other regulations for the General Superintendent are those set forth for a general official in paragraphs 1800-1870.
3. Duties of the General Superintendent
1935. The General Superintendent shall devote full time to supervising, coordinating, and promoting the various branches of The Wesleyan Church. The General Superintendent shall have the following responsibilities which are expanded and defined in General Board Policy:
- (1) Spiritual
- (2) Executive
- (3) Administrative
- (4) Related to Districts
- (5) Toward Educational Institutions
- (6) Judicial Supervision
4. General Superintendent Emeritus or Emerita
1945. The General Conference, upon recommendation of the General Board (1655:26), may confer the title of General Superintendent Emeritus or Emerita upon a former General Superintendent, provided the former General Superintendent shall have served as a General Superintendent for two or more quadrennia and shall have reached their sixty-fifth birthday, or shall have become disabled (1590:19). It is understood that the tenure of the emeritus or emerita relation is for life. A General Superintendent Emeritus or Emerita is a voting member of the General Conference (1503:1c).
B. The General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer
1970. Function. The General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer has custody of the General Church funds and accounting records and is responsible for assigned fiscal management.
1976. Duties. The General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer is elected by the General Board as a general official (1800:2), is an ex officio member of the General Conference (1503:1c) and the Executive Cabinet, and serves as the chief financial officer for The Wesleyan Church Corporation (1800:2; 4220). The General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer is amenable to the General Board, serves as a nonvoting resource person to the board, and is under the supervision of the General Superintendent (1935). The General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer shall exercise leadership in this office in keeping with The Discipline, the General Board Policy for the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer, and other directives as may be given by the General Conference, the General Board, or its Executive Board. The term of service and other regulations for this office are provided for in 1810-1870.
C. Executive Cabinet
1990. The Executive Cabinet shall consist of the general officials (1800) as ex officio members and content expert(s) elected by the General Board annually. The Executive Cabinet shall have responsibility for internal cooperation and to provide leadership in keeping with the General Board Policy for the Executive Cabinet (1655:30). All members of the Executive Cabinet shall be available to attend the meetings of the General Board except for executive sessions, and shall be invited to speak to any issue. General officials shall comprise at least two-thirds of the Executive Cabinet.
D. General Church Financial Plan
1991. The district and general church operations are made possible by the generosity of our local churches that invest funds to allow for vision casting, administration, developing future leaders, and planting new churches. It is recommended that a local church’s investment in district and denominational support be limited to no more than 10 percent of its base income with up to 10 percent of that support going to church multiplication (2005:1).
1995. The financial plan for the General Church shall consist of the United Stewardship Fund, special offerings, and planned gifts:
- (1) United Stewardship Fund shall be established and administered as set forth in 2000 through 2045.
- (2) Special offerings shall be authorized and administered as set forth in 2050 and may be authorized by the General Conference or the General Board.
- (3) Planned gifts shall be promoted through the General Superintendent’s office and the funds shall be administered by the General Treasurer.
2. United Stewardship Fund
2000. The United Stewardship Fund is a unified budget for the financial support of designated General Church interests and the educational institutions. It shall consist of the following:
- (1) The General Fund, which shall provide support for General Church administration, general benevolent institutions, ministerial training, and other General Church ministries.
- (2) The Education Fund, which shall provide support for the approved general educational institutions as listed in 2365 and in a manner as set forth in 2040 (2377).
- (3) The Church Multiplication Fund, which shall provide continuing support for the planting of new churches, including the development of the leaders needed to serve in the new churches. The implementation of this fund shall be according to the General Board Policy for the Church Multiplication Fund. These funds shall be designated for church multiplication in accordance with this policy, which allows for the discretion of the district where the funds were given.
2005. The General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund shall be determined annually by a percentage (2005:2) of the base income of all churches for the previous fiscal year which shall be computed in the following manner (2005:3):
- (1) Base Income. The base income shall be the total of a local church’s receipts of tithes and offerings given without restriction for the work of the church (465; 470).
- (2) Fund Allocations.
- (a) The percentages for determining the General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund shall be fixed by the General Conference (1590:8). The percentage in each case shall be applied to the assessable income as defined in 2005:1 except as provided for in 2005:3, 4.
- (b) In the event of an emergency during the interim of General Conference sessions, the General Board may alter the percentages of the General Fund by a two-thirds majority vote of all its members (1655:23).
- (3) Limits for Capped Churches.
- (a) Assessment Limits and Maximum. By Conference Year 2026, all churches shall be subject to full assessment on all assessable income up to $550,000. Above that level, there shall be a graduated reduction in the percentage applied. For that portion of a church’s assessable income between $550,000 and $1,100,000, there shall be a reduction of one in the total percentage divided proportionately between the General Fund, the Church Multiplication Fund, and the Education Fund. For that portion between $1,100,000 and $2,200,000, there shall be a reduction of two in the total percentage divided proportionately between the three funds. The percentage in each case shall be applied to the same base income as defined in 2005:1 subject to the exceptions set forth in 2005:4a, b.
- (b) Annual Rate. The General Board shall set and publish the annual rate for capped churches based on the increase or decrease of consumer price indices for the previous year or 3 percent, whichever is less.
- (4) Exceptions for Developing and Urban Churches.
- (a) Developing Church Exception. Whenever a developing church is deemed, by the district board of administration, to be under financial duress, that board may subtract up to $50,000 from the USF base income used to calculate the USF obligation.
- (b) Urban Missional Church Exception. Whenever a local church is designated as an urban missional church, the USF obligation for that church shall be set at 25 percent of the regular assessment (523).
c. District and Local Regulations
2015. District Responsibility. Each district and developing district, with the exception of the work under the Global Partners Division, shall be responsible to raise its share of the United Stewardship Fund, including the General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund in accordance with the following regulations:
- (1) District Obligation. The obligation of a district or developing district shall be an amount equal to the designated percentage of the total base income, as defined in 2005:1-2, of all developing churches and churches of the district, subject to such exceptions and adjustments as are indicated in 2005:3. When this amount has been paid in full to the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer, for the General Fund, the Education Fund, and designated monies set aside in the district Church Multiplication Fund a district has met its obligation to the United Stewardship Fund. The computations for the district obligation shall be based on the financial reports of the local churches as compiled by the district statistical committee (1337:6) prior to the annual district conference.
- (2) District Apportionment. The district conference shall apportion its total obligation among the local churches under its jurisdiction by assigning an amount to each as its share of the General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund respectively, under whatever plan the district conference shall adopt after receiving a recommendation from the district board of administration (1233:11; 1337:6). Each local church shall be promptly notified of the amount assigned by the district by the person appointed by the district superintendent. The district treasurer shall promptly notify the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer of the district obligation on forms provided by the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer (1337:6).
- (3) District Administration. The district board of administration shall be responsible to administer the district plan for raising the United Stewardship Fund and shall be responsible to see that the district obligation is paid in full for the General Fund, Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund (1233:10). All General and Education Fund monies received by the district treasurer shall be remitted monthly to the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer via the approved process.
2025. Local Church Responsibility. The pastor and the local board of administration shall be responsible for the faithful collection of the amount assigned by the district to their church, and shall raise it on the undivided plan. The local church treasurer shall forward all money received for the General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund monthly to the district treasurer (842:4). A local church has met its obligation to the United Stewardship Fund when it has paid in full to the district treasurer the amounts assigned to it by the district for the General Fund, the Education Fund, and the Church Multiplication Fund. In a developing church, the pastor and the local advisory council shall have the responsibility for raising the United Stewardship Fund.
2030. Developing District Responsibility. The obligation of a developing district, or of the churches within a developing district, to the United Stewardship Fund shall be determined by the General Board (1655:23). The assigned obligation shall be raised by the superintendent of the developing district, under the direction of the Executive Director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship and in accord with the General Board Policy for the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division.
d. General Church Regulations
2035. General Fund: Beneficiaries and Apportionment. The General Fund shall provide support for General Church divisions and ministries and be apportioned among them as follows:
- (1) Beneficiaries. The designated beneficiaries to receive support from the USF-General Fund are: the administrative offices of the General Superintendent and the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer; the Executive Director of the Communication and Administration Division, the Executive Director of the Education and Clergy Development Division, the Executive Director of the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division, and the Executive Director of the Global Partners Division, and such other benevolent institutions, offices, or agencies of the General Church as the General Conference or the General Board shall designate from time to time.
- (2) Apportionment. The apportioning of the General Fund among the designated beneficiaries (2035:1) shall be determined annually by the General Board.
2040. Education Fund: Beneficiaries and Apportionment. The Education Fund shall provide support for educational institutions and general ministerial education, and shall be apportioned among them as follows:
- (1) Beneficiaries. The beneficiaries receiving support from the Education Fund shall include the educational institutions (2365); approved programs for subsidizing ministerial training; the Wesleyan Seminary Foundation (2382); and the Ministerial Study Course Agency (2385-2388).
- (2) Apportionment. The General Board shall determine the apportionment of the Education Fund among the beneficiaries listed in 2040:1.
2045. General Promotion and Administration. The General Superintendent’s office shall promote the raising of the United Stewardship Fund. The General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer shall cooperate with the General Superintendent’s office in such promotion and shall administer the USF funds as provided for in The Discipline and as directed by the General Board (1976).
3. Special Offerings
2050. Special offerings, in addition to the United Stewardship Fund for the support of General Church ministries and world outreach of The Wesleyan Church, shall include the following offerings and other such offerings as shall be authorized by the General Board. No agency, division, institution, organization, or similar body of The Wesleyan Church may solicit offerings or present financial appeals without the approval of the General Board.
- (1) Global Partners Support. The Global Partners Division shall be supported by various approved offerings of the General Church, funds raised through missionary home ministries work, other solicitations, and money raised by auxiliary organizations.
- (2) Solicited Offerings. The Global Partners Division, the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division, and the educational institutions may raise financial support for the work under their care by sending representatives to visit the districts, local churches, members, and constituency of the Church. District and local officials shall receive them and cooperate in their work. Offerings received shall be used as designated and shall be in addition to and apart from the United Stewardship Fund, and shall be remitted promptly through the regular channels. An educational institution shall do its school representation work in the manner decided upon in the plans for such institutions approved by the General Board.
- (3) Auxiliary Organizations. Any auxiliary shall raise financial support for approved projects in accord with their respective constitutions and subject to the general oversight of the General Board.
- (4) Other Contributions. Other offerings, contributions, bequests, and donations shall be used as specified by the donor and may be forwarded through the regular channels to the General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer. Those individuals who prefer to contact the General Superintendent’s office or a division or institution concerning annuities, bequests, and other special contributions may do so.
E. Interpretations of Church Law
2060. Informal Opinions and Inquiries about Church Law. The Executive Director of Communication and Administration shall respond to routine inquiries from ministers or members seeking informal opinions about points of Church law or practical applications of The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church. Such opinions are not “official rulings,” but are offered rather as general advice and recommendations to assist church leaders and members in the proper, day-to-day administration of the Church. The Executive Director of Communication and Administration shall keep a log of such inquiries processed by that office for periodic reporting to the General Superintendent.
2061. Official Rulings. Official rulings are formal clarifications of Church law and authoritative interpretations of The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church that become the temporary law of the Church, subject to being overruled or sustained by the next session of the General Conference. The General Superintendent shall prepare or may instruct the Executive Director of Communication and Administration to research and write initial drafts of official rulings when such are properly requested or whenever the General Superintendent deems necessary for the proper administration of the Church:
- (1) A request for an official ruling shall be submitted to the General Superintendent, in writing, by the following: the General Board, the Executive Board (1785), a general official, the governing board of an institution or subsidiary corporation, a district conference (1180:35), or a district board of administration (1233:23).
- (2) The General Superintendent shall consult with the Executive Board of the General Board prior to giving final approval to and signing all official rulings or interpretations.
- (3) A ruling may be appealed to the Board of Review by the party submitting the original request or by the General Board (370; 375:2; 1180:37; 1233:23; Gen. Bd. Policy on Ch. Disc. 5445:2). All appeals must be filed with the Executive Director of Communication and Administration within sixty days after the date the official ruling is published by the General Superintendent. An official ruling that is not upheld by the Board of Review shall be null and void, unless the action of the Board of Review is overruled by the General Conference (375:2; 380).
2062. Reporting Official Rulings. The General Superintendent shall submit a report of all official rulings on points of law, interpretations of The Discipline, or other formal judicial acts, to the next session of the General Board or its Executive Board for their information, and to the next session of the General Conference for final review and approval (1590:22). Upon approval by the General Conference, such rulings become the law of the Church and shall be incorporated into the appropriate section(s) of The Discipline. A record of such rulings shall be inserted in a special appendix of the next issue of The Discipline as follows:
- The General Superintendent on (date) officially interpreted (identify item) and the General Conference on (date) sustained (GC- ), thereby authorizing this provision to mean: (insert the ruling).
2064. Rulings on District Actions. The General Superintendent shall rule on the legality of an official action by a district conference, any district board or committee, or a district official as follows: Any three or more members of The Wesleyan Church within a district or developing district may request such a ruling and shall submit their petition in writing, signed by each petitioner (323:6). The General Superintendent shall decide if the official act in question, in whole or in part, is deemed properly taken according to the Constitution (200-385), or other provisions of The Discipline (155-185), stating reasons for the ruling in writing. If the action is ruled as contravening the Constitution or other provisions of The Discipline, it shall be null and void. Appeals from the decision of the General Superintendent may be made by the petitioners or the district board of administration to the General Board of Review (375:2).
2066. Requests for Rulings by the Board of Review. The General Superintendent shall request a ruling from the Board of Review on the constitutionality of an act of the General Conference (375:1), the legality of an act of any General Church board (375:3), and the legality of any issues arising between a district and the General Conference (375:6; Gen. Bd. Policy on Ch. Disc. 5445:1, 3, 4).
2068. Canvassing Votes on Constitutional Amendments. The General Superintendent, with the Executive Cabinet, shall canvas the vote taken by the several district conferences on an amendment to the Constitution originating in the General Conference and, when the amendment has received the required two-thirds vote, shall declare it effective as constitutional law (1590:2).
F. General Board of Review
2070. Members. The General Board of Review is the appellate body for those who appeal the decisions of a general judicial committee and the judicatory for those who are subject to General Church jurisdiction (370; 1655:37). The General Board of Review shall consist of nine members, five of whom shall be ordained ministers and four of whom shall be lay members who meet the leadership qualifications (260-268; 558) of The Wesleyan Church.
- (1) Their term of office shall be for four years. They shall serve from the close of the session of the General Conference at which they are elected until the close of the next session of the General Conference or until their successors are elected and qualified.
- (2) A member of the General Board of Review may not at the same time be a member of the General Board.
- (3) The General Conference shall elect by majority vote the members of the General Board of Review, from nominations presented by the Committee on Special Nominations. Additional nominations may be made from the floor of the General Conference (1580:2; 1590:18).
- Members of the General Board of Review shall recuse themselves in the case of conflict of interest. Whenever a member is disqualified, the chair shall appoint an alternate for the hearing of that particular case (Gen. Bd. Policy on Ch. Disc. 5405), provided that such appointment shall maintain the membership of the Board as five ordained ministers and four lay members who meet the leadership qualifications.
2075. Alternates. The General Conference shall elect, in the same manner described in 2070:3, four ordained ministers and three lay members who meet the leadership qualifications (260-268; 558) to serve as alternate members of the General Board of Review, with the same qualifications (2070:2) and term of office (2070:1) as the members (1590:18). (Duties, powers, and procedures of the General Board of Review are located in the General Board Policy for Church Discipline and Ministerial Restoration.)