Chapter 5: Local Board of Administration
750. The local board of administration carries out the will of the local church conference, serving as the chief governing and coordinating body of the local church in the interim of local church conference sessions.
752. Local Board of Administration Organizational Options. The local church conference shall adopt one of the following structural models for the organization and election of the local board of administration (315:5). All board members shall be adult members, whose lives bear witness to the grace of holy living (297:1; 302:3-4; 552:2-3; 553:1-3); who are in harmony with our Articles of Religion, Guides and Helps to Holy Living, and the authority of The Wesleyan Church in matters of church government (297:3; 553:1-2); and who are faithful in worship attendance, involved in personal ministry, and supportive of the church financially at least to the level of personal tithing (265:3; 297:4).
- (1) Standard Model. The local board of administration shall be comprised minimally of the pastor as chair (675, 678, 725:16, 735), the vice-chair (773), the church secretary (830), and the church treasurer or business manager (842). Two or more additional members-at-large may be elected by the local church conference in such numbers as it shall determine. It is recommended that the total number of all voting members of the local board of administration using the standard model should not exceed twelve persons.
- (2) Alternate Models. Alternate models of local church governance may be considered by the local church conference in consultation with the district superintendent and with the prior approval of the district board of administration. When evaluating proposed alternate models, the district board of administration shall give due consideration to safeguard the following constitutional and practical principles:
- (a) All local church officers, local board of administration members, trustees, and district conference delegates must be members who meet the leadership qualifications (260-268; 558), of the local church electing them (302:3-4, 552:2-3, 815).
- (b) All officers, board members, trustees, and district conference delegates must be elected by the eligible voting members of the local church conference (315:5-7). No pastor or other official has any right to appoint an officer or declare an office vacant (315:5). Since the right to elect officers and trustees vests solely in each pastoral charge (315:5-6), no board has the right to become self-perpetuating by electing its own members, other than temporarily filling unexpired terms when vacancies occur in the interim of local church conferences (782:24).
- (c) Due to obvious conflicts of interest, no compensated church staff member may vote on compensation issues on the governing board of the local church by which he or she is employed. The only exception is the pastor, who is the chair but not an employee of the local board of administration, rather being called by the local church conference and appointed by the district conference (323:1-2).
- (d) No member may be excluded from local church leadership on the basis of ancestry, color, or gender (360:3d).
755. It is recommended that no two persons of the same household be elected to serve on the same local board of administration, that no person shall be elected to more than one office carrying ex officio membership on the board, and that a former pastor should not serve on the local board of administration (3097).
758. A local church conference may, by a two-thirds vote, adopt three-year terms for the local board of administration, with approximately one-third being elected each year.
760. Regular Sessions. It is recommended that the local board of administration at least quarterly.
763. Special Sessions. The local board of administration may authorize special sessions as it deems necessary, or it may be called into special session by the pastor, the vice-chair (for sessions dealing with a pastoral vote or with the pastor’s financial support and related matters), or in times of emergency by the district superintendent or a representative appointed by the district superintendent. A special session may be held at any time if all members of the local board of administration are present. Otherwise, each shall have been notified personally at least forty-eight hours prior to the convening of the session. A special session may not be conducted in the absence of the pastor except as provided for in 773.
767. Evaluation Session. Each year, the local board of administration shall consider its priorities, review the distribution of its time, and evaluate the effectiveness of its efforts, using the duties and powers listed in The Discipline as a guide. Special attention should be focused on those responsibilities that are most likely to contribute to future outreach and growth to the glory of God.
D. Organization and Procedure
770. Chair. The pastor shall be chair of the local board of administration, ex officio, presiding over all sessions except as noted in 773.
773. Vice-Chair. The pastor may nominate and the local board of administration shall elect one of its members as vice-chair. The vice-chair may preside over meetings of the local board of administration when a pastoral vote or the pastor’s support is under discussion (for exceptions, 712; 722:2). The vice- chair may also preside over sessions or portions of sessions of the local church conference dealing with a pastoral vote or the pastor’s support when neither the district superintendent nor a representative of the district superintendent are present (635; 692:2). The vice-chair may preside, at the request of the pastor, over other sessions of the local board of administration or of the local church conference. In emergencies, when the pastor is absent or incapacitated, the vice- chair may also preside over other sessions of the local board of administration and local church conference with the permission of the district superintendent. The district superintendent or a representative of the district superintendent shall preside over all sessions of the local board of administration considering the termination of a pastoral agreement (712; 722:2), and in times of emergency.
775. Secretary. The local church secretary shall be secretary of the local board of administration ex officio (830). If the secretary is absent, the local board of administration may elect a secretary pro tem.
778. Quorum. A majority of the members of the local board of administration shall constitute a quorum.
780. Voting. A majority vote of those present and voting shall be sufficient in all items of business except when voting on the reception of a member against whom an objection has been made, which shall require a two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting (567; 782:8); and when petitioning the district board of administration to remove a pastor during the initial call, which shall require a two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting (712; 782:12).
3. Local Church Governance Philosophy
781. The health and growth of the local church is a shared responsibility, with the board focused on governing, the pastor on leading, the staff (employed or volunteer) on managing, and the congregation on ministering to the community and to one another.
The local board of administration governs the local church primarily by
- (a) clarifying its mission and stating the primary outcomes it exists to achieve;
- (b) setting guiding principles within which the pastor and staff have great discretion and freedom to work in order to achieve the mission, including the adoption of operating policies, the budget, and measurable, annual goals proposed by the pastor for accomplishing the mission;
- (c) periodically evaluating the established goals in consultation with the district superintendent, giving special attention to rewarding achievement or requiring specific plans for improvement in areas of underperformance; and
- (d) protecting the pastor, staff, and church by dealing with problem issues and persons that threaten fulfillment of the mission.
As leader of the local church, the pastor is responsible for
- (a) inspiring and teaching the congregation through word and example;
- (b) chairing, motivating, and informing the board;
- (c) operating within the boundaries of established guiding principles;
- (d) proposing measurable goals for adoption by the board;
- (e) selecting, directing, and supervising the staff (employed or volunteer) for the daily operations and ministries of the church in order to accomplish mission-centered goals; and
- (f) being accountable to the board for achieving mutually agreed upon goals. In summary, the board focuses on mission clarity, policy, goals, evaluation, and accountability; the pastor and staff focus on leadership and management.
E. Duties and Powers
782. The local board of administration shall administer the affairs of the church in keeping with The Discipline, other general and district regulations, and the directions of the local church conference, and shall be responsible to:
- (1) Direct all activities of the church toward the spiritual, moral, and social maturity of its people.
- (2) Provide a place of worship.
- (3) Counsel with the pastor, as the pastor may request.
- (4) Cooperate with the pastor in evaluating the health of the local church; establishing policies, goals, and objectives for more effectively fulfilling the mission of the church; empowering the pastor to pursue the goals and objectives, within the established policies and through the staff and members; and periodically receiving performance reports from the pastor regarding progress.
- (5) Receive monthly reports from the pastor (725:30), church treasurer (842:3), and reports as the local board of administration shall require from all boards, committees, and officers.
- (6) Direct the church in its evangelistic outreach, seeking to win its community to Christ; to recommend to the local church conference the establishment and operation of a mission.
- (7) Adopt an annual calendar of events.
- (8) Authorize the reception of members by a majority vote, except that when an objection is raised against the reception of a member it shall require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting to receive (553:2; 567; 780).
- (9) Examine the church membership roll annually, and to provide for its revision according to the provisions of The Discipline (553–610; 655:1).
- (10) Consider all accusations and charges against members of the local church, and to appoint a committee of investigation and a local judicial committee as provided for in the General Board Policy on Church Discipline.
- (11) Instruct the local church secretary concerning the removal of the name of a member.
Pastors, Staff, and Licensed Workers
- (12) Nominate a pastor (705:3); to assume full responsibility for securing a pastor when such is delegated by the local church conference (708); and to recommend to the district board of administration by a two-thirds majority vote the termination of a pastoral agreement if such becomes necessary (712).
- (13) Review at least quadrennially with the district superintendent an extended call and by majority vote to reaffirm the call or recommend for the local church conference to vote on renewing the call (720:2); to meet, at the request of one third of its members and under the district superintendent or a representative appointed by the district superintendent as chair, to consider the possibility of ordering a pastoral vote and to call for such a vote by majority vote (722:2).
- (14) Review annually the pastor’s support and related matters (723; 724).
- (15) Recommend the number of employed staff positions; to employ persons for all such staff positions subject to the pastor’s nominations; and to define the duties and working conditions of all such employees.
- (16) Employ special workers as needed.
- (17) Provide, in cooperation with the pastor, for the supply of the pulpit during the pastor’s absence; and to provide, in cooperation with the district superintendent, for the supply of the pulpit during temporary vacancies.
- (18) Recommend to the local church conference the licensing and the renewing or revoking of licenses of lay ministers (315:3; 655:7).
- (19) Recommend ministerial students and special workers for approval and recommendation to the district conference for district licenses (315:4; 655:7).
Officers, Boards, Committees and Auxiliaries
- (20) Elect two members of a nominating committee from among the members of the local board of administration and two or more additional members with the leadership qualifications who may not be a member of the local board of administration to serve as set forth in 820–823.
- (21) Elect annually at such time as it shall determine, an auditing committee (863).
- (22) Organize and elect such boards and committees as it deems necessary to the proper organization of the church.
- (23) Recommend to the local church conference the removal from office of any church officer or delegate (315:5; 655:5–6), and to remove by majority vote of the local board of administration all who fill other positions (825:4).
- (24) Fill all vacancies occurring in those offices elected by the local church conference, in the interim of its annual sessions.
Property and Finance
- (25) Serve as the local board of trustees in the maintenance of church property, the signing of notes and mortgages, and the attending to all legal matters connected with the church, in keeping with the requirements of local laws (4510), and The Discipline (850–859; 4500–4720; 4760).
- (26) Serve as the local board of trustees to secure sufficient property and liability insurance to cover all buildings and vehicles owned and operated by the local church (856:6).
- (27) Review all plans of support annually, adjusting salaries as advisable, adopting changes in the financial policies as necessary (746).
- (28) Adopt the annual budget and authorize all expenditures within the limits of the budget and any expenditures not provided for in the annual budget; to provide for annual audits of all funds (863).
- (29) Recommend to the local church conference: the purchase or sale of property, the erection or remodeling of buildings, all mortgages or other indebtedness which encumbers the property and major items of equipment (655:11; 4700–4728).
- (30) Implement all General Church and district plans which apply to the local church, and to see that the local church raises its assigned portion of the United Stewardship Fund.
- (31) Open the doors of the local church to properly authorized representatives of the General Church, the educational institutions of the area and the district.
- (32) Request approval from the district board of administration when making investment or distribution of funds received as an undesignated estate gift, property for sale, or other out-of-pattern contribution with value equal to or exceeding the total contributions for all purposes of the preceding year (1233:30).
Day Care and/or Day School
- (33) Present to the district board of administration for approval a plan for a day care and/or day school following authorization by the local church conference (655:17–18) or any plans for a significant change in mission, facilities, or finances of an established day care and/or day school (1233:32); to govern and direct a day care and/or day school when such has been properly approved (1233:32), or to govern while delegating the operation to a separate school committee; to elect the separate school committee and name its chair when thus delegating said operation; to submit an annual report to the district board of administration including organization, administration, and fiscal operations (655:17–18) for its approval.
- (34) Establish treasuries, distinct and separate from that of a local church, to provide for the financial administration of day care centers, day schools, retirement homes, nursing homes, and such enterprises (655:17–18; 1233:32) and to adopt financial policies to assure adequate supervision and accountability.
F. Pastor's Advisory Committee
795. The local board of administration may establish a pastor’s advisory committee when recommended by the pastor. This committee shall have no authority for final action in any matter except that for which the local board of administration grants such authority.