Compensation promises that are not honored. Confusion about benefits. Misunderstandings about your roles and responsibilities. Ignorance about the United Methodist ordering of ministry. Lack of due process in supervisory conversations.
If you are a deacon appointed to a congregation, some of these concerns may sound familiar. One way to help prevent some of these misunderstandings and establish clear expectations is to work out an appointment covenant at the very beginning of an appointment.
Appointment covenants can benefit both elders and deacons. Check out this description of what a covenant for deacons could include and a suggested format.
The deacon, the district superintendent, the Staff-Pastor/Parish Relations Committee and the lead pastor are participants in the agreement. The covenant also includes a process for regular ministry evaluation conversations as well as reference to the United Methodist due process for “ineffectiveness” as well as minimum notice for terminations.
Already in an appointment? It is not too late to work out a covenant!
For a great introduction for how covenants can enhance clarity and accountability, read Gwen Purushotham’s Watching Over One Another in Love. It is brief but informative. Recommend it to your bishop, cabinet, and Board of Ordained Ministry!