This page was designed to be a helpful resource to SPRC or PPRC Chairs. Below you’ll find important information related to the committee’s various areas of responsibility.
Sample S/PPRC Covenant
The example covenant (click on link below) is meant to serve as a starting point from which your church’s S/PPRC can develop its own relational covenant. This is just one resource. If you have a version that you’ve already created with your S/PPRC and it works well, by all means use it. An additional helpful resource for creating covenants is the book “Watching Over One Another In Love.” A covenant is a great tool for improving communications, setting clear expectations and reducing conflict within your S/PPRC and your church.
The Book of Discipline requires S/PPRC’s to “provide evaluation at least annually for the use of the pastor(s) and staff in an ongoing effective ministry and for identifying continuing educational needs and plans.” In order for an evaluation to be fair, accurate and constructive, it should provide a way to measure progress against clearly set goals, as well tools for creating a plan to support the pastor(s) and/or staff member(s) in areas in which they may need help. The goal setting process is critical. Pastors and S/PPRCs should work together to develop clear goals and priorities each year (they should be revisited at least annually in case adjustments are needed). A great tool for S/PPRC’s to use to set goals and priorities is a covenant (see above). Many effective evaluation processes include a system of periodic “check ins” during the year so if adjustments to the goals or support needs are necessary, they can be made before the end of the year. Our conference’s Pastor/Church Assessment form (which may vary from year to year) is the standard way in which S/PPRC’s communicate the results of their pastor’s and church’s ministries to the district and conference. Your committee will need to fill out and submit that form each year (you’ll receive instructions from the District Office each year on how to do this). However, if your pastor and committee wish, additional forms may be developed and used internally as part of your S/PPRC’s evaluation system. If your church has a staff, your committee should develop a process and forms for conducting your staff evaluations as well. Please contact our district office should you need assistance at email@example.com.
The Book of Discipline requires S/PPRC’s to “develop and approve written job descriptions and titles for associate pastors and other staff members in cooperation with the senior pastor.” These job descriptions should be reviewed annually to determine if any adjustments are needed due to changes in things such as work requirements, work load, overall goals of church etc. Job descriptions ideally should include a summary of the overall purpose of the position; routinely performed tasks; periodically performed tasks and a summary of knowledge, skills and abilities required to work in the position. Even if it’s an established position, it’s helpful to obtain input from the staff member and/or associate pastor during this process as their mix of duties may change slightly from year to year. Please contact our district office should you need assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping Candidates For Ordained Ministry Discern Their Call
Yes, this is one of the S/PPRC’s responsibilities. A great resource web site that you can refer candidates to is: http://thecallnc.org/ For additional help contact Amie Stewart, Associate Director, Office of Ministerial Relations – 919.779.6115 or email@example.com
Transitioning To A New Pastor
Should your church receive a new pastor, the S/PPRC should work closely with both the incoming and outgoing pastors to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. For more information and suggestions on how to do this click on the following link:
Click on link below to watch video clips from the April 16, 2013 workshop “Making The Good Move: Transitions In Ministry Appointment” by Doug Anderson.
Training Available To Your S/PPRC
An S/PPRC plays a critical role in the life of a church. The scope of responsibilities of this committee is broad and the duties are both important and involved. There are many things a S/PPRC member must know and understand in order to serve effectively in the position. Early in each calendar year we conduct training workshops early in the year to equip all new and returning S/PPRC Chairs for serving in their role. Those trainings are advertised on our web site and in our monthly “News & Updates” newsletter. If you would like to schedule an on-site S/PPRC training workshop at your church for your whole committee e-mail Harbor District ADS at firstname.lastname@example.org
An Excellent SPRC Training Resource from Duke Divinity School
There is training resource available from Duke Divinity School called “Pastor & Parrish.” It is a six week series (six one hour sessions) intended to help your SPRC members explore what it means to be a disciple; better understand their role; create bonding and teamwork among the committee; resolve conflict and how to create and sustain a good relationship with the pastor. See summary of the six sessions below. Churches who wish to use the “Pastor & Parrish” series will select a facilitator to guide the group through the six sessions. The material also works very well when done as a one day S/PPRC retreat. If you have questions, please e-mail Harbor District ADS at email@example.com
Session 1: Baptism Have you ever thought about your presence on the SPRC as a ministry? This session encourages committee members to understand their work as a response to their baptism and to approach their responsibilities to the pastor and the congregation with care and respect.
Session 2: Discipleship We will explore the nature of Christian discipleship and the ways in which SPRCs can partner with their pastor to fulfill the larger mission of the United Methodist Church: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Session 3: Sacred Bundle Each church has its own traditions, taboos, symbols and artifacts that constitute local church culture. But unless they are named, they remain hidden to a new pastor. We’ll discuss the SPRC’s role as narrator or interpreter of your church’s unique character.
Session 4: Truthful Naming We will explore tools that will equip your committee to deal responsibly with conflict arising in your congregation and “speak the truth in love.”
Session 5: Stewardship of the Pastor How does your congregation care for its pastor? It’s a demanding role, filled with obligations to the congregation, the community, and the larger United Methodist connection. We’ll explore ways that the SPRC can foster a supportive environment that promotes the well-being of the pastor and his or her family, and consequently, the health of the church.
Session 6: Covenant for Ministry In its final gathering, your committee will discuss ideas from previous sessions that you would like to see reflected in your work as a committee. You will begin the process of constructing a covenant (or amending an existing one) that reflects the journey you will have taken during this study. This document is specific to your parish setting, designed to complement other assessment tools that your committee may use.
For more information and to order the series go to:
As directed by the Book of Discipline Para 258. 2 S/PPRC’s shall meet at least quarterly. Matters to be discussed and acted upon include those listed below (not an all inclusive list). The complete duties and responsibilities of the committee are detailed in Para 258.2. of the Book of Discipline and should be reviewed by all commitee members.
Some of the most important duties of the S/PPRC include:
- Encouraging, strengthening, nurturing, supporting and respecting the pastor(s) and the staff and their families.
- Promoting Unity In The Church
- Ensuring Accuracy Of Church/Charge Profile
- Assessing, Setting & Prioritizing Goals (Pastor, Staff, Mission, Ministries)
- Developing Relational Covenants
- Supporting and Assisting Clergy and Staff (and their families)
- Updating Job Descriptions For Clergy and Staff
- Assessing Staffing Needs
- Providing Constructive, Honest Feedback On Performance To Clergy and Staff
- Developing/Revising Personnel Policies
- Identifying, Processing and Supporting Candidates For Ordained Ministry
- Transforming/Resolving Conflict
- Maintaining Highest Levels Of Objectivity, Sensitivity, Confidentiality, Respect & Professionalism
****************************** IMPORTANT RESOURCES *********************************
Title: Pastor-Parish Relations Committee Handbook
It’s highly recommended that you obtain a copy of the Cokesbury Guidelines handbook for Pastor Parish Relations Committee for yourself and each of your committee members. These helpful handbooks are available for purchase ($3.99 per copy) through Cokesbury. Here’s the link to order them: https://www.cokesbury.com/product/9781501829857/guidelines-pastorparish-relations-ebook-epub/?rank=0&txtSearchQuery=Pastor%2520Parish%2520Relations%2520Guidelines
Title: The Book of Discipline – 2016 Edition
The Book of Discipline sets forth the plan by which we United Methodists govern ourselves. It reflects our understanding of the Church and of what is expected of its laity and clergy as they seek to be effective witnesses in the world as a part of the whole body of Christ. The Discipline includes our church Constitution, our history, our doctrinal standards, and our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ, as well as practical processes through which our congregations connect and support each other to reach the world. The book is available for purchase ($23.99 per copy) through Cokesbury. Here’s the link to order them:
To get the free online version of the Book of Disciple click on the link below:
Title: Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation 2013-2016 – Pastor-Parish Relations
The Pastor Parish (or Staff Parish) Relations committee serves a key role in the establishing the focus of the pastor, staff, and congregation’s ministry. This useful booklet (available through Cokebury for about $3.00) is a very helpful reference. It provides clear explainations regarding all of the duties and responsibilities of an S/PPRC and will be a tremendous help to you as you serve on this important commitee. We encourage all S/PPRC members to get a copy.
Title: Watching Over One Another In Love
Drawing on Wesleyan themes of grace and responsibility, Watching Over One Another In Love provides step-by-step guidance for creating a covenant-based ministry assessment process that holds persons accountable for fruit-bearing faith. At the same time, it enables the experience of ministry assessment to be edifying for both the church and the pastor.