As approved by the 2018 Synod of the Moravian Church, Northern Province
Some congregations call or appoint full-time pastors; others call or appoint part-time pastors. Some congregations have just one pastor; others have more than one full- or part-time pastors serving on staff. Regardless of the ministry setting or the size of the staff, many needs and opportunities for growth call for our time and our attention. Every congregation faces the challenge of prioritizing these needs and opportunities and determining who will engage in the work of a particular ministry. Church boards, pastors, and denominational leaders are all called to work together so that rich and faithful ministry can take place in every congregation.
Even in settings where pastors can devote full-time attention to the needs of a congregation and opportunities for mission and growth, the challenge of setting priorities and setting limits can be daunting. This challenge is particularly true for part-time pastors and the congregations they serve. Both need to work together to ensure that the needs of the congregation are met. Lay members of the congregation need to embrace ministry that before might have been seen as the work of clergy. Church boards, part-time pastors, and denominational leaders need to work together to ensure that part-time pastors do not end up serving full-time for part-time pay and benefits, and that they have enough protected time to engage, as they desire, in other employment.
The following guidelines for part-time ministry are meant to help denominational leaders, lay leaders, and part-time pastors work together so that the ministries of their congregations can thrive to the fullest extent possible. More specifically, these guidelines are meant:
- to ensure that the time a part-time pastor spends at work, areas of responsibility, time off, and compensation are equitable and fair;
- to protect the time commitments of part-time pastors so that they can realistically take time to care for their families and/or take on other employment in order to meet their financial needs;
- to encourage lay members to take on additional roles and functions in their congregations;
- to ensure that an emergency plan for pastoral coverage is in place when a part-time pastor is not available;
- to provide a clear and regular process for evaluating and adjusting ministry that part-time pastors and their congregations undertake together;
- and to encourage joint boards and pastors serving part-time to develop plans for seasonal programming and other circumstances beyond the anticipated workload for a pastor serving part-time.
Section I: Models for Part-Time Ministry
Different pastors and ministry settings may call for different approaches and models for part-time ministry. Whatever model is chosen, the expectations for implementing it should be clear and time off for the part-time pastor to pursue other employment and to care for family responsibilities should be respected.
Model One: More Days Off Per Week
A part-time pastor will have more than one day completely off, when no work is expected. A congregation will need lay people to take care of visitation on the days the pastor is off and some lay assistance with office tasks.
The part-time pastor working this model should receive the same number of Sundays off as a full-time called or appointed pastor (4 weeks vacation, 1 week continuing education, and 1 week camp ministry). [Note: Otherwise, part-time pastors will be working more Sundays than full-time pastors].
- For ¾ time: Work Sunday and 3 week days; (2 days per week will be off plus standard 4 weeks vacation, 1 week continuing education, 1 week camp ministry).
- For ½ time: Work Sunday and 2 week days; (3 days per week will be off plus standard 4 weeks vacation, 1 week continuing education, 1 week camp ministry).
- For ¼ time: Work Sunday and 1 week day; (4 days per week will be off plus standard 4 weeks vacation, 1 week continuing education, 1 week camp ministry).
Model Two: Work Shorter Days
The part-time pastor would work on Sundays plus shorter hours on agreed upon days of the week to fulfill expectations for time spent and focus on areas of responsibility.
The part-time pastor working this model should receive the same number of Sundays off as a full-time called or appointed pastor (4 weeks vacation, 1 week continuing education, and 1 week camp ministry). [Note: Otherwise part-time pastors will be working more Sundays than full-time pastors].
(For average work hours per week, see Section IIA: Time Spent)
Model Three: Full Week(s) Including Sundays Off Per Month
This approach would give a part-time pastor the benefit of being able to have some full weeks and weekends with family who are often on more traditional work and school schedules.
In this model, the pastor’s vacation would be proportional as well (¾ time pastor would have 3 weeks vacation, ½ time pastor would have 2 weeks vacation, ¼ time pastor would have 1 week vacation).
- For ¾ time, 1 week (including Sunday) per month will be off (plus 3 weeks of vacation).
- For ½ time, 2 weeks (including Sundays) per month will be off (plus 2 weeks of vacation).
- For ¼ time, 3 weeks (including Sundays) per month will be off (plus 1 week of vacation).
Model Four: Months Off Per Year
A pastor would work a full-time schedule for some months of the year but be completely off for other months.
- For ¾ time, the pastor would work full-time for 9 months and be completely off for 3 months of the year plus 3 weeks of vacation.
- For ½ time, the pastor would work full-time for 6 months and be completely off for 6 months of the year plus 2 weeks of vacation.
- For ¼ time, the pastor would work full-time for 3 months and be completely off for 9 months of the year plus 1 week of vacation.
Model Five: Individualized Models
Understanding the expectations for time spent and areas of responsibility, the part-time pastor, joint board, and district representatives agree at the time of call or appointment on a model they develop that works for the pastor and congregation.
Section II: Work Expectations for Part-Time Pastors
Most full-time professionals assume that they will work between 40 and 50 hours per week with a somewhat predictable schedule. Most pastors, however, will expect to work flexible hours and to work more than the minimum number of hours when responding to the pastoral emergencies and programming needs of their congregations. Work expectations on average should therefore be as follows for full-time and part-time pastors:
- Full-time ministry equals 40 hours per week on average with an additional 5-15 unscheduled hours as needed.
- ¾ time ministry equals 30 hours per week on average with an additional 3-8 unscheduled hours as needed.
- ½ time ministry equals 20 hours per week on average with an additional 2-5 unscheduled hours as needed.
- ¼ time ministry equals 10 hours per week on average with an additional 1-3 unscheduled hours as needed.
Areas of Responsibility
A part-time pastor’s areas of responsibility should be clearly identified, agreed upon at the time the pastor is called or appointed, and communicated to the congregation so that all members understand the focus of the pastor’s ministry. Every congregation is different and will need pastors to focus on different areas of ministry depending on the congregation’s challenges and opportunities. Sometimes an area of ministry can be quite consuming or, at other times, a fairly light responsibility. With these variables in mind, the following are guidelines to help determine how many areas of responsibility a part-time pastor can reasonably be expected to undertake.
- A pastor serving full-time would typically be involved in several of the areas listed below.
- A pastor serving ¾ time would typically be responsible for worship and any two areas listed below.
- A pastor serving ½ time would typically be responsible for worship and any one area listed below.
- A pastor serving ¼ time would typically be responsible for worship.
Typical Areas of Responsibility:
_____ Worship: Lead congregations in praise, confession, prayer and proclamation, nurturing members’ relationships with God and one another through worship together.
_____ Pastoral Care: Pay special attention to the problems of the elderly, the sick, and those with special needs. Visit and provide support for members, especially in times of crisis. Provide counseling for those facing problems or decisions.
_____ Administrative Leader: Manage the organizational affairs of the congregation.
_____ Christian Education: Teach, work, and learn with children, youth, and adults, helping them grow in their understanding of God’s love for us, the Bible, our history as people of faith, and our Christian response and engagement with the world.
_____ Outreach and Missional Service to the Community: Work with congregational members to share the gospel with those outside the church by meeting needs in the community.
_____ Ecumenical and Interfaith Work: Join with people of other Christian denominations and other faith traditions to work for the coming of God’s kingdom.
_____ Denominational Service: Serving on task forces, committees, or commissions to carry forward the work of local Moravian groups, Districts, the Northern Province, or World-Wide Unity. This work can include writing for denominational publications and representing the Moravian Church at ecumenical and interfaith events.
In order to further the work of the larger denomination, the Northern Province depends heavily on the volunteer labor of pastors who plan and carry out camping programs and serve on denominational committees, boards, and task forces. Such denominational service is of benefit to the health of our larger denomination and it can be of benefit both to pastors and their congregations. Pastors and their congregations grow in their knowledge of and connections to the larger denomination. Denominational service also allows pastors to grow and learn, to develop leadership skills, and to use gifts and abilities they may not be called upon to share in their local settings.
Giving some time and attention to denominational service is a normal part of a full-time pastor’s call. Part-time pastors and their congregations may find, however, that the time spent for denominational service adds uncompensated hours to a part-time pastor’s workload. They may find that time and energy is taken away from work for the local congregation.
Part-time pastors and their local boards should have full and honest conversation about the impact denominational service has upon a part-time pastor’s workload. When a part-time pastor gives to the denomination work hours that go beyond his or her call or appointment, that work is a gift to the denomination and should be reported as such to the board, district, or provincial agency and should also be reported in the pastor’s portion of the congregation’s annual report. Local boards, district and provincial boards should consider financial hardships in terms of extra expenses or lost time from other employment that part-time pastors incur when they undertake denominational work.
Section III: Expectations for Congregations with Part-Time Pastors
Congregations with part-time pastors are expected to:
- Pray for the part-time pastor, for each other, and for the ministry of the congregation.
- Provide adequate compensation, pension, health care and insurance benefits.
- Provide adequate and timely cost of living and merit pay increases.
- Engage in a quarterly conversation between the part-time pastor and the Elders, Joint or Unified boards, or Pastoral Relations Committee about expectations for time spent and areas of responsibility.
- Review with denominational leadership expectations for time spent and areas of responsibility at least every other year for pastors serving under call and annually for pastors serving under appointment.
- Provide for and respect a schedule that allows for the part-time pastor to have other employment outside the church.
- Put into place and implement a plan to provide pastoral care coverage for the days and times that the part-time pastor is not available.
- Put into place and implement a plan to cover areas of responsibility on which the part-time pastor will not be focusing.
- Publicize to the congregation at time of call or appointment and once a year thereafter, the expectations for pastor and congregation.
Section IV: Providing for Other Part-Time Employment
While some clergy serving in part-time positions may not want additional employment, others will need to supplement their income from their part-time ministry job with other employment.
Part-time employment outside the church does not always offer great flexibility in scheduling. Congregations will need to expect that there will be days of the week or portions of the day when their pastor will be at work at another job and unavailable to them.
Congregations will need to allow their pastors to plan their schedules so that there are enough open hours and enough open days or nights during a week to find and keep a meaningful part-time job.
- For pastors working ¾ time, at least two full days or four half days should be unscheduled to allow for part-time employment.
- For pastors working ½ time, at least three full days or six half days should be unscheduled to allow for part-time employment.
- For pastors working ¼ time, at least four full days should be unscheduled to allow for part-time employment.
During the days that a pastor is scheduled to work at another part-time job, congregations should have in place plans for other pastoral coverage.
Section V: Guidelines for the Call Process and Regular Review
Denominational leaders meeting with a Joint Board will explain the implications of calling or appointing a part-time pastor. Using these guidelines, they make the following clear:
- The time a part-time pastor will be able to give a congregation,
- The time a part-time pastor should have available for other employment,
- The number of areas of responsibility on which a part-time pastor should typically be expected to focus,
- The various models for part-time ministry,
- The need for an emergency plan for pastoral coverage when the part-time pastor is not available,
- The need for lay members to take on roles in the congregation for which the part-time pastor will not be responsible.
Denominational leaders will then assist the Joint Board in planning and ensure that they have:
- Prioritized the areas of ministry for which they need a part-time pastor to take responsibility,
- Made plans for emergency pastoral coverage,
- Assigned areas of responsibility for lay leaders.
Before a potential part-time pastor meets with a Joint Board in a call or appointment meeting, denominational leaders will meet with that pastor to:
- Review various models for part-time ministry,
- Review implications a part-time call or appointment will have for salary, pension, years of service earned, insurance (including health care insurance), and any other benefits,
- Discuss the time expected for a part-time pastor to work for the church and the time expected to be left open for other part-time employment,
- Discuss the number of areas of responsibility that a pastor could expect to undertake in a part-time call or appointment.
The call or appointment meeting with a Joint Board and a potential part-time pastor should:
- Introduce the pastor and board members to each other, explore their philosophies of ministry, and consider the areas of ministry that the congregation feels are important to develop. Are they a good match for each other?
- Give the potential part-time pastor and Joint Board the opportunity to work out in more detail the logistics of a part-time call:
- The time that the pastor will work,
- The model of part-time ministry that the pastor and congregation will use,
- The areas of responsibility on which the pastor will focus,
- The time that a congregation should expect the pastor to be away for other part-time employment,
- The Joint Board’s plans for providing pastoral care coverage when the part-time pastor is away, and
- The Joint Board’s plans for lay leadership of those areas where the part-time pastor will not be responsible.
(This dialogue may take place in one or multiple sessions).
Abiding by the agreement in a part-time pastor’s call or appointment is the responsibility of both the part-time pastor and the boards of the congregation.
- Part-time pastors should put work days on the church calendar.
- Part-time pastors are strongly encouraged to keep a log of their hours worked.
- Part-time pastors and their Elders, Joint or Unified Board, or Pastoral Relations Committee should review at least quarterly how time expectations are being honored, whether the part-time pastor is able to maintain other part-time employment, and the areas of ministry for which the pastor is responsible and which will be most beneficial to the congregation.
- Revisions in the functions assigned to part-time pastors may be appropriate over time as pastors, boards, and congregations become more familiar with each other and as ministry opportunities change.
Helping part-time pastors and their congregations maintain a healthy balance is also the responsibility of our denominational leadership. A year after the pastor’s call or appointment has been issued and then at least every other year after that for called pastors and at least annually for pastors under appointment, a denominational leader should conduct a review with the part-time pastor and his or her boards and consider with them the following questions:
- Are the time agreements being honored?
- Should the areas of responsibility for the part-time pastor be revisited and changed?
- Should the amount of part-time work being done be changed for more or less time?
- Is the part-time pastor receiving adequate salary increases?
- Is the part-time pastor able to maintain another part-time job?
Section VI: Years of Service
Years of service for determining Remuneration for Called Pastors (Book of Order, 2014, Paragraph 221) will be based on the number of years that a pastor has served under call or appointment, whether in part-time or full-time service. Years of service will include years served in other provinces of the Moravian Unity and/or in other recognized denominations.