Effective church finances will advance your mission. Effective financial practices will enhance trust, grow giving, and free people's energy and creativity to focus on mission. This is your one-stop "how to" resource section for Church Finance leaders, especially:
• in smaller churches without paid professional financial management staff
• volunteers called to serve in financial management and oversight roles
Your Conference is a primary resource. It connects with church practices and resources in your area, as well as state regulations. Many have Church Finance resources on their websites or available through their offices.
Do you have resources you can share to enhance this site? Are there other resources you'd like to see? Send an email message to Doris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those serving in the ministry of Conferences and Associations are, increasingly, the denomination's "sandwich generation": they witness to, walk with and work through both the dying and the birthing of ministries. Association and Conference Ministers support leadership formation and authorization, congregational search and call, regional ministry programs, and they shape vision for church vitality.
The Ministerial MESA Ministry Team supports regional and judicatory ministers in the United Church of Christ, especially through the biennial event AM21: Authorizing Ministry in the 21st Century (held most recently in Savannah, Georgia, in December 2014). MESA is pleased to equip Judicatory Ministers and Conference Staff with the following tools for the ongoing work of authorization, oversight, and search-and-call. As these tools are updated for a church that is ever-changing in the 21st century, these files will be revised accordingly. Please check back frequently to use the latest versions of these files; dates are noted within the documents for reference.
Quick links to resources for Association and Conference Ministers:
- Ministerial Code of Ethics (2017)
- Sample Call Agreement
- Outline of a Ministerial File
- Vocabulary for Pastoral Positions
- Guidelines for Ecclesiastical Endorsement
- Procedures for Transfer of Ministerial Standing
- Sample Three-Way and Four-Way Covenants
- Sample Application for Privilege of Call/Dual Standing
- Access to the Ministerial Profiles Portal
- Information Review Form, for annual reporting between authorized ministers and Committees on Ministry
- Fitness Review Reporting Form
- Fitness Review Process Chart – Sample
- Media Guide for Fitness Reviews
- Roles of the Response Team in a Fitness Review
- Appeals and Communications in a Fitness Review
- The Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers, including the Marks Rubric (especially for Committees on Ministry) and the Journaling the Journey workbook (especially for Members in Discernment and authorized ministers)
- Manual on Ministry
- Manual on Church
- Discernment Travelogue
- Discernment Travelogue – Spanish
- Discernment Travelogue – Samoan
- Dictionary of Pastoral Positions
- Dictionary of Pastoral Positions – Spanish
- Dictionary of Pastoral Positions – Samoan
- 2005 Proclamation on Ministry Issues
- The Marks of Faithful and Effective Boundary Awareness Trainers
- Innovations in Search and Call (a conversation resource from the MESA Ministry Team)
- Conference User Guide to the Ministerial Profiles Portal
- Certificate Order Form
- MESA and seminaries in partnership
- Committee on Ministry Research Report
- For Circulation: Articles about Ministry
- For Authorized Ministers: Departure Ethics and Social Media Boundaries
- Interim Agreement between the United Church of Christ and The United Church of Canada
The gifts Christ gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.(Ephesians 4:11-12) The United Church of Christ values well-prepared and faithful ministerial leadership for the building up of the body of Christ and for God's ongoing mission in the world. To that end, we continue to expand our definitions of learnedness and leadership, our practices of discernment, and our expressions of covenant.
Additional resources specific to authorized ministers in the United Church of Christ include: Grants for Personal and Vocational Crisis; Interim Ministry Guidelines; Information Review Form (a tool for maintaining one's standing through intentional communication with one's local Committee on Ministry); overview of health, pension, and other benefits through The Pension Boards; Faith and Wisdom (a searchable database of ecumenical Protestant opportunities for continuing education).
There are three forms of authorized ministry in the United Church of Christ: commissioned ministry, licensed ministry and ordained ministry.
- A commissioned minister is authorized by an Association of the United Church of Christ to perform "specific church-related ministry which is recognized by that Association but does not require ordination or licensure." (UCC Bylaws) Typically, commissioned ministers do not perform sacramental ministry but are engaged in ministries (e.g. education, music, nursing) that the denomination values as part of its mission and ministry. Commissioning is dependent upon a recognized call to an organized body. A commissioned minister is a representative minister in the United Church of Christ, and one's commission is transferable to another Association when there is a new call within the same "specific church-related ministry."
- A licensed minister is authorized by an Association of the United Church of Christ "to perform specific duties in a designated local church or within that Association, mainly preaching and conducting services of worship for a designated time." (UCC Bylaws) Licensed ministry is frequently authorized, for example, when a local church needs pastoral and sacramental leadership but an ordained minister is not available. The Association, in consultation with the local church requesting a person's licensure, determines the specific duties and length of time for which the license is granted. A license is not transferable to another ministry setting or Association.
- An ordained minister is authorized by an Association of the United Church of Christ to preach and teach the gospel, to administer the sacraments and rites of the church, and to exercise pastoral care and leadership. An ordained minister is a representative minister of the United Church of Christ and is in covenant with the local church where (s)he holds UCC membership, the calling body where (s)he is engaged in ministry, and the Association acting on behalf of the United Church of Christ. Once granted, ordained standing is ongoing and transferable to another Association; standing is always subject to review and requires a mindful relationship between the clergyperson, Association and ministry setting. The Ordained Minister's Code not only guides a clergyperson's behavior in ministry but also provides an assessment tool for ongoing discernment and growth.
The Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers is a tool for discernment and assessment, created especially for use by Members in Discernment, Committees on Ministry, and authorized ministers. The Marks developed through conversations surrounding the Ministry Issues Pronouncement of General Synod 25, which sought to expand UCC definitions of learnedness and leadership in authorized ministry and to emphasize excellence in ministerial formation.
It's important to note that the Marks, available in multiple formats and languages below, is not a checklist or report card, in which one strives to receive a perfect grade in every category. Rather, the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers provides a lens for reflecting upon a person's formation, gifts and growth both before authorization and throughout one's ministry.
Additional resources specific to authorized ministers in the United Church of Christ include: Grants for Personal and Vocational Crisis; Interim Ministry Guidelines; Information Review Form (a tool for maintaining one's standing through intentional communication with one's local Committee on Ministry); Faith and Wisdom (a searchable database of ecumenical Protestant opportunities for continuing education).
Requirements for the ecclesiastical endorsement of a specialized minister in a professional setting can be found on the Ecclesiastical Endorsement page and in the Manual on Ministry, Section 9. Please note that some rules have changed or are not covered in the Manual. Additional guidelines may be provided in coorrespondence with the Endorser (Stephen Boyd, Minister for Chaplains and Specialized Ministers) and the Endorsement Secretary (Ms. Kathleen Satter).
Professional organizations for specialized ministry:
American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC): www.aapc.org
American Correctional Chaplains Association (ACCA): www.correctionalchaplains.org
Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE): www.acpe.edu
Association for Professional Chaplains (APC): www.professionalchaplains.org
College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP): www.cpsp.org
Council for Health & Human Service Ministry (CHHSM): www.chhsm.org
UCC Professional Chaplains and Counselors (UCCPCC): www.uccpcc.org
International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC): www.icpc4cops.org
National Institute of Business and Industrial Chaplains (NIBIC): www.nibic.com
National Association of College and University Chaplains (NACUC): www.nacuc.net
National Campus Ministry Association (NCMA): www.campusministry.net
Ecumenical Campus Ministry Team (ECMT): www.higheredmin.org
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Caroline Belsom, 2019
Traci Blackmon, 2021
Deb Blood, 2019
Brian Bodager, 2019
Frank Bolden – Chair, 2019
Emma Brewer-Wallin, 2023
Carolyne Call, 2021
Rachel Chapman, 2023
Michael Cich-Jones, 2023
Dennis Coy, 2021
John Dorhauer, 2019
Gabriela Everett, 2023
John Folk, 2023
Robert (Bob) Frieberg, 2019
Darrell Goodwin, 2023
Kevin Graham, 2023
Carla Gregg-Kearns, 2021
Timothy Hachfeld, 2023
Don Hart, 2019
Richard Harter, 2021
Alice W. Hunt, 2021
Wesley Hurt, 2019
Rachel Chapman, 2023
Nesa Joseph, 2019
Penny Lowes, 2019
James Maki, 2021
Douglas McClelland, 2021
Yesenia Menendez-Sanchez, 2021
Keith Mills, 2019
James Moos, 2019
Gloria-Ann Muraki, 2023
David Nelson, 2021
Kevin Omi, 2019
Kevin Peterson, 2019
Michael Readinger, 2019
Inez Reid, 2021
Franz Rigert, 2019
Carol Shipley, 2019
Hannah Snyder-Samuelson, 2019
Seung Un (Paul) Tche, 2019
John Vertigan, 2019
Harriett Ward, 2021
Diane Weible, 2019
Marsha Williams, 2023
Norman Williams, 2019
Bill Worley, 2019
Yvette Wynn – Vice Chair, 2021
Thinking about Worship: A Bibliography
The Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
Faith Formation Ministry Team
*Indicates a UCC author or publication
Worship Ways: UCC on line RCL-based planning resource; English and Spanish:
Sermon Seeds: UCC on line RCL-based preaching preparation:
Models, Planning Primers
The Africana Worship Book, Years A, B, C - eds. Davis and Fosua
© 2006 by Discipleship Resources
Lectionary based prayers from Christians in African Diaspora - wide range of themes, forms; good models
Brim: Creative Overflow in Worship Design - Andra Moran and Suzanne Castle
Chalice Press © 2013 Andra Moran and Suzanne Castle
Step by step guide to forming and resourcing worship planning teams: fun, accessible, challenging!
The Christian Year: A Guide for Worship and Preaching*
Abingdon Press © 2011 Robin Knowles Wallace
Wonderful teaching tool and planning tool. In clear, accessible language Wallace connects the history of the church year with the possibilities of mission, offering model services and planning designs.
The Church in Her House: a Feminist Emancipatory Prayer Boo kfor Christian Communities* - Marjorie Procter-Smith
The Pilgrim Press © 2008 Marjorie Procter-Smith
Examines elements of prayer and worship: sound, words, space, scripture, music - a primer for all small group worship with a feminist perspective
Communion Services* - Robin Knowles Wallace
Primer on Communion designed for congregational teaching. From theological reflection about Communion to practical helps for planning services, an accessible resource for congregations.
50 Ways to Pray: Practices from Many Traditions and Times
Teresa A. Blythe ©2006 Abingdon Press
From praying with icons to praying with contemporary media; from traditional "examen" to intercessory prayer, models, exercises, reflections
Imaging the Word: An Arts and Lectionary Resource*
Vol 1 ed. K. Lawrence; vols 2/3 ed. S. Blain © United Church Press
Visual arts and poetry at the service of the Sunday lectionary - a different way in to understanding the scriptures
Let the Whole Church Say Amen! A Guide for Those Who Pray in Public
Laurence Hull Stookey (Abingdon Press, 2001).
A series of practical exercises for the creation of different kinds of prayers, Attention given to context, imagery, rhythm, use of scripture, praying in interfaith settings, addressing controversial topics.
A Praying Congregation: The Art of Teaching Spiritual Practice * - Jane Vennard
© 2005 the Alban Institute
What do you believe about prayer - how do you do it? Draws on Christian tradition; offers reflections and exercises to get into prayer and its richness
Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God - Sybil MacBeth
Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA © 2007 Sybil MacBeth
Not just for children! Accesses the right brain, and takes us beyond words - delightful!
Reinventing Worship: Prayers, Readings, Special Services and More
Ed. Brad Berglund © 2006 Judson Press
Fresh collection of prayers for Sundays and ordinary days
The Sourcebook Series from Liturgy Training Publications
(LTP) of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Each volume looks at a season of the church year, or a theme of Christian life, and compiles quotations, poetry, song lyrics, from early church sources through modern literature. Wonderful way of sparking ideas and images!
Themes: Reconciliation, Death, Baptism, Eucharist, Music, Liturgy
Each Liturgical Season gets its own Sourcebook
The Work of the People: What We Do in Worship and Why*
© 2007 Alban - Marlea Gilbert, Christopher Grundy, Stephanie Perdew and Eric Myers
A good resource for lay worship committees - structured study program, accessible, offering history of traditions, and offering suggestions of how they may be adapted for this new day. Gives food for thought and lots of context.
Worship for the Whole People of God: Vital Worship for 21st Century
© 2013 Ruth Duck
New Seminary worship textbook which is clear, comprehensive and progressive.
Worship in the Shape of Scripture*, revised, 2010 - F. Russell Mitman
Classic, beautiful text integrating scripture, hymnody, liturgical forms; sets forth the best of the modern Protestant liturgical renewal. Excellent models for all liturgical prayer.
The Worship Workshop: Creative Ways to Design Worship Together - Marcia McFee
©2002 Abingdon Press
Geared for worship planning teams in congregations, an accessible and delightful series of exercises to get imagination going and think holistically about worship and ritual, and practice creating services
(Models of prayers as poetry across faith traditions)
All Desires Known: Inclusive Prayers for Worship and Meditation, by Janet Morley
Morehouse Publishing, 1992
Vivid prayers modeled on or paraphrasing scripture.
Book of Worship: United Church of Christ* reprint 2010
© 2012 United Church Press
New edition includes inclusive marriage rite
The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayer for Daily Life, The Sabbath, and The New Moon Festival - Marcia Falk
Harper SanFrancisco © 1996 Marcia Falk
A poet's take on traditional and new prayers - speaks to the heart, speaks of the holiness of daily life
Celebrate God's Presence: A book of services for the United Church of Canada
©2000 United Church Publishing House
Book and CD
Feasting on the Word Worship Companion - Kimberly Bracken Long
© 2013 Westminster John Knox Press
Companion to the Feasting on the Word Commentary and Curriculum series; eloquent, lectionary-based prayers for Sundays and Festivals.
Iona Community Publications; Wild Goose Publications
Progressive liturgies and music from the Iona Community of Scotland
http://www.ionabooks.com/e-liturgies-prayers.html GIA, American distributor
A New Zealand Prayer Book; He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa
Collins ©1989 [Anglican] Church of the Province of New Zealand
Inclusive, expansive language; fresh presentation of orthodox prayers
Mishkan T’Filah: A Reform Siddur Elyse Frishman, ed
© 2009 Central Conference of American Rabbis
Beautiful poetry; fresh translations; daily life rendered holy
Emerging Church Worship Resources
Alternative Worship: Resources From and For the Emerging Church
© 2004 Jonny Baker
Resources from the UK
Formational Children's Ministry: Shaping Children using Story, Ritual and Relationship
© 2010 Ivy Beckwith
Emergent Church approach to children’s ministry, placing participation in community worship at the center
Toward a Hopeful Future: Why the Emergent Church is Good News for Mainline Congregations - Phil Snyder and Emily Bowen
Pilgrim Press © 2010 Phil Snyder and Emily Bowen
A clear introduction to the Emergent Church movement, and models of emerging liturgies for use in congregations
How (Not) to Speak of God - Peter Rollins
Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA © 2006 Peter Rollins
Voice from the Emerging Church movement, creating liturgies outside the box and the sanctuary
The Inclusive Bible: the First Egalitarian Translation
© 2009 Priests for Equality
Excellent, fresh translation using Inclusive Language for humanity and God. Well written, not awkward or clunky.
The People's Bible
© 2008 Fortress Press
Annotated NRSV which highlights cultural issues in the development of Scripture and its uses in diverse cultures over time. A strong justice orientation to interpretation.
The Jewish Annotated New Testament
© 2011 Oxford University Press
NRSV annotated by Jewish scholars, clarifying Jewish ritual and tradition, and offering Jewish interpretation of life of Jesus and the early church.
Liberating Rites: Understanding the Transformative Power of Ritual - Tom F. Driver
© 1998 Tom F. Driver
Excellent introduction to Ritual Studies