United Church of Christ

Implementing the 2005 Pronouncement on Ministry Issues

Ministry Issues: Forming and Preparing Pastoral Leaders for God's Church.

The Ministry Issues Pronouncement approved by General Synod 25 in 2005 seeks to address the needs of the UCC for well prepared and faithful ministerial leadership for God's mission in the world both now and in the future. In order to have such well prepared leaders who are able to engage with a geographically and economically diverse, multicultural, multiracial church, it is necessary:

·  to expand our definition of learnedness and leadership

·  to provide multiple means for persons to be formed and prepared for authorized ministry in the UCC

In order to do this, we must pay attention to:

·  our theologies of ministry

·  our understanding and practice of licensed ministry

·  how we engage in deep and authentic discernment of both call and gifts for ministry

·  how we help form leaders with an abiding identity and affinity with the UCC


Ministry Issues Draft 3.1, from the Ministry Issues Implementation Committee in 2009, offers an in-depth exploration of the work and conversations since General Synod 25, including the shift to "Member in Discernment" language and the "Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers."


The following materials help Committees on Ministry explore Draft 3.1; they are designed as workshops that take about two hours, or as pieces to be read by committee members in advance of their work with Members in Discernment. 

The November 2010 Background Document offers a closer reflection upon the covenants of authorized ministry, in conversation with the Marks. This background document may be helpful in discussing constitutional changes and new understandings fo proposed language. Additionally useful background material includes the 1996 lecture by Clyde J. Steckel; Steckel asserts that Committees on Ministry are the innovators of polity and ecclesiology in the UCC as authorized ministry and denominational ways-of-being shift in ways not imagined by our founders.