Standards of Competence


Each ministry situation is understood in terms of its spiritual, social, economic, racial, political, cultural and geographic context. It is valuable to recognize different situations, and to match, in so far as practical, leadership skills to them. A clergy person develops skills that are useful in each differing situation. The practice of ministerial pastoral leadership includes, but is not limited to, the following areas: relationship building, communication, management, professional and personal growth, and celebration and worship.



Building relationships

Building trust

Relationship Building

Competence in leadership by practicing clergy requires skill in counseling, visiting, teaching, team training, and consultation. A practicing clergy person is to be evaluated on his or her ability to: Clarify relationships according to her or his role; e.g. friend, counselor, teacher, etc.

  • Enable other persons to clarify their own convictions and values.
  • Enhance relationships between persons and God through disciplines or exercises such as prayer, meditation, healing, and other spiritual experiences.
  • Effect salutary growth in “crisis of faith” situations and facilitate specific, attainable, and measurable transition in life’s stages.
  • Promote healthy interpersonal relationships.
  • Involve the community of faith with the wider community through social action and cooperative ministry, promoting justice and service.
  • Involve self and others with interfaith, ecumenical, and judicatory structures.
  • Work with clergy and laity of other faiths, religions, denominations, or sects.
  • Cooperate with colleagues and other leaders in one’s own denominational structure.

Clergy communicating

Creating quality connections


Competence in leadership by practicing clergy includes demonstrable skill in sharing that to which he or she is called, committed and commissioned. A clergy person is to be evaluated on the ability to:

  • Speak effectively in public.
  • Preach or proclaim.
  • Teach, using both traditional forms and those of an experimental character.
  • Write well for publication.
  • Manage correspondence.
  • Listen actively.
  • Make use of video, audio and multimedia resources.

In addition, she or he is expected to be able to interpret symbols of past, present and future relevant to the congregation, or more broadly to the community, in such a way in preaching, teaching, worship, witness, and social action that the power and authority of these symbols applies to the lives of the persons and institutions addressed. Skill in helping others to communicate effectively either in groups or individually is expected, as is the capacity to give and receive constructive criticism and to deal faithfully and effectively with conflicts.

Pastor speaking

Leading through inspiration


Competence in leadership by practicing clergy requires the skill of good stewardship or management appropriate to voluntary organizations. It is necessary for each clergy person to have skills in some, if not all, of the following areas:

  • Enabling individuals and groups to set policy and make decisions.
  • Administering and organizing long-range planning and development programs.
  • Raising funds, as well as the budgeting and control of money.
  • Coordinating, developing and evaluating staff; e.g. part-time staff, lay volunteers, official boards or committee members.
  • Directing the use and care of facilities.
  • Negotiating salaries, contracts, covenants, job descriptions, and letters of agreement.
  •  Evaluating programs.
  • Following through on personal, or professional, commitments.
  • Using one’s authority appropriately.
  • Managing time: for work, family and self-fulfillment.
  • Recruiting, motivating, and training volunteers.
Teacher and students

Lifelong learning

Personal and Professional Growth

Competence in leadership by practicing clergy requires development of personal and professional learning skills such as:

  • Development of an integrated personal and professional identity.
  • Ability to analyze and evaluate a ministerial situation and one’s role in it.
  • Mutual clarification of expectations with others.
  • Ability to learn from experience by using tools such as: case study, diary, notes, verbatim reporting, etc.
  • Regular and frequent use of continuing education and careful development opportunities.
  • Utilization of professional help and consultation within the congregation, judicatory, and community institutions.
  • Ability to accept and use criticism for the benefit of the congregation, institutions, individuals and one’s self.
  • Willingness and ability to share practice for review with one’s peers.
  • Sensitivity to patterns of emotional reaction, both verbal and nonverbal.
  • Capacity to recognize and acknowledge the need for, and to seek appropriate help in, crisis situation in personal and professional life.
  • Ability to maintain reasonable discipline for nurture of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Clergy in a kilt, Celtic worship

Honoring our traditions

Celebration and Worship

Competence in leadership by practicing clergy requires skills in:

  • Preaching.
  • The conduct of worship, using both traditional and contemporary forms.
  • Mobilizing the creativity and spontaneity of individuals and groups.
  • Communicating through worship an authentic faith.
  • Utilizing relevant and meaningful liturgies and orders of worship.