Doctrines and Discipline of the Free Methodist Church of North America - 1939 Edition



I. Reception on Trial

     ¶ 198. 1. A preacher may be received on trial by an annual conference after passing a satisfactory examination in the prescribed course of study, and after having been duly recommended by a quarterly conference; and when so received he shall receive from the annual conference a certificate of his relation, signed by the president and secretary. But the requirements of this paragraph shall not be so fully enforced as to preclude the reception of a person who, in the judgment of the annual conference, is possessed of natural gifts and graces such as to promise at least a fair degree of success in the work of God; such exceptions in all cases to follow the recommendation of two-thirds of the stationing committee.

     2. A preacher on trial in the annual conference shall hold his church membership in the annual conference and be counted with the preachers, but shall not be entitled to vote.

II. Reception into Full Membership

     ¶ 199. A traveling preacher may be received into full membership after having been employed in the regular itinerant work two successive years subsequent to his reception on trial by an annual conference, and after passing a satisfactory examination in the .required course of study, and giving satisfactory answers to the following questions, namely:

     1. Have you faith in Christ?

     2. Have you present assurance of sins forgiven?

     3. Do you believe in Christian perfection?

     4. Have you attained to this rich experience in your own heart. (If not) Are you groaning after it?

     5. Are you resolved to devote yourself wholly to God and his work?

     6. Do you know the general rules? Do you keep them?

     7. Do you regularly attend the sacrament?

     8. Have you read our Discipline?

     9. Are you willing to conform to it?

     10. Have you considered the rules for a preacher?

     11. Will you keep them for conscience’ sake?

     12. Are you determined to employ all your time in the work of God?

     13. Will you endeavor not to speak too long or too loud?

     14. Will you diligently instruct the children in every place?

     15. Will you visit from house to house?

     16. Will you recommend fasting, or abstinence, both by precept and example?

     17. Are you in debt?

III. Reception from Other Denominations

     ¶ 200. 1. Ministers from other evangelical churches who desire to unite with our church may be received according to our usages, on condition of their giving satisfactory answers to the questions which we propose to our own members and ministers before receiving them into full membership and of their giving satisfaction to an annual conference of their being in orders, and of their agreement with us in doctrine, discipline, government and usages; provided the conference is also satisfied with their gifts, graces and usefulness.

     2. Every minister, whether local or itinerant, whose ordination is recognized by an annual conference, shall be entitled to a parchment from the president of the conference, certifying the fact of his ordination.

IV. Termination of Conference Membership 

     ¶ 201. 1. By voluntary location.

     2. By location through action of the conference, under the provisions of Paragraph 162.

     3. By ceasing to travel or do the work assigned, without the proper consent. (See Paragraph 205.)

     4. By withdrawal with consent of the conference. See Paragraphs 169(12), 427.

     ¶ 202. When satisfactory evidence shall have been received that a conference minister has united with another denomination without having requested or received from our church proper credentials of withdrawal, he may be declared withdrawn by a majority vote of the conference. No minister leaving the church after complaints have been lodged against him shall, if by any means he regain membership in the church, be allowed to exercise any of the functions of the ministerial office until legal satisfaction shall have been given the conference to which be belonged at the time of leaving the church. 1


1 In case an ordained minister in good standing in the Free Methodist Church unites with another church, or is granted his request to withdraw from the Free Methodist Church, he shall deposit his parchments with the secretary of the conference, who shall give him a receipt for the same. If an ordained preacher shall be expelled from the church, or he permitted to withdraw under charges, he thereby forfeits his parchments and they shall be deposited with the secretary of the conference from which he withdrew or was expelled. If he ref uses or neglects so to deposit them, the conference shall by official action declare them forfeited.