New and continued ministerial membership in Conservative Mennonite Conference requires a desire for continued membership, holding to a position of theology and doctrine compatible with CMC position, demonstrating a life-style compatible with CMC position, and at least one of the following involvements:
- Serving as a pastor, associate/assistant pastor, overseer, or deacon in a CMC church.
- Serving an agency, institution, board, or committee of CMC.
- Being of retirement age1 and having retired from a CMC church, institution, or agency with continued interest in CMC.
- Serving in an active evangelistic or teaching ministry of the Word compatible with CMC.
- Attending CMC functions, such as the annual conference and the Ministers’ Fellowship, regularly or frequently.
Ministers who are not involved2 beyond a temporary transition in a ministry represented by ordination in a CMC context may ask for release3 from ministerial membership and credentials in CMC. After a five-year period of apparent non-involvement of a minister, the following procedure applies:
- The CMC office sends to the minister a questionnaire designed to clarify the involvement or non-involvement of the minister.
- The Executive Board processes the questionnaire and may present a recommendation to the CMC business meeting.
- In the event of the minister failing to respond to the questionnaire or other inquiry, the Executive Board may proceed with a recommendation in the absence of a response.
- Action may be taken by the CMC business meeting to discontinue the ministerial membership and credentials of a minister in response to the recommendation of the Executive Board or after other careful and prayerful consideration.
It is generally expected that a three-year period of a non-involvement constitutes cause for release from ministerial membership and credentials.
CMC ministers who are long-term pastors of non-CMC churches will automatically relinquish their CMC credentials after a period of three years (or less, at the discretion of the Executive Board), unless their church applies for CMC membership. CMC pastors may serve, however, as interim pastors in non-CMC churches.
1Retirement age, for this purpose, is 62 or older. Exceptions can be considered in cases of disability.
2The term involve and its derivatives are used in this document in reference to the five points of involvement listed in the early part of this document.
3The term release, as used in this document, can mean voluntary or involuntary withdrawal of membership and credentials and may be expressed in actions in terms such as dismissal, revocation, or other synonyms.