One of our new members to the Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) at South Gate asked me if I could help locate some resource to help them become more familiar with both the work of that committee and general United Methodist structure. I thought this was a good question, and figured I'd post what I found all in one place so I could share it with the other members of the committee and anyone else who found it useful. There are many resources out there; I thought these would be a good starting point.
Staff Parish Relations Commitee
Let's start with some basic information from Discipleship Ministries. Formerly known as The General Board of Discipleship, it is one of what we call the General Agencies of the UMC. The current General Secretary, or person with "the buck stops here" status, is Rev. Junius Dotson, a pastor who most recently served in Wichita, Kansas. The offices for Discipleship Ministries are located in Nashville, Tennessee, and include the Upper Room Chapel. Find their SPRC information here: SPRC leadership info
UMC Church Structure
The rule book of the UMC is called the Book of Discipline. It is revised every four years at General Conference by a group of 850 or so people. At the 2016 meeting of General Conference, it was decided that a free copy would be posted online. Here's the link: Digital Book of Discipline for those who are interested.
Discipleship ministries has clickable links from the SPRC page that provide additional information about other church committees and general structure. Another excellent source of information about UMC structure is the website for the church itself. Start here: UMC church structure and click articles of particular interest.
Information to gather from the local church
I'm thinking each year it is a good plan to make sure all SPRC members have copies of the following for their congregation, and they aren't available to consider creating them:
Written job descriptions
Line item budgets for the previous and current year
Any staff/pastor evaluations from the past year, or a summary if that is more appropriate
Staff organizational chart
Summary of payroll deadlines/timelines with notes about who does which parts of the process
Review of any insurance related to employees
Review of how vacation/sick time/time off is recorded and calculated
Review of which employees are salaried/hourly/contract
Safe Gatherings policy