Definition of Endorsement
Endorsement is a specific intentional relationship that lies at the heart of FCA membership and is, at its core, rooted in a desire to ensure that healthy relationships and accountability exist among FCA members. All members must be endorsed by a qualified FCA church.
Endorsement is the responsibility that an FCA church takes on with another FCA church, ministry, or minister and includes the aspects below. Endorsement:
Involves ensuring that ongoing relationship exists between the endorsing church and the endorsed minister/ministry where mutual encouragement, guidance, support and accountability are present
Means vouching for the theological orthodoxy, spiritual maturity, personal integrity and discipleship, and ministry abilities of any minister/ministry endorsed
Includes being the primary agent beyond the endorsed minister/ministry themselves for any disciplinary issues, grievances, and/or FCA constitution/bylaws or policy/procedure violation issues
Includes taking responsibility for any investigation into relational breakdowns, allegations regarding ministry or personal misconduct, and creating and implementing a strategy for redemptive, disciplinary, or restorative action
Involves participating in facilitating an appropriate course of action for endorsed ministers and/or ministries who are requesting help when experiencing difficulty
Does not in itself imply financial support
Qualifications of an Endorsing Church
An endorsing church must meet the following qualifications:
Be registered with the FCA as a church (not parachurch)
Be a member in good standing
Understand and commit to what is involved in endorsement (see 6.1.1)
Demonstrate an understanding and commitment to the polices and procedures outlined in the constitution, bylaws, and handbook
Commit to sending delegates (at least one or two) to the annual convention whenever possible
Actively participate in the regional meetings in their area
The pastor or church must be a member of the FCA for at least the previous five years uninterrupted
Have a policy regarding endorsements that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements for FCA ministers and/or ministries (see section 6.2)
Responsibilities of the Endorsing Church
The endorsing church is responsible to:
Fulfill the definition of endorsement as outlined in 6.1.1 on an ongoing basis
Ensure endorsed ministers and ministries meet the qualifications to be endorsed as ministers or ministries both at the time of endorsement, and (as a minimum) annually at each renewal
Fulfill the appropriate registration process for endorsing
Complete the endorsement process according to the handbook, whether licensing or ordaining a minister (section 6.2), or endorsing a ministry (section 6.3)
Maintain fellowship with each of their endorsed ministers/ministries on a regular basis (i.e. a personal connection at a minimum of once/year)
Establish an endorsement policy within their church that meets the minimum requirements of the FCA (see section 6.2 for FCA requirements)
Assist and communicate with endorsed ministers and ministries to ensure their annual renewal is completed correctly and on time
Take care to shepherd any applicable transition for those impacted in the event of discontinuing endorsement
It is also recommended that the endorsing church receive an annual (or more frequent) report describing the ministry activities their endorsed ministers or ministries are involved in
Responsibilities of the Endorsed Minister/Ministry
The endorsed member (minister or ministry) is responsible to:
Fulfill the membership requirements (sections 6.2.1 and 6.3.1)
Complete the endorsement process according to the handbook in conjunction with the endorsing church
Maintain fellowship with their endorsing church on a regular basis (i.e. a personal connection at a minimum of once/year)
Ensure their annual renewal is completed correctly and on time
Report on ministry activities to their endorsing church, especially if requested
Be accountable through relationship with their endorsing church (see section 2.2) for their ministry, conduct, integrity, theology, and other areas pertaining to Biblical discipleship
Loss of Endorsement Privileges
An endorsing church may lose their endorsing privileges in the following situations:
They no longer meet the definition of a church outlined in 5.1.
They no longer meet the requirements of membership outlined in 6.3.1.
They no longer meet the qualifications of an endorsing church outlined in 6.1.2.
They fail to meet their responsibilities as an endorsing church outlined in 6.1.3.
If any of these situations arise, the endorsing church of the church in question will work with the church to try to move toward an appropriate resolution. If no endorsing church exists, the Elders or their designate(s) will fill that role. If the situation cannot be resolved adequately, the church will lose their endorsing privileges and any endorsed members will need to obtain endorsement through another endorsing church (see section 6.7 for finding a new endorsing church).