Synod 2009 approved a change in policy that gives ministry associates a measure of job protection.
Ministry associates—who fill such jobs as youth pastor, worship minister, evangelist, or even pastor in some cases—must be approved by a classis (regional group of churches) when hired, but before now they could be let go at will.
Under the new policy, a church must “seek the concurrence of the classis in which the approval was given” when seeking to dismiss a ministry associate for whatever reason.
The change “continues to raise the level of appreciation for and status of ministry associates,” said Rev. Dan Ackerman, Classis Grand Rapids South, who chaired the advisory committee dealing with the matter. “The ministry associate is now on par with ordained ministers in this matter.”