Formal Guidelines from New York Yearly Meeting's Faith and Practice
One of the reasons for the creation of this booklet has been that our book of Faith and Practice provides only a bare outline of the process and requirements for recording gifts in ministry. Faith and Practice however, remains the final word on the subject. The relevant sections follow:
Some meetings may wish to continue the practice of recording ministers. In such cases when a member has spoken in the public ministry to the edification and spiritual help of the congregation, and has rendered this service to such an extent as to afford a basis for judgment as to the nature of those gifts and calling, the meeting on ministry and counsel should carefully consider whether there is evidence of a gift in the ministry that should be officially recognized. While a spoken message may be helpful in its place and should be esteemed and encouraged accordingly, not every person who speaks in public should be given official recognition. It should be borne in mind that such recognition in ministry is not only a seal of approval of one who is locally helpful but that it also involves extension of service beyond the local community. Recorded ministers not only have opportunity for service among Friends generally, but, because of the increase in interdenominational activity, such recognition opens the way for contacts and associations with ministers and members of other religious bodies. p>
When the monthly meeting on ministry and counsel is satisfied that a member has a gift in the ministry that is considered of suitable character and aptitude, this should be reported to the monthly meeting. If the monthly meeting approves, the monthly meeting on ministry and counsel should prepare a minute for consideration of the yearly meeting on ministry and counsel or its coordinating committee, which in turn should refer the proposal to a designated committee for examination and recommendation. If, after due consideration, the way seems clear, the yearly meeting on ministry and counsel may approve the recording and furnish a copy of its minute to the monthly meeting of which the individual is a member. The action should also be reported to the Yearly Meeting for record. If a proposal to record is not approved, the originating meeting should be so informed.
In case a member who has been recorded as a minister appears to have lost the gift and usefulness in the ministry, a proposal to rescind the action recording the member as a minister may originate with the overseers or ministry and counsel of the monthly meeting of which the minister is a member, or in the yearly meeting on ministry and counsel. Final action rests with the yearly meeting on ministry and counsel. The individual concerned and the monthly meeting to which that person belongs shall be notified before final action is taken, and care should be exercised that any rights involved are fully safeguarded.
The status of a minister is transferable with the certificate of membership from one monthly meeting to another and from one yearly meeting to another. It is expected, however, that a minister planning to engage in the pastoral ministry in another yearly meeting will endeavor to meet the requirements of the yearly meeting to which transfer is made.
Similar language is found in the Faith and Practice of most of the other yearly meetings in North America which practice recording.