Ordination in denominations other than PC(USA)

Information and links regarding ordination for many of the denominations represented at McCormick are listed below.

McCormick is a "community of communities," comprised of students from a wide variety of denominations.   Many of our non-Presbyterian students serve as "ministers" and "deacons" in their churches; others are already serving as church pastors, either full-time or in a bi-vocational situation.  For any number of reasons (including requirements of denominations such as the AME) they have made a decision to attend seminary for a Master of Divinity degree.

Ordination requirements differ.  Some are formal, such as those required in the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Methodist Church.  Others, such as those practiced in the Church of Christ (Pentecostal) are more informal and often a function of denominational networks and local bishops.

If you have any questions about seeking ordination in your denomination, please speak with Dean of Students Christine Vogel (cvogel@mccormick.edu) and/or your local church pastor as early as possible before or at the start of your seminary degree.

What follows is introductory information to the process of ordination in various denominations that McCormick students represent.

McCormick Denominations

McCormick is home to students from a wide variety of denominational backgrounds.  While about half of its students hold in membership in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), the remaining half comprise the wide spectrum of traditions and models for ministry found in the Chicago metropolitan area and the Midwest.  Common to all our students is an openness to one another that is rooted in a shared faith in Jesus Christ.

Ordination Information and Resources

African Methodist Episcopal Church

Information coming soon!

American Baptist Churches in the USA

The American Baptist Churches in the USA ordination process consists of:

  1. Licensing (by a local American Baptist congregation in coordination with their regional department of ministry).
  2. Education: Track I: 4 years college, M. Div. from accredited seminary; Track II: Experiential Equivalency. (Maximum is 6 years of full-time ministry equal to three years of higher education.); Track III: Equivalent seminary or lay pastor program from the US or another country, or seven years of full-time ministry, at least three of those in the region of the ordaining church.
  3. American Baptist history and polity course
  4. A course in professional ethics, and affirmation of the Covenant and Code of Ethics of ABC Ministers Council
  5. Candidacy Assessment: complete at Ministry Development Council Career Center.
  6. Meet with regional department of ministry prior to licensing and prior to ordination.
  7. Ordination Council
  8. Call to a specific place of service
  9. Ordination Service

For details on each of these steps, talk with your local church pastor and download the American Baptist Churches in the USA recommended ordination procedures document here (pdf).

Assemblies of God

(Taken from the Assemblies of God website at http://ag.org/top/About/credentials.cfm)

Applications for Assemblies of God ministerial credentials are made through the District Councils. You should contact the district council office for your area for information on how to apply for credentials with that district. You can find contact information for our District Council offices by using the Assemblies of God Church Directory.

For information on meeting the qualifications for ministry, read The General Council of the Assemblies of God Constitution and ByLaws (download PDF), which contains a section about qualifications for ministry in the Assemblies of God.

You can read about the benefits, qualifications, process, and responsibilities of ordination in the Assemblies of God official position paper entitled "Pentecostal Ministry and Ordination."

Baptist General Conference (Converge Worldwide)

From the Converge Worldwide website (http://www.convergeworldwide.org/mobilize-churches/church-staffing/ordination)

The ordination process begins and ends with a leader called by God to the Gospel ministry. It also involves the recognition of this call by the local church where the leader is serving. But the Converge family of churches and church leaders are also involved in advising the church and in serving the ordination candidate. Thus the ordination process is detailed below for Converge churches and leaders:

  • The formal church vote informs the Converge regional leadership of its desire to ordain a candidate.
  • The Converge regional staff sends the handbook on ordination to the candidate and the ordaining church.
  • The Candidate completes the reservation form and mails it to the Converge regional office.
  • The Converge region mails a written confirmation of reservation to the candidate.
  • At least one month before the interview, the candidate mails six copies of his doctrinal statement to the Converge regional staff. E-mail is acceptable.
  • The Converge region mails a copy of the doctrinal statement to the current members of Ordination Guidance Committee in the appropriate area.
  • The Ordination Guidance Committee interviews the candidate and writes a letter of advice to the ordaining church with a copy to the candidate.
  • If the advice is to postpone convening an ordination council, the candidate may reserve another interview during the next scheduled meeting of the Ordination Guidance Committee.
  • Upon receipt of letter of advice to convene a council, the ordaining church schedules the council and invites delegates from sister churches.
  • The Council meets and recommends that the church proceed or not proceed with ordination.

For more information, contact your Converge region and your local pastor.

Christian Reformed Church in North America

The Christian Reformed Church (CRC) ordination process involves a church council, the classis, and other steps along the journey.  The full process is outlined on the CRC website under "The Journey Towards Ordination" and more information can be found on this same website under "Candidacy Committee."  Students can contact their local CRC pastor for additional guidance.

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

From the Church Church (Disciples of Christ) website (http://www.helmdisciples.org/theological/ordination.htm).

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) understands that all the church’s members share in the ministry of Jesus Christ. We also think it appropriate for some men and women to be “set apart” for ministry, as pastors or other employed church leaders.

Our understandings of how ministries are organized are set down in “Policies and Criteria for the Order of Ministry.” The Order of Ministry includes two offices: Ordained minister and licensed minister. Qualifications and conditions for both offices are set by each of the 35 regions of the church, in cooperation with the congregations in that region.

Ordained ministers are authorized for ministry throughout the church. Candidates for ordination normally must possess a bachelor’s degree and complete a program of theological education and professional study at a theological institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada, usually leading to the Master of Divinity Degree. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is related to seven theological institutions, but Disciples ministerial students attend many other institutions as well.

Licensed Ministers are authorized for representative ministry in specific situations and with periodic review. Classifications of Licensed Ministers include Commissioned Church Workers, Licensed Lay Preachers and Licensed Theological Students. The educational experiences of licensed ministers may vary according to their life histories and the church’s needs, but participation in continue processes of education is expected.

Since ordination and licensing of ministers is the responsibility of the regions of the church, requirements vary somewhat from region to region.

If you feel called to ordained or licensed ministry you should:

  1. Continue in prayerful consideration of God’s call to you and the commitments and skills you have to offer to Christ’s Church.
  2. Discuss the possibilities with your congregation’s pastor or another minister and get his or her advice and guidance.
  3. Contact the Regional Minister of your region. He or she will want to meet with you, will put you in touch with the regional Commission on Ministry, and will explain the expectations and requirements of your region.

Please feel free to contact the Higher Education and Leadership Ministries if we can be of any help to you. Our phone number is (314) 991-3000, and we can be reached by e-mail at helm@helmdisciples.org.

The Church of God in Christ

Information coming soon!

Conservative Baptist Association of America

Information coming soon!

The Episcopal Church

The ordination process of the Episcopal Church involves discernment, education, formal training, examination, and evaluation.  Candidates are additionally required to complete Episcopal-specific coursework in seminary, which at McCormick can be completed in conjunction with Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (http://www.seabury.edu).  The candidate for ordination eventually reaches the examination stage which is overseen by the General Board of Examining Chaplains (GBEC; http://www.episcopalgbec.org).  As the GBEC notes, "The canons (III. 8) require that before ordination a Candidate must be examined and show proficiency in (1) The Holy Scriptures; (2) Church History, including the Ecumenical Movement; (3) Christian Theology; (4) Christian Ethics and Moral Theology; (5) Studies in Contemporary Society, including Racial and Minority Groups; (6) Liturgics and Church Music; and (7) Theory and Practice of Ministry. These are known as the seven canonical areas." (http://www.episcopalgbec.org/history-and-purpose.htm)

From the website of The Episcopal Church (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/109465_ENG_HTM.htm):  "In the Episcopal Church, there are specific requirements to be met in order to be ordained. These are found in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, Title III. While the Church seeks out those who meet the canonical requirements and who present themselves with a call, it is the responsibility of the Church to confirm such a call . In most dioceses, there are discernment programs to assist both the aspirant and the church in reaching agreement about those called to the priesthood."

Please contact your local Episcopal diocese for information about vocational discernment programs and steps toward ordination.

National Association of Congregational Christian Churches

From the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches website (http://www.naccc.org/Ministries/OrdinationsAndInstallations.aspx).

Ordination in the Congregational Fellowship is a process initiated and carried out by the local church. In our tradition, the church is the only body that can ordain though it is usually done after an examination by and in the presence of a vicinage council composed of pastors and lay delegates from the Association or neighboring Congregational Churches.

The local church begins the process with a vote to call a vicinage council and, if the council concurs, to ordain the candidate. This action is then communicated to the churches and individuals to be invited by sending a "letter missive." The letter reports the action taken by the church and specifies the date and time the council will be convened.

At the specified time, the council is called to order by the moderator of the church. A moderator and a clerk are elected and the church is asked to report its formal actions. The candidate then presents his or her academic credentials, read a statement of his/her Christian Experience (Faith Journey) and a fairly detailed statement of faith (the ordination paper). The council then questions the candidate to ascertain how well he/she understands and can support positions taken (this is not a test of orthodoxy). When the council is satisfied, it then entertains a motion to support the church in the ordination. The church then or at a later date conducts a service of ordination in the presence of the members of the council.

In all of this, however, the council is only advisory. The church is the sole ordaining body.

The full process is explained in the book entitled, From Call to Settlement.

National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.

Information coming soon!

National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.

Information coming soon!

Reformed Church in America

The Reformed Church in America (RCA) has an ordination process that includes involvement from the local congregation and consistory and the classis, as well as exams and licensure.  The RCA website explains this process in detail in its section titled "Call Waiting" and includes a convenient chart of steps towards ordination titled "The Preparation for Ministry Process."  For more information, visit these links and contact your local RCA pastor.

Southern Baptist Convention

From the Southern Baptist Convention website: "...there is no standard process or policy concerning ordination in the SBC.  In fact, the SBC cannot ordain anyone.  The matter of ordination is addressed strictly on a local church level. Every Southern Baptist church is autonomous and decides individually whether or not to ordain, or whether to require ordination of its pastor. When a church senses that God has led a person into pastoral ministry, it is a common practice to have a council (usually of pastors) review his testimony of salvation, his pastoral calling from the Lord, and his qualifications (including theological preparation and scriptural qualifications according to 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:7-9) for pastoral ministry. Based upon that interview the church typically decides whether or not ordination would be appropriate.

Some SBC churches require seminary training from an SBC seminary, while others may not, such a requirement is entirely up to the church. Of course, every SBC church is free to approach ordination in the manner it deems best.

If you are a member of an SBC church and sense the Lord may be leading you into ministry, you may want to speak to the pastor and ask for his assistance." (from http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/faqs.asp#2)

United Church of Christ

From the United Church of Christ (UCC) website (PDF, http://www.ucc.org/ministers/pdfs/reqord.pdf).

Requirements for Ordination in the United Church of Christ
http://www.ucc.org/ministers/manual/mom-2003-20ordained-1.pdf

  • Undergraduate bachelor’s degree from an accredited university (BS or BA)
  • Master of Divinity degree from an accredited seminary (alternate paths are available)
  • A Call to ministry in the United Church of Christ

In addition

  • Persons seeking to be ordained in the United Church of Christ must first come in care of an Association.
    http://www.ucc.org/ministers/manual/mom-2002-20student-1.pdf
  • This Association is the same where the local church in which the candidate is a member holds its standing in the United Church of Christ.
  • More information can be obtained by contacting the minister of a local United Church of Christ congregation.

If you are already ordained in another denomination and wish to become United Church of Christ, you would contact the Association where you currently reside (the Association contact can be made through the minister of a local United Church of Christ congregation) and seek Privilege of Call.
http://www.ucc.org/ministers/manual/mom-2004-20privilege-20dual-1.pdf

For more information about discerning a call to ministry in the UCC, the UCC ordination process, types of ministry in the UCC, and official ordination documents, visit "Are you considering your vocation and a possible call to authorized ministry?" on the UCC website.

United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church has a multiple-step process of inquiry, candidacy, and ordination that is outlined on the UMC website at "Steps into Ordained Ministry." The denomination also has a web page geared towards those who are exploring a calling to UMC ordained ministry, "Explore Calling."