Steps Toward Credentialing in Church Venture Northwest
Guidelines for Ordination, Licensing and Commissioning
The purpose of a ministerial credential is:
- to acknowledge God's call upon a person's life for ministry;
- to verify that this person meets the qualifications and standards of the Church Venture Northwest association of churches for ministerial credentials;
- to provide legal status in the exercise of that person's ministry.
A ministerial credential is given by the church and is held in trust by the individual. The credential remains with the person so long as the standards of the ministry are maintained.
Credentialed ministry will be carried out under the authority of the ordaining church. If a credentialed person moves, the ministry will then be continued under the authority of the church where they have their membership. That church carries the responsibility of being the custodian of accountability for the credentialed person.
General Requirements for Candidates within Church Venture Northwest
- They must be members in good standing of a Conservative Baptist church.
- They must be above reproach as to character (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) and meet all the standards for their particular credential.
- They must have training adequate for their area of ministry.
- They must hold to sound doctrine in accordance with and in full agreement with Church Venture Northwest and their local church.
- They must undergo an examination by their church and be confirmed by a committee or council appropriate for their ministry.
- They shall agree to maintain membership and accountability to a local church even if their responsibilities go beyond the immediate ministry of the local church.
- They shall complete all prescribed steps for their credential as outlined in the policy standards for that credential.
Licensing to the Ministry
One of the prevailing customs of our churches is to grant a license to men, believed themselves and by others, to be called to preach the gospel, but not yet experienced in the work of the ministry or ready to proceed with ordination. When the local church of which he is a member, or a sponsoring church interested in his ministry, recognizes God's hand of blessing and leading upon such a man into the active Gospel ministry, it is fitting for the church to take steps toward granting him a license.
After careful examination by the elders or deacons concerning his conversion, call, and doctrinal views, and upon their favorable recommendation to the local church, the candidate is asked to preach a gospel message after which the church may take a vote to grant him a license for one year or a specific period of time. It may be renewed at the option of the church. Such license is good only for that local church and is not to be recognized as valid in any other church.
When an unordained man is called as pastor of a church, he should be licensed for the work of the ministry. This should take place as soon as possible following the inception of his ministry at the church. The license may be in the form of a standard certificate or letter written and signed by the church clerk certifying he is authorized by the church to perform all the duties of a pastor, including the performing of marriage ceremonies. A record of the action should be part of the permanent records of the church. If the pastor is still not ordained when called to another church, the process of licensing should be repeated.
A license can be annulled or withdrawn at any time should the church have, in its judgment, sufficient reason for such action.