Covenant Orientation allows for the inclusion into the Ministerium of many who would otherwise be unable to receive Covenant ministry credentials. Orientation was designed to provide a way for people who are called to serve within the Evangelical Covenant Church, but are unable to attend North Park Theological Seminary, to fulfill the orientation requirement for Covenant credentialing.
Covenant Orientation satisfies the orientation requirement for credentialing in the Evangelical Covenant Church set by the Board of the Ordered Ministry. It is simply one step, often the largest step, in the greater credentialing process. To receive a license application or more information regarding credentialing, contact your regional conference office.
Four orientation courses in the areas of history, theology, ethics, and the mission and ministry of the Covenant have been designed to provide a common education experience. Courses are led by experienced Covenant faculty and are designed to explore topics from a distinctly Covenant perspective. Courses are offered during the Covenant Midwinter Conference and at other venues around the country throughout the year, making them accessible to students serving in a wide range of locations and ministries.
History of the Evangelical Covenant Church| 39 hours (available for three graduate credits)
Theology of the Evangelical Covenant Church | 39 hours (available for three graduate credits)
Mission & Ministry | 26 hours (available for three graduate credits)
Vocational Excellence | 26 hours (available for one graduate credit)
All courses require preparation in the form of pre-reading and possible time online to maximize the time spent in the actual classroom setting.
Covenant Life Experiences are designed to immerse pastors in the life of the greater Covenant Church. Covenant Orientation pastors need to participate in at least six Covenant Life Experiences any time during enrollment.
After completing a Covenant Life Experience, pastors should contact the Covenant Orientation office to report their progress. We may require proof of attendance before granting credit.
One of each experience is required.
- Attendance at the Covenant Annual Meeting either as a delegate or as a general conferee, including the annual meeting of the Covenant Miniserium and participation in the business sessions
- Attendance at the Midwinter Conference
- Attendance at your conference ministerium retreat, also called Pastor/Spouse Retreat or Fall Ashram
Three experiences are required.
- Service on a Conference or Denominational board, commission, or approved committee
- Conference Annual Meeting, including the Conference Ministerium Annual Meeting
- Mission/service project on a Covenant mission field
- Service on staff of the denominational youth event, Unite
- Youth Workers Connection or Children and Family Ministry Connection
- Sankofa Journey or Journey 2 Mosaic Experience, or participation in a clergy anti-racism pathway
- Participation in a Covenant clergy cohort experience
- Participation in a Covenant clergy cluster group meeting
- Camp pastor at a Covenant Bible camp
- Church planter training (may be used once)
- Credit may be given for other Covenant Life Experiences not specifically mentioned.
The close relationships among Covenant clergy have been a traditional Covenant distinctive. This advisory relationship is designed to connect pastors with a veteran pastor willing to listen to their experiences, answer their questions, lend advice, and help them become more firmly rooted in their local Covenant context.
Choosing an Advisor
- Applicants choose an advisor with their application for Covenant Orientation or may email email@example.com with their selection. Advisors must be active, ordained, or commissioned Covenant ministers with at least five years of service in a local Covenant church. Retired pastors are also suitable advisors. It is best if the advisor has ministerial experience similar to that of the advisee. The conference office staff can often help with finding a suitable advisor.
- The Covenant Orientation office sends the advisor an explanation of the Coveant Orientation Program, guidelines for the relationship, and a Report on the Advising Relationship (see Covenant Orientation Resources below) to complete and return signifying the fulfillment of the requirement.
Length and Content of the Relationship
The relationship should last at least one year and include at least three evenly spaced meetings (i.e., one meeting every three or four months). The guidelines sent to advisors by the Covenant Orientation office will include a brief suggestion for each meeting. These suggestions are not meant to control the course of the advising, but rather to provide a starting point for discussion.
- Meeting one – Get acquainted and share why each has chosen the Covenant.
- Meeting two – Debrief a specific Life Experience and discuss your life in the Covenant.
- Meeting three – Review a Covenant Orientation course and discuss how it relates to your ministry.
Completing the Relationship
After each meeting, the advisor will write a few sentences in summary. Following the third meeting, the advisor will return the Report on the Advising Relationship or a narrative notifying Covenant Orientation of the student’s completion of this requirement. The Covenant Orientation office requires that a report be submitted by the advisor in order to grant the student credit for this requirement.
Schedule | Each course is offered at least twice a year. Courses are normally offered before, during, or immediately following the Midwinter Conference, during a summer intensive at North Park Theological Seminary, and in the spring and fall in conjunction with conference annual meetings and ministerial retreats.
Credits | Graduate credits are available for students taking the History of the Evangelical Covenant Church and/or the Theology of the Evangelical Covenant Church courses and can be taken for graduate credit. These are transferable to any Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accredited school. Often, a student in another seminary master’s program can use the Covenant Orientation courses to fulfill electives and even core courses for their program, thus completing two objectives at once. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the most recent information.
Registration | Once a pastor is enrolled in Covenant Orientation he or she will get course registration forms as they are available, usually one or two months before the class. These are sent by email and will be mailed through the postal service as needed. Access to course syllabi is given with the confirmation of registration. Syllabi list pre-readings which must be complete before class attendance.
Reading Material | Course reading material can be purchased by calling the Covenant Bookstore at (800) 621-1290 or through the bookstore website.
Grades | Instructors have six weeks to grade and return papers. After this, the graded papers are returned to students. Audits and credits granted are kept at North Park Theological Seminary. Transcripts are available upon request.
Covenant Orientation Resources
The documents and links below are available for students enrolled in or intending to enroll in Covenant Orientation programs. If you have any questions or need additional information about our orientation program, please email email@example.com.
The Covenant Orientation (CO) program is administered by North Park Theological Seminary (NPTS) on behalf of the Evangelical Covenant Church. For students accepted into the Covenant Orientation program the cost for these courses are billed at 50% of the standard NPTS tuition rate, which as of fall 2020 the standard tuition rate is $560 per credit hour. In addition to the tuition cost there is a $10 per credit hour technology fee. Additional course fees may be added for Vocational Excellence assessment tools required for the class or Midwinter registration fees for courses taking place in conjunction with the Evangelical Covenant Church’s annual Midwinter Conference.
Below is a sample breakdown of cost per class (at 2020 tuition rates):
- Vocational Excellence (1 credit) – $335 ($280 per credit hour tuition, plus $10 per credit hour technology fee, plus $45 for vocational assessments)
- History of the Evangelical Covenant Church (3 credits) – $870 ($280 per credit hour tuition, plus $10 per credit hour technology fee)
- Theology of the Evangelical Covenant Church (3 credits) – $870 ($280 per credit hour tuition, plus $10 per credit hour technology fee)
- Mission and Ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church (3 credits) – $870 ($280 per credit hour tuition, plus $10 per credit hour technology fee)