Description of License
Candidates for ordination to word and sacrament, ordination to word and service, transfer of ordination, or commissioning apply for this license while in process. It is the appropriate license for all individuals serving as senior or solo pastors who do not qualify for ordination to word and sacrament. The holder of a ministry license is accountable to a minister ordained to word and sacrament within the local area of service, or to the regional conference superintendent. At the time of a call to another Evangelical Covenant Church congregation or ministry in a different conference, the holder of a ministry license will have an interview with that conference’s committee on ministerial standing. This license is valid for one year and authorizes the holder to perform all ministerial functions, subject to state regulations.
The ministry license is intended for persons serving at least twenty hours a week in Covenant congregations, Covenant institutions, or other approved ministries and organizations. The license is for those involved in pastoral ministry who also fulfill sacramental and other pastoral functions. To qualify for a license, a candidate must demonstrate significant involvement in a majority of the following areas: administering the sacraments; conducting worship services; providing spiritual leadership; participating in the preaching and teaching ministry of the church; providing pastoral care; managing in a local congregation or institution of the ECC.
- Membership in a Covenant congregation
- Within eight years of the initial receipt of this license, demonstrate completion of graduate-level survey courses in Old Testament, New Testament, systematic theology, and church history. Each of these courses shall be at least three semester hours (or its equivalent). If the candidate has not already completed the courses at a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, they shall be taken for credit from North Park Theological Seminary (or CHET, as appropriate), unless the candidate is actively enrolled in a degree program at another ATS-accredited seminary, in which case the courses may be taken at that seminary. Progress on this program of study must be reported annually to the Department of the Ordered Ministry to maintain standing.
- Enrollment in Covenant Orientation (if not attending North Park Theological Seminary)
- Participation in the Covenant Pension Plan or the Ministers’ 403(b) plan if serving a Covenant church/institution.
- Submission of a completed Minister’s Profile Form, signed baptism statement, Disclosure Form, criminal record screening, and licensing paper.
- Note: there is no minimum education threshold for this license. Persons with any level of educational background may apply.
- Once the candidate meets the requirements for the credential, he or she contacts the conference office for a license packet.
- The conference office sends the packet to the candidate.
- The candidate completes all of the necessary paperwork, making sure to sign the license application, check all boxes, and obtain the signature of the local church chairperson on the back of the application. He or she then sends all of the paperwork back to the conference office.
- The conference office receives this paperwork, making sure that none of it is incomplete or missing. If necessary, the conference office contacts the candidate to inform him or her of what is missing.
- The conference committee on ministerial standing interviews the candidate in the fall or spring, using the licensing paper as the basis for the interview. The committee makes its recommendation.
- Once the candidate has received a favorable interview, the conference office makes copies for its records, and then sends all originals to the Department of the Ordered Ministry.
- At this time, the Department of the Ordered Ministry will issue an interim license, which will be in effect until the candidate is approved at the Covenant Annual Meeting. (Interim licenses expire on June 30.)
- To receive a first-time license, the candidate must receive a favorable recommendation from the Board of the Ordered Ministry, a favorable recommendation from the regional conference ministerial association at its annual meeting, approval of the Covenant Ministerium, and approval of the Covenant Annual Meeting.
- The Department of the Ordered Ministry sends out license certificates in July.
- Each spring, the conference office sends out applications for renewal of licenses.
- The conference committee on ministerial standing will re-interview the candidate every three years as long as he or she holds a license.