Ordination to Word and Sacrament
Description of Credential
When the church ordains to word and sacrament, it sets apart persons with the authority to preach and teach the word, administer the sacraments and rites of the church, and exercise pastoral care and leadership. Theologically, the question is, ordained to what end? The end or purpose is that to which the person senses a call and the church, by its designated processes, attests that such a call has been discerned appropriately. The person responding to this call has a broad classical theological education, usually a master of divinity, and holds the church true to the whole gospel. He or she functions as theologian in residence and missional leader, overseeing, empowering, and enabling all forms of the church’s ministry. This office is performed in three areas of competency: preaching well, teaching well, and caring well. The emphasis on word and sacrament through all aspects of ministry ensures that the basic apostolic vocation keeps the beginnings of the faith alive in whatever contemporary configurations emerge in the various ministries of the church. Those seeking ordination to word and sacrament normally hold a ministry license while working toward this credential.
Those who seek to be ordained to word and sacrament are usually called to ministry as lead or solo pastor and have a master of divinity degree. Candidates must meet the following in order to be eligible for ordinationd to word and sacrament:
- Be engaged in a paid, called pastoral ministry position. The candidate serving in a non-pastoral ministry position shall demonstrate its relationship to a local Covenant congregation.
- Hold a master of divinity degree from a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (submit transcripts).
- Be a member of a Covenant congregation
- Complete at least two years of paid ministry experience prior to ordination
- Complete a year of residency at North Park Theological Seminary or complete Covenant Orientation (Candidates preparing for ministry primarily in the Hispanic community, and for whom Spanish is the primary language, may receive their training from CHET.) Please note: those enrolled in Covenant Orientation must complete Vocational Excellence and Theology of the ECC prior to being invited into the ordination process.
- Spend two years in a mentoring relationship approved by the Ordered Ministry.
- Participate in the Covenant Pension Plan or the Ministers’ 403(b) plan if serving a Covenant church/institution.
- Submit a completed Minister’s Profile Form, signed baptism statement, Disclosure Form, and criminal record screening.
- Holding a license is a prerequisite for ordination to word and sacrament.
Once the candidate has completed the above requirements, he or she notifies the Ordered Ministry and is placed on the ordination candidate list. If you would like to verify if your name is on the list of potential candidates, please contact the Ordered Ministry. Note that the ordination process takes about a year and always culminates with the service of ordination, commissioning, and consecration at the Covenant Annual Meeting each June. Therefore, if a candidate wishes to be ordained in any given June, he or she must enter into the process no later than July 15 of the previous year.
- The Ordered Ministry sends all potential candidates an email in June asking them to formally enter the process to be ordained to word and sacrament at next year’s Annual Meeting.
- The candidate responds before July 15.
- The Ordered Ministry sends all candidates the required paperwork for the process, including an application for ordination to word and sacrament, instructions for the Example of Proclamation, and questions for the final ordination/commissioning/transfer paper.
- The candidate sends the completed ordination application (including recommendation of Covenant church where membership is held), final paper, and example of proclamation to the conference office by August 15.
- The candidate is interviewed by the conference committee on ministerial standing in the fall. The candidate must have a favorable interview with the conference committee on ministerial standing in order to move forward in the process.
- The Board of the Ordered Ministry interviews the candidate at its Midwinter meeting and makes a recommendation.
- 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 candidate must participate in the service of ordination, commissioning, and consecration at the Covenant Annual Meeting.