Ordination to Word and Service
Description of Credential
Those ordained to word and service are called broadly to preach and teach, administer the sacraments, and be involved in the life of the whole church. Within that context, they are called to serve in an area of specialty. Their call includes being a leader in their area of specialty to the local church and the church at large. They are in service together with the person ordained to word and sacrament whose leadership and care exercises oversight of the congregation’s entire ministry. Their training comes from broad theological work, usually a master’s degree in a theological discipline, or a secular master’s degree with additional theological studies. Those seeking ordination to word and service normally hold a ministry license while working toward this credential.
Those who seek ordained to word and service are usually called to staff ministry, have a master’s level training from a seminary or a secular master’s plus a year of theological education. They hold coursework in an area of specialization. Candidates must meet the following requirements in order to be ordained to word and service::
- Be engaged in full-time staff ministry. The candidate serving in a non-ministry position shall demonstrate its relationship to a local Covenant congregation.
- Be a member of a Covenant congregation.
In addition, candidates shall have completed one of the following courses of preparation in order to be ordained to word and service.
- A master of arts degree from a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (a program comprised of forty-eight semester hours or its equivalent) with an appropriate area of specialization totaling twelve semester credit hours or its equivalent.
- A master of divinity degree from a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools with an appropriate area of specialization.
- A non-theological master’s degree in the area of specialization, and at least one year of full-time graduate theological studies (twenty-four semester hours or its equivalent) taken for credit from a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. Courses of preparation shall include survey courses in systematic theology, Old Testament, New Testament, and church history. (Candidates preparing for ministry primarily in the Hispanic community, and for whom Spanish is the primary language, may receive their training in specialized ministry from CHET.)
- Complete at least two years of successful full-time ministry 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 service.
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 service 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 service, instructions for an 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.