ORDINATION IN THE PACIFIC COAST BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
AN ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES
Recommended Guidelines for Licensing, Ordination, and Recognition of Non-American Baptist Ordinations
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This document is a revision of the Recommended Procedures originally adopted in 1981.
It represents the present approved policies for matters relating to ordination in the Pacific Coast Baptist Association. These policies are keeping with those recommended by the ABC/USA Ministerial Concerns Committee which were adopted in 1980.
It is the sincere hope of the Ministerial Concerns Committee that the material included will help churches and individuals understand and appreciate the nature of the call to ministry in our American Baptist tradition.
An effort has been made to provide a concise, readable document that is arranged in a clear step-by-step format. This document, ORDINATION IN THE PACIFIC COAST BAPTIST ASSOCIATION; Recommended Guidelines for Licensing, Ordination, and Recognition of Non-American Baptist Ordinations, is offered with the hope that God’s call to ministry will be affirmed, encouraged and enhanced in the churches of The Pacific Coast Baptist Association.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
Ordination is the act of the church by which, in the name of God, it delegates to a qualified person, who has responded to the call of God, a wide range of ministerial functions and responsibilities.
For decades, Baptists have celebrated the autonomy of the local church. At the same time, they have also joined in voluntary association with each other for education, mission, and related endeavors of the church which can be done more efficiently and effectively together. Thus, the local Baptist church retains its right to decide for itself and also recognizes its interdependence with other Baptist churches and organizations for many of the supports which are needed in full-time ministry.
In keeping with that tradition, the Ministerial Concerns Committee is the duly authorized body of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association charged with the responsibility for initiating, coordinating, and reviewing matters having to do with ministry in the Association.
Being more collaborative than administrative in style, it recognizes the following principles as basic in our common ministry among all the churches.
It is the right and responsibility of the local church to ordain those whom it recognizes as being called of God. Ordination may be particular for the local church or it may be general on behalf of all churches of like faith and order. It is done in consultation with associated churches.
Mobility and itinerancy of ministers makes it physically impossible for the local ordaining church to be responsible for the faithful service of the ordained for all the period of one’s ministry. Thus, over the years, there had been an expectation on the part of the local church that the denomination is responsible for the counseling, consulting, monitoring, and continuing recognition of clergy for service. The Pacific Coast Baptist Association accepts this responsibility.
One of the commonly held convictions of Christian Churches in our ecumenical age is that all Christians are, by nature, ministers who participate in Christ’s own ministry. This fact is made graphic in the baptism of the individual Christian. It is spelled out in the doctrine of “the priesthood of all believers,” which means that within the corporate responsibility of the congregation each Christian intercedes with God for all people and serves them in every way according to the guidance of God.
Baptists coupled this conviction with the assertion that any member of the church could be called upon to exercise all ministerial functions and responsibilities, even though this did not ordinarily happen. When a radical doctrine of the priesthood of all believers was combined with a strictly independent concept of the local church, made each congregation directly responsible to Christ, and its officers having no standing outside its membership, there seemed to be little practical or doctrinal foundation for a special order of ministry, the ordained ministry.
However, the actual situation was not that simple. Baptists have long possessed a “separate” or “set-apart” ministry, and from earliest times this set-apart ministry served a constituency wider than the local congregation. Ordination has tended to be the setting apart (by the call of God and the action of the church) of ministers to perform special functions of ministry, functions performed on behalf of the community of faith.
Among Baptists, ordination generally constitutes a recognition by many congregations that an individual had previously experienced a call to this representational and specialized ministry and met the necessary qualifications for carrying it out. Although most often a local congregation took the initiative in ordaining that individual, it did so in cooperation with other congregations. This participation of a group of churches in ordination gave the rite much more than merely local significance. It represented a denominational recognition of the individual’s call and qualifications for the ordained ministry of Christ’s universal church.
In the primitive church, the act of ordination was symbolized by the “laying on of hands”. This indicated that the person so ordained was not only consecrated to God’s service and thus made holy (i.e. set apart), but was also commissioned to serve on behalf of those who laid on hands (see Acts 6:6, and 13:3; I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:6). In addition, this act and the accompanying prayer, which invoked God’s grace upon the ordained, implied the person’s authority to share the functions and responsibilities of those who laid hands upon the individual.
This ritual has continued to be central to ordination. Today, the act of laying on of hands signifies and focuses in one person the ministry of many persons who in themselves represent the wider church and Jesus Christ.
AMERICAN BAPTIST STANDARDS FOR ORDINATION
The most important prerequisite for ordination, the call of God, is above and beyond particular standards which a denomination or local congregation might establish. However, as we minister in the American Baptist community of faith, the call must be validated by other prerequisites or standards.
In licensing, ordination and recognition of ordination, it is appropriate that the local and wider church (in the case of denomination, American Baptist Churches in the USA) establish standards for ordination, thereby validating the call.
These standards and procedures are spelled out in the pages that follow. Licensing and Ordination in Pacific Coast Baptist Association shall be conducted without regard to age, gender, race or sexual orientation.
LICENSING FOR ORDINATION
1. Local Church Affirmation
The affirmation from a local congregation is the first step in the licensing for ordination process. A local church, well acquainted with the candidate, is making public the fact that the individual apparently possesses the ability and the spiritual and emotional qualities necessary for ministry, and that the required academic training for ordination is being pursued.
The candidate makes known the desire to be “Licensed for Ordination” to the pastor and/or appropriate committee of the church where personal membership is held and is interviewed to determine eligibility for “Licensing for Ordination.”
a. The local church seeks to determine the candidate’s sense of call, understanding of ministry, and fitness for ministry.
b. Early in the process, the church requests the Ministerial Concerns Committee to meet with the candidate to determine the candidate’s readiness for ministry, educational goals, and understanding of American Baptist polity.
c. Upon the recommendation of the Ministerial Concerns Committee and the affirmative vote of the local church, recognition as “Licensed for Ordination” is granted to the candidate for four years and at least six months prior to ordination.
d. The local church notifies the Ministerial Concerns Committee of its action.
e. The candidate is placed under the watchcare of the local church and the Ministerial Concerns Committee.
The license is granted in anticipation of ordination and is valid for a maximum of four years unless revoked by the congregation. This “License for Ordination” may be renewed by the local church in consultation with the Ministerial Concerns Committee of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association.
Educational standards adopted by the American Baptist Churches/USA (ABC 1961 Yearbook, pages 37-38) for ordination are:
a. Four years of college and three years of seminary (the B.A. and M Div. degrees or their standard equivalents from regionally/nationally accredited institutions of higher learning).
b. One of the following:
i. Seminary level course on the history and polity of American Baptists;
ii. The American Baptist Churches’ Orientation Program for pastors,
iii. An American Baptist Churches Region’s sponsored program of similar content, approved by the Committee
5. Standard Equivalents for Ordination
i. Experience as an equivalent to educational preparation may be granted on the basis of three years satisfactory growth and preparation for every one year of academic preparation;
ii. The maximum experiential equivalency grant is nine (9) years the equivalent of three (3) years’ higher education, including up to two (2) years of theological training equivalency.
i. To merit consideration as an exception to the education requirements, the candidate’s professional experience needs to meet the following criteria:
(1) Be within the range of professional leadership categories recognized by the Registry of Professional Leaders of the American Baptist Churches/USA;
(2) Paraprofessional experiences need substantiation by third parties;
(3) Full-time experience (more than twenty hours a week);
(4) Verifiable as to length and satisfactory professional growth and ministerial performance.
ii. Other considerations:
(1) Participation in continuing education experiences (which is one index used to measure the candidate’s seriousness in pursuance of professional competency);
(2) American Baptist Churches cooperation demonstrated in the accepting of the Code of Ethics of the Ministers Council of the American Baptist Churches /USA.
6. Types of Service
The candidate has definite plans to enter one of the following fields of service:
a. Parish ministry, including all staff who exercise pastoral functions;
b. Mission service on the home or foreign field in which pastoral functions will be exercised;
c. Specialized ministries, e.g., institutional, military, academic chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, or staff membership in a church related institution, where preaching, teaching, and/or pastoral work is required;
d. Staff service, involving educational or pastoral functions of an American Baptist agency, a council of churches, or some other ecumenical ministry appropriately related to the American Baptist Churches;
e. For other ministries, e.g., full-time evangelism, etc., consult with the Ministerial Concerns Committee.
1. Licensing for Ordination
a. A License for Ordination [pages 4-6] is required before proceeding with ordination.
b. The candidate is Licensed for Ordination at least six months prior to ordination.
a. Educational requirements are described under License for Ordination [page 5].
b. Standard equivalents for ordination are detailed on page 5.
3. Types of Service
The candidate has a call to a full-time (more than twenty hours a week) American Baptist Churches’ related ministry. [See page 6 for types of service.]
a. Candidate seeks information from the Association Ministerial Concerns Committee regarding procedures for ordination.
b. Candidate enrolls in ABPS and furnishes a copy of the ABPS profile.
c. Candidate submits to the Ministerial Concerns Committee required documents [Appendix F, page 21] including a letter of recommendation to the Ministerial Concerns Committee from the Seminary, indicating the candidate’s successful completion of work, expected date of graduation, and the Seminary’s judgment of the candidate’s competence for ministry.
d. Candidate confers with the seminary personnel or others about his/her candidate statement. [Appendix D, page 19].
e. Candidate informs the pastor and appropriate local church committee concerning his/her readiness to proceed with the ordination process.
f. Pastor and appropriate board or committee of the church to which the candidate belongs meets with the candidate to gain information as to eligibility and readiness for ordination.
g. When the appropriate board/committee and pastor consider the candidate ready for ordination, they recommend in writing that the Ministerial Concerns Committee meet with the individual prior to the calling of an Ordination Council. All required documents related to the ordination process are to be furnished to the Ministerial Concerns Committee prior to this meeting.
h. Candidate has a consultative evaluation at the Center For Ministry, or an approved equivalent, and furnishes a written report to the Commission prior to meeting with the Commission. The cost for this evaluation is the candidate’s responsibility.
i. In consultation with the Committee, the candidate selects a sponsor. As an advocate for the candidate, the sponsor helps the candidate express his/her theological stance, understanding of who he/she is as a person, and his/her concept of ministry.
j. The Ministerial Concerns Committee determines if the candidate: (a) understands the nature of an Ordination Council; (b) has prepared an adequate theological paper [Appendix D, page 19]; (c) holds a commitment to the ministry of the ABC with integrity [Appendix A, page 14-15].
k. By agreement with the Ministerial Concerns Committee, the ordaining church requests the Association President to call an ordination council.
l. Candidate sends copy of ordination paper to each Association church at least two weeks prior to the Ordination Council meeting.
m. To preserve the integrity of the Ordination Council, a date for the ordination is not set until the Ordination Council has met and voted to recommend the candidate for ordination
n. Candidate meets with the Ordination Council
o. When approval is granted, the church proceeds with a service of ordination [see Appendix E, page 20 for suggested service] to which Association churches have been invited.
p. When approval is denied or delayed, it is shared in writing with the candidate and church. Appeal procedures are discussed on page 10.
THE ORDINATION COUNCIL
Membership of the Ordination Council includes one member of the clergy and one lay person from each of the association churches and at least one representative from the Ministerial Concerns Committee. A quorum consists of representation from at least one-third of the member churches.
2. Calling a Council
The call for an ordination council shall come from the Association President at the recommendation of the local church by agreement with the Ministerial Concerns Committee. The Candidate will furnish each church with two copies of his/her ordination paper prior to the Council meeting.
3. Preliminary Actions
a. Reading of letter of recommendation from the local church and the Ministerial Concerns Committee that authorized the calling of the council;
b. Roll call of the churches in the Association;
c. Election of a moderator for the ordination council, if necessary. The Association President or a member of the Ministerial Concerns Committee may serve in this capacity.
d. Appointment of a clerk by the moderator;
e. Recognition of the sponsor selected by the candidate.
4. Examination of Candidate
a. Presentation of prepared statements of faith, understanding Christian doctrine and practice of ministry (ordination paper)[Appendix D, page 19] by candidate.
b. Questioning of the candidate. The sponsor will take a leadership role in the question period, helping to phrase and clarify questions. The Ordination Council must recognize that it is called to understand the views held by the candidate, not to change them.
5. Action of the Ordination Council
a. After excusing the candidate, a discussion of eligibility for ordination follows;
b. The ordination council votes one of the following recommendations to the local church that: (a) ordination proceed; (b) ordination be deferred to some future date, stating the reasons; (c) ordination not take place; reasons for this decision is given to the candidate in writing.
a. The clerk keeps minutes of the Ordination Council meeting and shall file records of the Council’s action with: (a) the local church, (b) the Association, (c) the Ministerial Concerns Committee.
b. Following the ordination, the ordaining church reports the ordination to the to the Association Minister of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association. The Association Minister is the one responsible for the inclusion of ordained persons in the Registry of Professional Leaders of the American Baptist Churches /USA.
7. Ordination Certificate
The local church secures the Ordination Certificate from the Association office and is responsible for its proper preparation and obtaining the necessary signatures.
8. Appeal Procedures
Whenever an Ordination Council recommends that a church defer or not proceed with the ordination of a candidate, the following courses of action are open:
a. The church may wait until the conditions that caused the recommendation change sufficiently to warrant requesting the reexamination of the candidate.
b. The church may appeal to the Ministerial Concerns Committee for a hearing, if it considers the decision of the Ordination Council to be arbitrary or unfair. Upon receipt of such a request, the Ministerial Concerns Committee shall arrange a meeting of its members to which shall be invited:(a) the moderator and clerk of the Ordination Council in question; (b) the candidate, the sponsor, and two delegates from the candidate’s church; (c) the Association Minister of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association. The meeting is convened and presided over by the chairperson of the Commission. This group will review the records of the Ordination Council, receive reports relative to its action, and decide, by vote of the members of the Ministerial Concerns Committee, whether or not the evidence presented warrants the recalling of the Ordination Council. If the Ordination Council is recalled, the Association Minister will act as moderator.
c. Should the decision of the recalled ordination council be negative, any further action taken by the church that presented the candidate to ordain that person shall be considered to be unilateral and without standing. Should there be a favorable decision by the ordination council, the local church may arrange for a service of ordination.
RECOGNITION OF AMERICAN BAPTIST ORDINATIONS
The Registry of Professional Leaders of the American Baptist Churches/USA is organized into three separate alphabetical listings: (1) nationally recognized, (2) regionally recognized and (3) inactive. Identifying symbols are used to indicate the nature of the ministry being performed.
The process of considering applications for the recognition of standard ordinations under the experiential equivalency provision is as follows:
a. Candidate completes the application, and returns it to the Ministerial Concerns Committee;
b. When action on the request is favorable, the ordination and the Registry of Professional Church Leaders of the American Baptist Churches/USA is so notified;
c. In the event that an application is not approved, the individual may appeal the ruling to the Executive Committee of the American Baptist Churches’ Commission on Ministerial Leadership which, in consultation with the Association Committee, will make the final decision.
a. A person no longer functioning in ministry in a recognized American Baptist ministry [see: Types of Service, page 6] will be placed on an inactive list in the Registry of Professional Leaders of the American Baptist Churches/USA.
b. If at the end of the five year period, the person is still unrelated to an American Baptist ministry, the name will be removed from the published inactive list.
c. A person may be restored to active recognition upon appropriate review by the Ministerial Concerns Committee after determining readiness for continuing ministry.
3. Withdrawal/Reinstatement of Status
a. An individual may request that his/her recognition of ordination be with drawn by writing to the staff representative to the Ministerial Concerns Committee who will notify the Association Minister of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association.
b. Involuntary withdrawal of recognition of ordination will be decided by the Ministerial Concerns Committee in consultation with the Association Minister of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association and a PCBA ministerial colleague. The “Notification of withdrawal of ordination” will be given in writing.
c. An appeal of the above decision consists of: (a) a request to the PCBA Board of Directors; and (b) the appointment by the Board of a special committee for review. The committee’s decision will be final.
d. Any person may be subsequently recognized again after a period of time, if there is such a desire on the part of the individual to be reinstated. The Ministerial Concerns Committee will meet with the individual to review the original action, subsequent history, and present qualifications for ministry.
e. In cases of sexual misconduct, the American Baptist Churches/USA adopted Guidelines for Ministerial Review procedures will be followed.
RECOGNITION OF NON-AMERICAN BAPTIST ORDINATIONS
The recognition process is initiated when an American Baptist congregation, agency or organization desiring ordination recognition for a person previously ordained by another denomination contacts the Ministerial Concerns Committee.
1. The individual, at his/her own request – a Privilege of Call [Appendix C, page 18] – or the request of the local congregation, or agency, appears before the Ministerial Concerns Committee or its representative members.
2. The Ministerial Concerns Committee undertakes the following functions at this meeting:
a. Reviews the required credentials (submitted prior to the meeting) including ABPS profile and report from The Center For Ministry consultative evaluation; (1) completed application, (2) letter of ministerial standing, from the candidate’s current denomination, NOTE: The Pacific Coast Baptist Association is empowered to waive this requirement and to recommend to the Ministerial Concerns Committee the recognition of a candidate:
* whose ordination has been withdrawn solely due to his/her sexual orientation
* whose ordination has been withdrawn solely due to commitment to welcome and affirm all individuals without regard to their sexual orientation
* when the Pacific Coast Baptist Association determines that an ordination was done in good faith, under the existing judicatory guidelines of the region (or denomination) and the Pacific Coast Baptist Association has not identified integrity concerns or violations of the principles consistent with the ABC Code of Ethics.
(3) verification of prior ordination and academic work college and seminary (photocopies are acceptable), (4) references from three persons familiar with the applicant’s previous ministries.
b. Interviews the individual to become better acquainted with his/her personal background, faith, baptism, ministerial experience, educational background and attitude toward and understanding of American Baptist tradition and polity, including the Covenant of Relationships [Appendix B, page 16-17].
c. Hears the person’s: (1) reasons for entering the ministry of the ABC/USA- (2) statement regarding his/her intention to participate in its fellowship and ministry; and (3) response to The Covenant and Code of Ethics for Professional Church Leaders of the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. [Appendix A, page 14-15].
3, When the Ministerial Concerns Committee votes to recognize the person’s previous ordination, the presently adopted ABC/USA ordination criteria apply [see pages 4-6]. Provisional recognition is granted until the required American Baptist orientation course is completed.
4. In the event recognition is not granted, the person may appeal to the Executive Committee of the ABC/USA’s Commission on Ministerial Leadership.
5. Upon receiving recognition of his/her ordination, the person completes negotiations with the local church body, agency or organization regarding his/her position within its professional ministry. At that time, an appropriate service of installation or recognition is usually held.
6. Copies of the Ministerial Concerns Committee’s decision is forwarded by the Executive Minister of the Region to the ABC/USA Registry of Professional Church Leaders.
7. The Ministerial Concerns Committee also furnishes the person with a letter/ certificate indicating that the previous ordination is recognized by the Association.
LICENSE FOR LAY PASTORAL MINISTRY
Recognizing the important role of laity as pastoral leaders in local church settings, the Ministerial Concerns Committee will grant licenses for lay pastoral ministry.
A license for lay pastoral ministry acknowledges and affirms the role of a lay leader as the called pastor in a particular local church setting.
Upon the recommendation of the local church, and interview with the Ministerial Concerns Committee, a license for lay pastoral ministry may be granted by the local church in coordination with the Association. The non-transferable license will be valid for the tenure of the call to the specified church and officially recognizes the ecclesiastical standing of the lay pastorate by the Pacific Coast Baptist Association.
THE COVENANT AND CODE OF ETHICS FOR PROFESSIONAL CHURCH LEADERS OF THE AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES IN THE U.S.A.
Having accepted God’s call to leadership in Christ’s Church, I covenant with God to serve Christ and the Church with God’s help, to deepen my obedience to the Two Great Commandments: to love the Lord our God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself.
In affirmation of this commitment, I will abide by the Code of Ethics of the Ministers Council of the American Baptist Churches, and I will faithfully support its purposes and ideals. As further affirmation of my commitment, I covenant with my colleagues in ministry that we will hold one another accountable for fulfillment of all the public actions set forth in our Code of Ethics.
I will hold in trust the traditions and practices of our American Baptist Churches; I will not accept a position in the American Baptist family unless I am in accord with those traditions and practices; nor will I use my influence to alienate my congregation/constituents or any part thereof from its relationship and support of the denomination. If my convictions change, I will resign my position.
I will respect and recognize the variety of calls to ministry among my American Baptist colleagues and other Christians.
I will seek to support all colleagues in ministry by building constructive relationships wherever I serve, both with the staff where I work and with colleagues in neighboring churches.
I will advocate adequate compensation for my profession. I will help lay persons and colleagues to understand that professional church leaders should not expect or require fees for pastoral services from constituents they serve, when these constituents are helping pay their salaries.
I will not seek personal favors or discounts on the basis of my professional status.
I will maintain a disciplined ministry in such ways as keeping hours of prayer and devotion, endeavoring to maintain wholesome family relationships, sexual integrity, financial responsibility, regularly engaging in educational and recreational activities for professional and personal development. I will seek to maintain good health habits.
I will recognize my primary obligation to the church or employing group to which I have been called and will accept added responsibilities only if they do not interfere with the overall effectiveness of my ministry.
I will personally and publicly support my colleagues who experience discrimination on the basis of gender, race, age, martial status, national origin, physical impairment or disability.
I will, upon my resignation or retirement, sever my professional church leadership relations with my former constituents and will not make professional contacts in the field of another professional church leader without his/her request and /or consent.
I will hold in confidence any privileged communication received by me during the conduct of my ministry. I will not disclose confidential communications in private or public except when in my practice of ministry I am convinced that the sanctity of confidentiality is outweighed by my well-founded belief that the parishioner/client will cause imminent, life-threatening or substantial harm to self or others, or unless the privilege is waived by those giving the information.
I will not proselytize from the other Christian churches.
I will show my personal love for God as revealed in Jesus Christ in my life and ministry, as I strive together with my colleagues to preserve the dignity, maintain the discipline and promote the integrity of the vocation to which we have been called.
PACIFIC COAST BAPTIST ASSOCIATION COVENANT OF RELATIONSHIPS
American Baptists understand their relationship to God through Jesus Christ to be a freely and joyfully accepted covenant. It is fitting, therefore, that this covenantal relationship be expressed through the Pacific Coast Baptist Association in a mutually developed relationship.
As Baptists, we strongly affirm the autonomy and integrity of the local congregation of believers as a true church and a community of faith. Although autonomous in our governance, each local church joins with other American Baptist churches in endeavors that can best be effective when done together. This interdependence allows for mutual support in order to bring about a full ministry of witness. This covenant outlines basic areas in which we carry out our responsibilities to one another through the Pacific Coast Baptist Association, and in which this Region aids churches and individuals in Wisconsin to manifest the Kingdom of God.
As Pacific Coast Baptist Association, we covenant together as an Association to provide the following structures for ministries of guidance, outreach, support, and leadership of our member congregations.
1. As individual churches, we covenant to work for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom by participating in the ongoing programs of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association, subscribing to state and national periodicals, submitting necessary annual records, giving faithfully to the American Baptist Mission Budget (ABMB)* of the American Baptist Churches/USA and making the United Mission Program (UMP)* a high priority, sending delegates on a regular basis to state and national gatherings of the American Baptist churches, consulting with the Association Minister in pastoral selection and by giving prayerful, sympathetic support to members of our Association staff.
2. Through our Association, we covenant to support one another in ministry by nurturing fellowship among the churches, providing or the professional enrichment and other needs of pastors, aiding one another in lay development, providing for camping and retreat experiences, participating in ecumenical efforts, and by sharing in other ways which strengthen the work of Christ in local churches and in our state, national and international ministries.
3. Through our staff, commissions and committees, we will provide skilled guidance in Christian education, evangelism, pastoral placement, concern for social issues, missionary and stewardship education, literature selection and discovery of other resources needed by particular congregations.
In the spirit of Christ, we promise to be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us. We will seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and pray that His Kingdom might come on earth as it is in heaven.
UMP – Undesignated, designated mission giving and love gift of the ABW to American Baptist missions.
ABMB – Total of the above plus giving of all kinds (such a Institutional Support and specifics) to the American Baptist mission.
PRIVILEGE OF CALL
Ministerial Concerns Committee, Pacific Coast Baptist Association
1. Privilege of Call Defined
Procedure for recognizing the eligibility of persons desiring consideration by search committees of Pacific Coast Baptist Association.
a. Any American Baptist professional church leader, listed in the Registry of Professional Church Leaders of the ABC/USA and having no apparent disqualifying condition, has a privilege of call.
b. Any American Baptist professional church leader about which the Region staff has a question may be referred to the Ministerial Concerns Committee for evaluation.
c. Any non-American Baptist professional church leader may be considered by the Ministerial Concerns Committee for privilege of call after/or in the process of (in the case of ordination requirements) meeting the following requirements:
i. Letter of ministerial standing from the previous denomination;
ii. All other Pacific Coast Baptist Association requirements for ordination, including the American Baptist orientation course;
iii. Three letters of reference regarding person’s potential as an American Baptist professional church leader.
2. Privilege of Call Procedure
a. The person desiring to secure a Privilege of Call with Pacific Coast Baptist Association requests a scheduled interview with representatives of the Ministerial Concerns Committee and an Association staff member.
b. Upon recommendation of the Ministerial Concerns Committee, the Association Minister will provide a Letter of Sponsorship to the American Baptist Personnel Services office.
c. Notice of Privilege of Call will be shared with the appropriate search committees.
A paper of fifteen to twenty pages in which the candidate relates one’s call to ministry, journey of faith, understanding of Christian doctrine and the practice of ministry.
Areas of theological understanding should include understanding of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Scripture, and the purpose and place of the church in “today’s” world.
The ordinances as practiced in American Baptist churches, personal commitment to American Baptist Churches, the role of the local congregation to the American Baptist Churches and to its ecumenical witness, are other aspects to be presented in the paper.
Other important areas to be considered are the role of laity, the role of women, leadership development, worship, evangelism and pastoral care.
SUGGESTED ORDER FOR ORDINATION SERVICE
Call to Worship
Reading of the recommendation of the Ordination Council that the church proceed with the ordination
Acts of Ordination
Charge to Candidate
Charge to Congregation
Vows of the Candidate
Prayer of Ordination (the candidate kneeling, the ordained ministers present being asked to join with the elected leaders of the ordaining church in placing their hands on the head of the candidate). For some who prefer an alternate to the common practice of kneeling and having hands laid upon the ordained, we suggest that the ordained and unordained who take part in this act join hands together with the ordained to symbolize the purpose and strength of ordination.
Presentation of the Certificate of Ordination
Welcome and right hand of fellowship extended by representatives of the Association and Region
Benediction by newly ordained minister
Notification of the completed ordination needs to be sent by the church to the Ministerial Concerns Committee. A record of the ordination is then forwarded to the ABC/USA Registry by the Association Minister.
Pacific Coast Baptist Association Ministerial Concerns Committee
NAME____________________SS#________________BIRTH DATE _________
____Letter from Sponsoring Church (include Church name and address)
____Faith Journey Statement
____Provide Ministerial Concerns Committee information about:
____Interview with Ministerial Concerns Committee
____Ministerial Concerns Committee Recommendation
____Name Added to Watchcare List *
____Sponsoring Church Notified *
____Sponsoring Church Issues License
____Association Notified by the local church
____ABC Registry Notified
____The Center for Ministry’s Consultative Evaluation
____Ordination Paper Submitted to Committee
____Interview with Ministerial Concerns Committee
____Two Letters of Recommendation submitted to Committee
____Seminary Recommendation and record of graduation submitted to Committee
____Ministerial Concerns Committee Recommendation
____Council Sponsor Chosen (Name)
____Ordination Paper Submitted to Association Churches (two weeks Prior to Council)
____Ordination Council Held
No. of Churches Represented
Moderator of Council
Clerk of Council
____Letter from Clerk of Council to Committee
____Ordination Service Date
____ABC Registry notified *
____ABC Polity/Heritage Course or Equivalent Completed
____Application Submitted to Ministerial Concerns Committee
____Three Letters of Recommendation
____Copy of Ordination Certificate
____Interview with Ministerial Concerns Committee
Date of Interview
____The Center for Ministry Consultative Evaluation
____Code of Ethics
____Ministerial Concerns Committee Recommendation
____ABC Registry Notified *
____ABC Polity/Heritage Course or Equivalent Completed
*(Indicates steps to be completed by the Ministerial Concerns Committee/ABCW) 8/97
Thanks to ABC Wisconsin for allowing us to draw upon their Ordination Guidelines.