The Process of Ordination

Step 1:  License to Ministry

A local church, well acquainted with the candidate, makes public the fact that the individual apparently possesses the ability, and the spiritual and emotional qualities needed for ministry.

Through licensing, the congregation is recognizing and affirming God’s calling of the individual to ministry. The individual licensed has opportunity to develop in ministry as he or she prepares for ordination.

Licensing should be done by the church in which the candidate’s membership is held. An appropriate committee should meet with the candidate for the purpose of determining the candidate’s eligibility for licensing. (In most churches, this is the board of deacons, elders, etc.)

The committee takes its recommendation to the church for a vote of affirmation.

A License to the Ministry is then presented to the candidate as part of a worship service. – Churches, if you need assistance with wording when designing a license (the printed certificate), feel free to contact your Region Minister, who has access to a certificate sample.

(Adapted from Recommended Procedures for Ordination, Commissioning and Recognition for the Christian Ministry in American Baptist Churches,  1997)

Step 2:  Ordination

2a.) The Call of God

The most important prerequisite for ordination, the call of God to a specialized ministry, does not yield itself to particular standards which a denomination or local congregation might establish. This is why the “call” must be tested by other prerequisites or standards, especially those having to do with licensing as a first step toward ordination, meeting educational standards, and clarity about the proposed type of service in which the candidate intends to serve as an ordained minister.

2b.) Candidate Works through the Local Church Initially

The Region does not perform ordinations, nor is the Committee on Ordination and Recognition of Ministerial Standing (CORMS) an ordaining body. The candidate makes known the desire for ordination to the pastor and appropriate committee of their home church. This church and pastor should be sufficiently familiar with the candidate to commit to supporting them in the ordination process, and to recommend them to CORMS.

2c.) Candidate Then Meets with a Region Representative

The candidate will then have a meeting with the Executive Minister to go over the process of applying for and gathering the documents necessary to review suitability (readiness) for ordination, which CORMS will take a look at and then also meet with the candidate at several specific stages of that readiness process. To read more about this process and the documents CORMS reviews (from the ordination/recognition of ordination candidate and his or her church), go HERE.

2d.) The Committee on Ordination and Recognition of Ministerial Standing (CORMS) Makes a Recommendation

CORMS will notify the candidate’s home church, as well as the Executive Minister of ABC/IN-KY, as to their recommendation concerning the candidate’s suitability for ordination.

Step 3:  Local Church Then Proceeds with Ordination

A special worship service is planned by the candidate and the church affirming the ordination. A Region Minister is usually present to help celebrate the special day when notified well in advance. Again, the Region can provide a printed certificate for the day of ordination celebration.

This is a quick overview of Licensing and Ordination, and the Recognition of a non-ABC Ordination is very similar!

With questions about the licensing, ordination, or recognition of non-ABC ordination processes, please feel free to contact Rev. Mark Thompson, Executive Minister, or your church’s Region Minister.