Credentialing in the Church of the Brethren.
In the Church of the Brethren, the call to set-apart ministry is of God. The discernment process, while deeply personal, is not solely a private affair. Individuals are called by God and the church through both a profound inner conviction and the affirmation of such conviction by a congregation.
Calling begins in the congregation. Either a person who feels led by God to explore whether he or she may be called to ministry or a congregation who has experienced gifts of ministry in one of its members may initiate the call. Congregational leaders observe the spiritual maturity and commitment of all persons within their congregation, anticipating that some will be ready to answer God’s call to ministerial leadership. Congregations should provide encouragement and positive role models for those considering ministry. The process of discernment is critical for both the ministry candidate and the church.
The Church of the Brethren defines two degrees of ministerial leadership: licensure and ordination. The licensed minister gives time and opportunity for the person and the church to test their preliminary judgement regarding the call to ministerial leadership. This designation also authorizes the person to participate in many services of ministerial leadership while engaging in an approved educational program.
The next level of ministerial leadership is ordination. An ordained person is one who has fulfilled education requirements; demonstrates leadership ability and maturity of judgement; has a thorough knowledge of and commitment to the history, beliefs and polity of the Church of the Brethren; affirms the expectations and commitments of ministerial leadership; and intends to make church service a major part of his or her lifework.
To learn more about becoming a licensed or ordained minister, please connect with Phil Adams.