Steps to Ordination
The preparation for ministry process is a covenant relationship between an individual, his/her Session and the Presbytery. Together they share the task of nurturing that individual’s gifts into their most appropriate expression, and enhancing the welfare of both the Church and the individual. Below is the step-by-step overview of the ordination process.
SEEKER PHASE (Preliminary phase)
- A person who believes he or she may have a call to ministry should first have a conversation with his or her pastor about that sense of call.
- Membership in a local congregation for at least six months is required before beginning the preparation process.
- The interested party is required to attend a Seeker seminar, held twice a year.
- The inquiry application forms (Forms 1 and 2) would be the next step. They can be found at . http://www.presbyterytwincities.org/resources/forms/. These forms as well as two essays (one describing the story of your faith journey, highlighting the people and events which have contributed to your faith development [3-10 pages] and the other briefly describing what led to your choice of seminary or what seminaries you are considering and why) are to be completed.
- The applicant will then share these documents in a meeting with the home church session to seek their endorsement and enter into a covenant relationship of support during preparation for ministry.
- If endorsement is granted, a meeting with the CPM will be scheduled to review the application and supporting documents/essays and to seek their recommendation.
- CPM will consider a recommendation to the Presbytery that the individual be enrolled as an inquirer.
- The Seeker will be introduced to the Presbytery when the recommendation is presented. The date of the Presbytery action is the beginning date of the covenant relationship.
INQUIRY PHASE (Time of exploring issues around one’s sense of call)
To be enrolled as an inquirer, the applicant shall be a member of the sponsoring congregation, shall have been active in the work and worship of that congregation for at least six months, and shall have received the endorsement of the session of the sponsoring congregation. The inquiry and candidacy phases shall continue for a period of no less than two years, including at least one year as a candidate.(G-2.0602)
In addition to serving as a time of exploring issues around one’s sense of call, the time of inquiry is a time during which a number of the requirements of preparation are normally to be completed. These are as follows:
- Participate in annual consultations with advisory group.
- Participate in a consultation with the North Central Ministry Development Center.
- Begin or continue course work toward a Master of Divinity degree at an accredited seminary.
- Begin or continue additional course work that may be recommended by the CPM.
- Complete an approved field education experience OR an approved accredited unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (the CPM may require both field education and CPE prior to candidacy if it deems it necessary).
- Prepare for and take the Bible Content Exam (ordination requirement).
- Complete the six “Inquirers’ Statements” and Statement of Motivation that are part of the candidacy application.
- Meet with home session to review seven statements and application for candidacy to request endorsement to become a candidate (Forms 5a & 5b).
- Meet with the CPM advisory group and full committee for review of status and to seek endorsement for advancement to candidacy.
- Appear before Presbytery with Statement of Motivation to be examined and approved as a candidate by responding to the constitutional questions.
- Always stay in touch with your advisor for advice and counsel regarding progress through requirements and for friendly chats.
CANDIDACY PHASE (Time of development toward full readiness for ministry) The purpose of the candidacy phase is to provide for the full preparation of persons to serve the church as teaching elders. This shall be accomplished through the presbytery’s support, guidance, and evaluation of a candidate’s fitness and readiness for a call to ministry requiring ordination. (G-2.0604)
Candidacy is the time for completing the preparation requirements along with the finishing touches of readiness for ministry. Specific requirements are as follows:
- Annual reviews with advisory group.
- Complete field education and CPE and submit self and supervisor’s evaluations.
- Complete M.Div degree and have final transcript showing graduation sent to the Presbytery office.
- Pass ordination and Bible content exams.
- Finalize Statement of Faith, description and analysis of contemporary need, exegesis and sermon text for final assessment.
- Complete Boundary Training – Level 1.
- Participate in a Fiscal Fitness Workshop sponsored by the Board of Pensions.
- Meet with the full CPM in a final assessment to preach sermon and review exegesis and Statement of Faith (Form 6).
Permission may be granted to circulate the Personal Information Form following successful completion of the ordination exams and after one’s annual consultation. Action will be reported to Presbytery at its next meeting—and the real fun begins!!
ORDINATION PHASE: Begins when a call is received and accepted. Confirms and certifies full readiness for ministry in a congregation
When a candidate has received and accepted a “call” to serve a congregation, the calling Presbytery will verify the call and send the “terms of call” to the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. The candidate is not required to meet again with the CPM if the final assessment took place within the previous twelve months. At the candidate’s request, however, a final meeting with the CPM may be scheduled.
Examination on the floor of Presbytery takes place with the calling Presbytery. G-2.0702. Examinations by the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area will be on the candidate’s Statement of Faith (a one page document printed for the Presbytery), Christian theology, readiness for ministry of the Word and Sacrament, and any other related topic presbyters wish to ask. Following a successful examination, the Presbytery will form an Administrative Commission for the ordination service, which is ordinarily held in the candidate’s home church (Form 7b) – see pages 54-55.