Within Growing Healthy Churches, licensing for the Christian ministry is understood to be a preliminary step toward ordination. The licensing process will be initiated as a request is made by the candidate and/or deemed necessary by the congregation.
Church The local congregation is the locus of authority for licensing. It is assumed by the church’s sister congregations and GHC that a decision to grant a license for the Christian ministry signifies that the congregation is well acquainted with the person and, by this act indicates that:
- the person has sensed a call to the Christian ministry;
- he/she apparently possesses the spiritual and emotional qualities necessary to fit him or her for the ministry; and
- the person is presently pursuing or planning the academic preparation required for ordination.
Civil Every state ‐ as with the U.S. government itself, particularly IRS and Social Security rely upon each denomination’s definition regarding who is authorized to perform churchly sacerdotal rights. If in licensing a person, a GHC congregation intends that the person is authorized to conduct worship services, baptize and conduct communion services for that congregation, then the right to conduct weddings and funerals as a licensed minister would be legitimate also. Therefore, it shall be the policy of Growing Healthy Churches that local congregations shall determine and make clear their intentions in written form to the licensee whether or not their licensed ministers have the authority to conduct worship services, baptize, preside at the Lord’s Table, and conduct weddings and funerals.
- The candidate for licensing must be a member of that local congregation.
- The candidate makes known his/her desire to be licensed to the pastor.
- The interview with the candidate may involve the entire congregation or the Board only. That decision is made by each church.
- A decision is made to proceed with licensing or to refrain from licensing the candidate. In the latter case, the church or Board would want to inform the candidate regarding the reasons for its action.
- Upon a positive action by the church or Board, a certificate, of licensing should be presented to the person. The Ordination Commission of Growing Healthy Churches recommends that the term of such licensing be no longer than three years. If at the end of three years the person has not yet qualified for ordination but is making reasonable progress toward that goal, the licensing may be renewed for another three year term upon action by the church or its Board.
A decision to grant a license for the Christian ministry carries with it the following responsibilities on the part of a local congregation:
- Periodic, at least annual, meetings with the person to determine his/her progress toward, readiness for ordination. This includes adequate educational counsel regarding the person’s preparation for the ministry.
- Opportunities within the life of the congregation for the person to demonstrate and develop his/her gifts for ministry within the church.
- Financial assistance, if possible, for the high costs of the seven years of higher educational preparation for ordination.
- Informing the GHC Ordination Commission when the congregation concludes that the candidate is ready for ordination and if they want the ordination recognized by GHC.
- Conducting a service of ordination, upon recommendation of the GHC Ordination Commission.
Ordination & Ordination Recognition
For information on Ordination & Ordination Recognition please contact the GHC office at (925) 277-3980.