Bi-Vocational Ministry License

Description of License

The bi-vocational ministry license (BVL) shall provide credentials for those persons who are involved in the pastoral ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) while normally engaged in secular work as the major source of livelihood. It may also be appropriate for persons serving an ECC congregation or institution part-time. This license shall be valid for one year and authorizes the holder to preach the gospel and exercise pastoral leadership. A bi-vocational minister may administer the sacraments and perform other pastoral acts when circumstances require, with the approval of the minister ordained to word and sacrament within the congregation, or the superintendent of the regional conference. Those holding a BVL and receiving pay may qualify for the clergy tax benefit but only for the funds paid directly for pastoral ministry. The BVL does not require participation in the pension program of the ECC.

Eligibility

Bi-vocational ministry license applicants must be a member in a Covenant congregation and must have a call to a Covenant church or other approved ministry. To qualify for a license, a candidate must demonstrate significant involvement in a majority of the following areas: administering the sacraments; conducting worship services; providing spiritual leadership; participating in the preaching and teaching ministry of the church; providing pastoral care; managing in a local congregation or institution of the ECC.

Requirements

  • Read four books from the bi-vocational minister’s reading list each year and submit a report on each book along with the annual application for license in order to qualify for renewal
  • Within two years of receipt of license, complete the Vocational Excellence class through Covenant Orientation
  • Submission of a completed Minister’s Profile Form, signed baptism statement, Disclosure Form, criminal record screening, and licensing paper

Procedure

  • Once the candidate meets the requirements for the credential, he or she contacts the conference office for a license packet.
  • The conference office sends the packet to the candidate.
  • The candidate completes all of the necessary paperwork, making sure to sign the license application, check all boxes, and obtain the signature of the local church chairperson on the back of the application. He or she then sends all of the paperwork back to the conference office.
  • The conference office receives this paperwork, making sure that none of it is incomplete or missing. If necessary, the conference office contacts the candidate to inform him or her of what is missing.
  • The conference committee on ministerial standing interviews the candidate in the fall or spring, using the licensing paper as the basis for the interview. The committee makes its recommendation.
  • Once the candidate has received a favorable interview, the conference office makes copies for its records, and then sends all originals to the Department of the Ordered Ministry.
  • At this time, the Department of the Ordered Ministry will issue an interim license, which will be in effect until the candidate is approved at the Covenant Annual Meeting. (Interim licenses expire on June 30.)
  • To receive a first-time license, the candidate must receive a favorable recommendation from the Board of the Ordered Ministry, a favorable recommendation from the regional conference ministerial association at its annual meeting, approval of the Covenant Ministerium, and approval of the Covenant Annual Meeting.
  • The Department of the Ordered Ministry sends out license certificates in July.
  • Each spring, the conference office sends out applications for renewal of licenses.
  • The conference committee on ministerial standing will re-interview the candidate every three years as long as he or she holds a license.