Description of Credential
The word commission is defined as “an authorization to perform certain duties or tasks or to take on certain powers.” To commission is to “send with a mandate or authority; to empower; to delegate.” In the Evangelical Covenant Church, we commission individuals called to a particular area of expertise to perform those duties within the context of the larger church. This call is seen as a long-term commitment to an area of staff ministry. The focus is primarily on their specialty, giving them a single purpose rather than broad-based contribution to the life of the church. The church recognizes these individuals as qualified in their particular task and sends them out to serve in this role. A commissioned person understands the parameters and limitations of the call and recognizes that it is always done standing with an ordained person. There is a co-mission aspect to the call necessitating this relationship with a team leader. The normative threshold of education is a bachelor’s degree with additional academic work in theology at the graduate level. Those seeking commissioning normally hold a ministry license while working toward this credential.
Those who seek commissioning are called to staff ministry, have bachelor’s-level training in an area of specialization, and do not wish to pursue a master’s degree. Candidates must meet the following requirements in order to be commissioned:
- Be engaged in full-time staff ministry. The candidate serving in a non-ministry position shall demonstrate its relationship to a local Covenant congregation.
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, including twelve semester hours in an area of specialization.
- Be a member of a Covenant congregation.
- Complete five years of successful full-time staff ministry prior to commissioning, three years of which must be in a Covenant congregation or institution
- Take additional graduate-level courses from a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. This coursework must include survey courses in systematic theology, Old Testament, New Testament, and church history. Each course must be three semester hours or equivalent
- Complete a year of residency at North Park Theological Seminary or complete Covenant Orientation (Candidates preparing for ministry primarily in the Hispanic community, and for whom Spanish is the primary language, may receive their training from CHET.)
- Spend two years in a mentoring relationship approved by the Board of Ordered Ministry.
- Participate in the Covenant Pension Plan if serving a Covenant church/institution.
- Submit a completed Minister’s Profile Form, signed baptism statement, Disclosure Form, and criminal record screening
Once the candidate has completed the above requirements, he or she notifies the Department of the Ordered Ministry and is placed on the commissioning candidate list at a June meeting of the Board of the Ordered Ministry. If you would like to verify if your name is on the list of potential candidates, please email the Department of the Ordered Ministry. Note that the commissioning process takes about a year and always culminates with the service of ordination, commissioning, and consecration at the Covenant Annual Meeting in June. Therefore, if a candidate wishes to be commissioned in any given June, he or she must enter into the process no later than July 15 of the previous year.
- The Department of the Ordered Ministry sends all potential candidates an email in June asking if they wish to be commissioned at next year’s Annual Meeting.
- The candidate responds to the letter before July 15.
- The Department of the Ordered Ministry sends all candidates an application for commissioning, and questions for the final ordination/commissioning/transfer paper.
- The candidate sends the completed commissioning application (including recommendation of Covenant church where membership is held) and commissioning paper to conference office by September 1.
- The conference committee on ministerial standing interviews the candidate based on the commissioning paper. The committee makes its recommendation and may require the candidate to rewrite sections of the paper.
- The conference committee on ministerial standing sends its written report on the interviews to the Department of the Ordered Ministry.
- The Board of the Ordered Ministry interviews the candidate at its winter meeting and makes a recommendation.
- 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 candidate must participate in the service of ordination, commissioning, and consecration at the Covenant Annual Meeting.