Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q – How do I finish the Covenant Orientation?
A – Covenant Orientation is comprised of the three major components of Orientation Studies, Covenant Life Experiences, the Advising Relationship. To complete Covenant Orientation, you will need to finish all three of the components and pay your program fee in full.
Q – I have had many Covenant experiences that do not appear on my student progress report. How do I get credit for the Covenant Life Experiences?
A – To get credit for your Covenant Life Experiences, you simply need to inform the Covenant Orientation office that you have attended a certain event or experience. The best way to do this is by writing the experiences on a copy of your student progress report and then mailing/faxing it to the Covenant Orientation office. You can also simply send an email or call the office.
Q – What counts as a Covenant Life Experience?
A – A list of accepted Covenant Life Experiences can be found in the general information sent with your application and by clicking here. If you have a question about a particular experience, feel free to ask.
Q – How do I get credit for completing the Advising Relationship?
A – Your advisor is responsible for sending a report to the Covenant Orientation office verifying the completion of your advising relationship. A one page form for this purpose should have been sent to your advisor at the beginning of the process. If your advisor has lost their copy of the form, your advisor can simply write and send a narrative that briefly describes the character and content of your relationship.
Q – Does Covenant Orientation have something like graduation?
A – Although you will receive a certificate of completion, there is no graduation service for Covenant Orientation. The majority of pastors enroll in the Covenant Orientation to seek commissioning, ordination, or transfer of ordination. Therefore, completing Covenant Orientation is considered as one step, albeit a lengthy step, on the way to this final credentialing goal (which may be more analogous to graduation).
Q – If I take my last course at the Annual Meeting, will I complete Covenant Orientation at that meeting?
A – If your last course is taken after the Midwinter Conference, you will not be eligible for commissioning/ordination at that year’s Annual Meeting. There needs to be ample time for writing and grading papers as well as for other administrative tasks. For example: if you take your last course in June 2009, and have already finished all other requirements, you will be counted as finishing the program and ready for ordination in 2010. At first glance, this may seem excessive, however, a class is not complete until grades are received. For a typical June course, grades are received in early September, which is considered the next academic year.
Q – If I will not be able to finish the Covenant Orientation when I said I would, what are my options?
A – Covenant Orientation was designed for completion in two years. This is to try to keep students together in learning groups and to help pastors and churches plan for completion. Sometimes, because of sickness, church or family emergencies, and other reasons, pastors miss courses they were planning to take and fall behind their original schedule. There is no problem created by not finishing the program on your original schedule. However each year you move back your Covenant Orientation completion, you also move back your ordination or commissioning. If you would like help planning a schedule for completion, please contact us.
Q – The maximum time to finish Covenant Orientation is six years, but what if I need longer?
A – If at the end of your sixth year you have not finished Covenant Orientation you will need to inform your superintendent. With his or her approval, you may petition the Covenant Orientation Implementation Committee for approval to continue your enrollment. Failure to make adequate progress through Covenant Orientation may result in the inability to renew your credentials.
Q – How does completing Covenant Orientation fit into the ordination/commissioning process?
A – Covenant Orientation is required of all pastors seeking ordination or commissioning who have not been oriented through studies at North Park Theological Seminary. Completing orientation is only one of the requirements that pastors must meet to be ordained or commissioned. Credentialing requirements can be found here.
Q – Can I have a brief overview of the final steps of the ordination/commissioning process as it relates to the Covenant Orientation?
A – Every June, the Board of the Ordered Ministry approves a list of candidates who are eligible for ordination/commissioning at the next year’s Annual Meeting. Covenant Orientation students who will finish in the next year are suitable candidates. Candidates will be asked to complete a paper the summer before they are ordained or commissioned. Some candidates will write their paper before they finish orientation but they must finish their last Covenant Orientation courses at or before the Midwinter Conference prior to ordination/commissioning. Pastors who have not completed Coveanant Orientation will not be ordained or commissioned until they complete it , even if they have written their paper and had a successful interview with the Board of the Ordered Ministry.
Q – How does completing the Covenant Orientation fit into the Transfer of Ordination Process?
A – Covenant Orientation is required of all pastors who transfer their ordination unless they opt to attend a year of studies at North Park Theological Seminary. Pastors must enroll in Covenant Orientation before receiving provisional standing, and finish Covenant Orientation before finalizing their transfer of ordination.