The Church of the Brethren has two degrees for its ministerial leadership: the licensed ministry and the ordained ministry. The policies for both apply equally to men and women. Complete information may be found in the Ministerial Leadership Paper. All Ministerial Leaders are expected to live by the Code of Ministerial Ethics found in the 2008 Ethics in Ministry paper
THE LICENSED MINISTRY
The authority for licensing granted by Annual Conference rests with the District Board and is delegated to the District Ministry Commission.
The term of license shall be for the current year, with all expirations being December 31. The license may be renewed annually at the initiative of the District Ministry Commission, following a consultation with the licensed minister and approval by the appropriate group responsible for ministerial leadership in the congregation. Licensed ministers who show no inclination to fulfill the purpose of licensed ministry and to pursue the requirements for ordination shall not be re-licensed. The license may be terminated at the initiative of the licensed minister, the congregation, or the District Ministry Commission, if satisfactory progress is not being made.
The purpose of licensing include:
The responsibility for licensing persons to ministerial leadership rests with the District Ministry Commission and is carried out with the candidate's congregation. Both parties must be in agreement to license.
THE ORDAINED MINISTRY
The authority for ordination granted by Annual Conference rests with the District Board.
An ordained minister has the authority to perform all ministerial services and preside at the ordinances practiced by the denomination. If the ordained minister is not the pastor, these activities should be carried out in cooperation with and under the direction of a pastor and/or a District Ministry Commission.
An ordained minister, by both word and deed, is a representative of the faith community. In denominational and ecumenical settings, the ordained individual symbolizes the spirit that the Brethren believe to be important about themselves.
An ordained minister, who believes in the ministry of the whole people of God, will understand ministerial leadership as a call to serve with and among brothers and sisters who are not licensed or ordained, but who are also called to ministry and service through the rite of baptism.
The Process of Ordination
The process may be initiated by the licensed minister, by the licensed minister. s congregation, or the District Ministry Commission and shall consist of the following:
1. Pre-Ordination Examination. The District Ministry Commission and representatives of the congregation shall consult with the licensed minister in a personal interview as he or she nears completion of requirements for ordination. The use of the "Pre-Ordination Interview Guide" can help to determine the candidate. s growth and development since licensing. Recommendations from various sources, including college and/or seminary personnel and the candidate. s congregation, following normal clearance procedures, should be obtained.27
2. Recommendation to the District Board. When in the judgment of the District Ministry Commission the licensed minister has met the requirements of ordination, the commission shall report its recommendation to the District Board for approval. The approval by the District Board is by simple majority vote.
3. Recommendation to the Congregation. Upon approval by the District Board, the District Ministry Commission shall notify the pastor, board chair, or other appropriate persons in the candidate. s congregation of the District Board. s action so that a congregational vote can be taken to affirm the ordination of the candidate.28 The affirmation by the congregation is by two-thirds (2/3s) majority vote. A representative of the District Ministry Commission should be present for the congregational business meeting to take the vote.
4. An Ordination Service. If the District Board and the congregation approve the candidate for ordination, the person shall be ordained to ministerial leadership with the laying on of hands during a regular or, preferably, specially called worship service by a representative of the District Ministry Commission after consultation with the candidate and the local pastor.
Annual Review Forms
Interim Ministry Documents
Other Ministry Documents
List of Congregations searching for pastors (listed by district)