Works to recognize, train, and provide accountability to all professional clergy who serve the Church of God in Michigan. This ministry will oversee:
Commissioning, Licensing, and Ordination of ministers
Recognition of Congregations
Credentials will work closely with Church of God national and state assemblies to provide consistency and integrity in credentialing for all ministers.
Steps Toward Commissioning, Licensing, and
Ordination with the Church of God in Michigan
Step One: The Call to Ministry
It is assumed that persons who sense God's call to ministry in the Church of God are already actively engaged in the work of a local church. The call to ministry and the need for credentials will generally grow out of those experiences and relationships. In most instances the local pastor is fully aware of the gifts and the developing ministry of such persons and is in a position to give counsel and instruction as these persons seek to respond to God's call.
The ministerial candidate must write a letter of intention to the chair of the Credentials Ministry declaring that he/she feels a divine call to the ministry and desires to pursue recognition as a minister in the Church of God.
The letter of intent should be no more than a paragraph or two and include the following:
A brief personal testimony of how you came to Christ.
A brief description of your personal call to ministry.
Why you feel called to be a Church of God Minister (as opposed to Baptist, Methodist etc.).
The Ordination Packet will be sent to you upon receipt of your letter of intent. You may e-mail your letter of intenet or mail your letter to the Service Center, 4212 Alpha Street, Lansing, Michigan 48910.
One of the keys to the credentials process is to license and ordain persons who are vocational ministers or who are doing equivalent work of a vocational minister. We do not ordain Sunday School teachers, persons involved with hospital visitation, or similar volunteer ministries.
If you have any questions, please call 1-800-369-5890.
Step Two: Verification to the Call by the Pastor and the Local Church
Upon receipt of the Ministerial Recognition Application, the Credentials Ministry will look to the pastor, three other Church of God ministers, and 3 recognized spiritual leaders in the local church for their verification of his/her call to ministry. The Credentials Ministry will provide these persons with copies of an evaluation and recommendation form which will assist the Credentials Ministry in understanding the candidate and his/her qualifications for ministry. Evaluation forms are to be supplied to persons in the congregation individually and sent directly to the Credentials Ministry by each individual.
When an unordained person is new to the state, the Credentials Ministry may accept recommendations from spiritual leaders in a former church or from ordained ministers of the Church of God. In the event that a Michigan unordained person has been recently called to a local congregation within Michigan, the Ministerial Credentials Ministry may seek recommendations from the former or home congregation.
Step Three: Verification of the Call by the Ministerial Credentials Ministry
The Candidate Will Supply Information.
The candidate will submit an initial doctrinal statement in accordance with the directions of the Credentials Ministry. The paper is to contain (1) summary of the essential elements of Christian doctrine as revealed in the Scriptures, (2) the candidate's relationship to and convictions about the Church of God universal and (3) the candidate's relationship to and conviction about the Church of God movement.
The Candidate Will Meet the Credentials Ministry
Having been recommended by the local pastor, other ministers and the members of the congregation, the candidate will meet with the Credentials Ministry for the following purposes:
To come to know each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
For the prospective candidate to understand the role of the Credentials Ministry and the Credentials Ministry to know the candidate.
For the Credentials Ministry to examine the candidate and his/her call to ministry in the light of the Scriptures, personal beliefs and general fitness for the ministry to which he/she feels called.
To give whatever counsel and assignments which appear to be called for in the candidate's continued preparation for ministry.
At the conclusion of the initial meeting with the candidate, the Credentials Ministry may (1) approve, (2) refuse, or (3) postpone placing the candidate in process for ordination and/or granting a ministerial license. If approved for the process of ordination, the name of the candidate will be submitted to the General Assembly of the Church of God in Michigan.
Step Four: The Candidate's Further Preparation
It is recognized that persons called to ministry may have different gifts and widely ranging degrees of preparation. The Credentials Ministry will attempt to be sensitive to the candidate's needs (spiritually, mentally and emotionally), their present involvement in growth experiences and their plans for continued preparation.
In recommending further preparation it will consider (1) past academic experience, (2) training being given by their pastor or home congregation, (3) current educational experiences and (4) personal study.
It will make available to candidates information about the services of the School of Theology Center for Pastoral Studies. This may include information on the basic curriculum courses and the educational tracks recommended by the Center for Pastoral Studies. Other institutes and seminars or courses of study may be suggested.
The Credentials Ministry will attempt to work out with each candidate assignments which will further prepare him/her for ministry. This will be done in terms of the candidate's individual situation.
The Credentials Ministry will assign a supervising mentor who will meet with the candidate regularly for not less than one year according to the guidelines established by the Credentials Ministry. At the conclusion of this period of time, a report from the supervising mentor will be sent to the Credentials Ministry.
Step Five: Final Approval and Ordination
When the supervising mentor determines that the candidate has fulfilled the requirements of the Credentials Ministry and is ready for ordination, the supervising minister will inform the Credentials Ministry and the second interview will be scheduled. The purpose of the interview will be to (1) update the Credentials Ministry on ministerial progress, (2) discuss the final doctrinal statement, and (3) confirm the candidates commitment to ministry in the Church of God.
When the steps outlined above are completed, the Credentials Ministry may (1) approve, (2) refuse, or (3) postpone ordination. It's decision is to be made prayerfully in executive session.
If approved, the Credentials Ministry shall submit the names of candidates seeking ordination to the General Assembly of the Church of God in Michigan.
These names shall be submitted in writing to the General Assembly at its annual meeting with a substantial statement by the Credentials Ministry as to its reasons for recommending ordination.
Candidates whose names are submitted to the General Assembly as working toward ordination or as having completed the ordination procedure as the case may be, shall be present in person at that Assembly except where prevented by emergency or illness, when their names are presented.
The names of any candidate not present in person will not be submitted to the Assembly.
For those approved by the Assembly, the ordainee in cooperation with the chairperson of the Credentials Ministry shall arrange for a service of ordination. The service shall be planned by the candidate, but the act of ordination shall be led by a member of the Credentials Ministry. A Certificate of Ordination shall be presented to the ordained minister in this service. This ministry shall make available an order of worship for the ordination service.