What are credentials? For those who have the call of God on their lives for fulltime ministry, credentials are the link to an organization from which vital information is received, to which the minister provides support, and through which there is accountability. Credentials provide that essential “card carrying” membership which can be presented to our government and the public. Credentials are the “stamp of approval” by a recognized organization that authorizes the performance of all ordinances and ceremonies of the church, in accordance with applicable federal or state laws.
An official application is the first step after the educational requirements have been satisfied. The official application deadlines are Certified/Licensed July 15th and Ordained November 1st. Because of the General Council mandated background check requirement for all applicants, there can be no grace period for having the application in by July 15.
The first credential is Certified Minister. If the person seeking credentials is unsure of the call to ministry, this level may be like a courtship–it provides an opportunity to get acquainted and decide whether the calling is a “till death do us part” relationship; or you may discover that you want to be involved in your
church, but your calling is not to a full time, lifelong ministry.
All born again Christians are “. . laborers together with God. . .” and all should follow the admonition in 2 Timothy 2:15 to “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed.” The better prepared we are, the better we can serve in the Harvest. However, everyone does not need credentials to serve and be an asset to the church. There are many positions that can be filled by those who are secularly employed. Their ministry is doubly important in that they support the church financially as well as providing assistance in the various areas of ministry in the church. They also touch the lives of many people outside the church where their Christian influence is beneficial. There are no “unimportant” tasks in the effort to reach the lost and fulfill the Great Commission. God measures by faithfulness.
The next two levels of credentials, Licensed Minister, and Ordination, are for those who are called and committed to full time ministry. The educational requirements must be met prior to requesting the Upgrade Application.