Protocol and Practicalities of the Ordination Process

Separated Unto the Gospel

Protocol and Practicalities of the Ordination Process

The scripture does not lay out a blueprint for the ordination process. It gives the qualifications and leaves some things in the hands of Holy Spirit led men of God. The protocols shared below are not biblical rules incumbent upon every minister; rather, they are things to consider in the ordination process for edification. As the apostle Paul, I write these things by permission, not by commandment.

Responsibility. The responsibility to ordain a minister lies with the pastor and spiritual mentors that know well the candidate’s life. Whoever is taking the lead to ordain a minister should confer with a few elders who have labored with that minister and see if there is a similar burden and/or support for the ordination. On occasion, a minister has not been ordained because no one took responsibility due to geographical limitations etc. This should not be construed as a poor reflection on an unordained minister.

Ministers should never feel pushed to ordain someone where there is a lack of “spiritual comfort” with the person under consideration. It is much easier to deal with a specific issue than it is when there is general unease. Time has proven for many ministers in the past to be cautious when there is unease. Ordination is of a spiritual nature and should never be politically motivated or to curry favor. In addition, there is tacitly some responsibility that ordaining ministers have regarding those whom they ordain.

Vetting. It is wisdom to vet a minister before ordination. The ordaining minister should speak with the candidate minister extensively about doctrine to establish that all is clear. It is good to visit with the spouse to confirm the spiritual stability of and verify the confidence in the minister by the family. The ordaining ministers should communicate with the congregation where the minister labors. On occasion there are hidden problems that can be revealed if these steps are taken. It is better to deal with problems before ordination rather than to make an unretractable mistake.

Ordination is a two-way street. Not only is the ministry backing and supporting that minister, the ordainee is accepting who and what the Church of God is as a body. An ordination from a sect group has no value or recognition among the Church of God.

The ordination process is not intended to be invasive and yet it should be thorough. It should not be viewed as a judgment but as a confidence. Candidates for ordination should not fear or resist this process. It is intended to be a blessing from God and the body of Christ.

Transparency. It is courteous to communicate with fellow ministers in the body. While two or three ordained elders may have the biblical right to ordain someone, the very nature of ordination implies a confidence and backing of the general ministry and of the church. Usually, a secret or private ordination defeats one of the primary purposes of ordination. The process should be conducted in a way that lends itself to the credibility of ordination.

Location. It is a blessing to God’s people and a testament of the Holy Spirit’s working to conduct an ordination service in the presence of the body of believers. Furthermore, it is good to ordain a minister among those with whom he is laboring. Ordination is a sober recognition and also a celebration of what God is doing in and with the life of a minister.