Qualifications. A minister who is a candidate for ordination should clearly have the anointing and call of God on his ministry and meet the scriptural qualifications for a bishop as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. These scriptural qualifications should be incumbent upon all who minister; however, they should be without question in a minister’s life before ordination takes place. The minister should be representative of the body of Christ and an example of holiness, sound in doctrine, and Christlike in spirit. The anointing of the Lord should be evident to the general body, not to just a few. Candidates for ordination should be effective in their labors and an asset rather than a liability to the ministry. Their integrity in business, temporal and spiritual, should be without reproach and they should have the confidence of the people. While it is a high calling, ordination should never be confused with requiring human perfection, for everyone makes mistakes, has weaknesses, and personality attributes on which God is still working.
Hindrances. In addition to the aforementioned qualifications, the following is a partial list of things that should give pause to the ordination of a minister: home life not in order, pattern and trail of problems, lack of confidence from the people, unfaithful in service, unwise preaching and presentation, not in unity with the body of Christ, etc.
Timing. A new minister, regardless of age and knowledge, should not be ordained quickly and should be given time to prove his ministry in the Lord, for there are spiritual traps that the enemy has laid. Bro. Cecil Carver stated, “The Word teaches that a minister should not be ordained until he has shown his worthiness. ‘Not a novice’ shows that care should be exercised before ordination. On the other hand, ministers should not delay ordination too long” (Church of God Doctrines, 1979).
Ordination is a serious thing and is to be addressed with godly care. Paul gave instruction in 1 Timothy 5:22 to “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins…” If an elder knowingly ordains an unworthy minister, he is a partaker of such unworthiness by sanctioning that ministry. A minister never need bow to pressure to ordain someone if there is not a clearness and affirmation from the Holy Spirit. To ordain someone solely for the purpose of government requirements (to perform a marriage, etc.) is not in keeping with the importance of ordination unless all other qualifications are in order.
This caution also applies when a minister comes in from another belief system or church. Although the anointing of God seems to be present and there is a general acceptance of truth, time will help prove a ministry.
1 Thessalonians 5:12 reads, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you.” It takes time to know someone’s doctrine and manner of life, so it is unwise to quickly ordain a minster that comes seeking recognition in the Church of God.
For consideration. The scripture does not set a specific length of time someone should minister before being ordained, hence, there will be differences from ministry to ministry. Bro. Ed Wilson, an elder in the Church of God, shared an insight for consideration on that subject. If someone has had an active pulpit ministry for five to seven years, in most cases, it could be time for the subject of ordination to be discussed. It might be time to either ordain or give a reason why not. Hence, if someone has been ministering for many years and not been ordained, it might be in order for him to humbly inquire if there is a hindrance.
If a minister has a lack in his life, he should keep praying, seeking God, and laboring in the Spirit. He should work with the ministry to gain that confidence and be willing to fix by word and by deed that which might be hindering. It is a hard thing for people to step back from ministry, but if the anointing and the call of God is not there or not recognized by other Holy Ghost filled ministers, there are times that a ministry should be laid down for the benefit of the gospel and for the sake of the people. Ordination is never something for which to strive and is not an “end” or measure of success. A minister should not push for ordination for “A man’s gift maketh room for him…” (Proverbs 18:16).