Why does it matter? How do I go about doing it?
The purpose of pursuing a ministerial credential within the EFCA is to:
- Affirm God’s call upon a person’s life
- Verify that this person meets the qualifications and standards for ministry in the Evangelical Free Church of America
- Approve this person for ministerial service under the auspices of the EFCA
- Provide legal status in the exercise of that person's ministry
There are four types of credentials in the EFCA:
Certificate of Ordination (COO)
Ministry License (Vocational and Non-Vocational)
Certificate of Christian Ministry
Transfer of Ordination
Pathway to Credentialing:
First things first: Once you have prayerfully decided to pursue credentialing, begin the process by contacting the NEDA office and informing us of your desire to get started. We will go over the necessary components and expectations to get you moving forward. If you have no formal Bible School or seminary training, you are strongly encouraged to participate in the EFCA Gateway Theological Training. (In very rare cases, formal training may be waived, but that is the exception).
(2) Choose someone, generally an EFCA ordained ministry colleague, who can serve as your mentor in the process.
(3) Go to the EFCA website and carefully read through the various components, process, and expectations.
(4) Download all of the necessary forms that pertain to your chosen credential. Fill them out and send (paper or electronic) copies to the NEDA office. A file will be kept of your paperwork.
(5) Compose your thesis/ordination paper, consulting often with your mentor as to the content and structure.
(6) Send your completed draft to the NEDA office. It will be proofread and sent to a member of the District Board of Ministerial Standing (DBOM). A designated "reader" will then contact you to discuss, critique, and suggest revisions where necessary.
(7) Send a final draft to the NEDA office.
(8) A council meeting will be arranged by the DBOM. At this gathering you will meet with a group of EFCA pastors from the district who will go through each section of the paper and will ask you to defend your theology or perspective on each doctrinal aspect. This council meeting generally takes about four hours. Written minutes as well as an audio recording will be taken during the meeting.
(9) The NEDA office will send your package of forms, a copy of your final thesis, and the recommendation and minutes from your council meeting to the EFCA's national Board of Ministerial Standing. Once a decision is received, you will be immediately informed by the NEDA office at which time you and your church may choose to hold a formal or informal service of recognition.
Obviously, this is a process which cannot be rushed. It's not uncommon to "get stuck" or have a slowdown due to life's circumstances. No deadlines are ever set, you go at your own pace, but it is up to each candidate to be pro-active in completing each requirement in a reasonably timely manner and making steady forward progress. Please consult with your mentor or ask for assistance from the DBOM should you need input at any step along the way - consulting and praying with ministry peers throughout the process is crucial to your success.