PASTORAL MINISTRY HANDBOOK | CHAPTER 7
National Conference Ministers
National conference ministers are those members of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, whose call to the ministry has been affirmed by the national conference and who are continuing the pursuit of ordination. The national conference license is the second of three steps toward ordination, which is the goal expected of persons holding this license.
To become a candidate for this license, a person must fulfill the following:
1. Hold a local church license from a United Brethren church, or a provisional license, for at least 12 months.
2. Complete two years of college and the course in United Brethren church history.
3. Demonstrate a level of faithfulness and competency which warrants consideration for a national conference license.
4. Demonstrate faithfulness to the membership, family, and social standards of the church (UB Discipline, chapters 4-6) , and conformity to the general expectations of ministers (chapter 7).
Licensing of National Conference Ministers
The following procedure is established for the licensing of national conference ministers:
1. Referral for National Conference License
After local church or provisional ministers have held their licenses for a minimum of 12 months, they may request that their local churches refer them for consideration as national conference ministers. The local church shall verify that the local church ministers have met the qualifications and shall make the appropriate referral should they deem the ministers to be suitable candidates.
After provisional ministers have held their licenses for a minimum of 12 months, they qualify for national conference license if:
a. They have taken the course in United Brethren history.
b. They have met the educational requirements.
Candidates shall be examined by the Ministerial Licensing and Ordination Team. They shall present the following to the committee:
a. Five references giving evidence of the candidate’s faithfulness in Christian living and suitability of service using the Ministerial Reference for Ministerial Licensing form. References should be obtained from the following individuals:
(1) A faculty or graduate school member in the candidate’s major area of study.
(2) The pastor of the local United Brethren church the candidate attends (or, if the candidate is the pastor, from another United Brethren pastor).
(3) The lay leader (or a key layperson) of the local United Brethren church the candidate attends.
(4) The cluster leader.
(5) A friend or relative.
b. A copy of his/her academic transcripts.
c. Written responses to the following, along with scriptural references and personal examples to support the answers:
(1) Describe your conversion experience, journey of faith, and call to ministry.
(2) Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God and that it reveals the only way for our salvation? How do you support your belief?
(3) What is your motive for desiring a national conference license?
(4) What is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer? How is this demonstrated in your life?
(5) What do you believe regarding the nature of humanity and the individual need for salvation?
(6) Define the following terms: depravity, redemption, faith, repentance, justification, regeneration, and sanctification.
(7) Demonstrate a proficiency with a plan of salvation and identify individuals you personally have led to Christ.
(8) Will you agree to abide by the official actions of the denomination in all matters relating to your ministry?
(9) Are you satisfied with the moral and social standards and with the government of this denomination, and will you seek to maintain them?
(10) What are your future plans regarding ministry inasmuch as they pertain to this license?
(11) Will you faithfully pursue the course of study required for you?
(12) Demonstrate your working knowledge of the Discipline in the following areas: the reception and duties of members, local church structure, and the classifications and duties of ministers.
(13) What current debts do you have?
(14) Have you ever pled guilty to or been convicted of any crime?
(15) Have you ever been charged with child neglect or abuse?
(16) Has your driver’s license ever been suspended or revoked?
(17) Do you use illegal drugs, beverage alcohol, or tobacco in any form?
(18) Is your marriage in harmony with the teachings of Scripture as interpreted by this denomination?
Based on the above documents and any others the committee may require, candidates shall be examined to determine matters of personal integrity, commitment to the Christian faith, ministerial call, relationships with others, spiritual maturity, and understanding of the doctrinal distinctives, history, and polity of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.
3. Report to the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team
Following the examination, the examining committee shall report its findings to the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team and make any recommendations it deems consistent with its findings. Pending a favorable recommendation from the examining committee, the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team may choose to grant a national conference license.
The national conference license is valid for four years. Following this initial four-year period, annual renewal is required. Renewal is subject to the following conditions:
a. An annual report must be made to the bishop.
b. Progress is being made in the required course of study (see below).
5. Referral for Ordination Status
National conference ministers may be referred for ordination status when they meet the qualifications for ordination. If ordination status is not granted, the previous status as a national conference minister will be retained.
6. Loss of the License
The Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team shall have the authority to revoke the licenses of national conference ministers whose lives and ministries are inconsistent with the expectations detailed in the Discipline. Should they desire, national conference ministers shall be granted an opportunity for a hearing before final action is taken.
Course of Study
All national conference ministers are expected to pursue a course of study outlined in the chapter “Educational Requirements.”
Expectations of National Conference Ministers
In addition to the general expectations of all ministers and members in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, national conference ministers are expected to faithfully fulfill the following requirements:
1. Annual Reporting
All national conference ministers will file an annual report with the bishop and cluster leader. In addition, they are expected to file a separate annual report of their activities with the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team.
Since this license is granted by the national conference, national conference ministers are accountable to the national conference. They are also required to participate in and be accountable to a cluster
3. Ministerial Service
National conference ministers shall work under the direction of the bishop. They may be asked to supply pulpits when ministers are ill or on vacation or be assigned as the senior pastor of a local church. National conference ministers are authorized to officiate at funerals and weddings and to administer the ordinances of baptism and communion.