PASTORAL MINISTRY HANDBOOK | CHAPTER 5

Provisional Ministers

Description

The provisional license is granted by the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team to those persons called to serve in a congregation of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, as a senior pastor, full-time staff pastor, or pastor in transition:

1. When holding credentials with another group.

2. When planting a church for the United Brethren in Christ, USA.

3. When not holding any credential.

This license is granted as the entry level for two distinct tracks of ministerial pursuit.

1. Ordination. For those seeking ordination, the provisional license is the first of three steps toward ordination.

2. Specialized Ministry. For those desiring to serve in a specialized ministry area for a local church, but not in an ordained capacity, the provisional license serves as the first of two steps in order to receive a specialized ministry license.

Qualifications

To become a candidate for a provisional license persons must do the following:

1. Complete two years of college.

2. Demonstrate a level of faithfulness and competency which warrants consideration for this license.

3. Demonstrate faithfulness to the expectations of members (UB Discipline, chapter 4), adherence to the moral and social standards of the church (UB Discipline, chapters 4-6), and conformity to the general expectations of ministers (UB Discipline, chapter 7).

4. Receive a referral from the bishop.

Licensing of Provisional Ministers

The following procedure is established for the provisional license:

1. Examination

The Ministerial Licensing and Ordination Team shall examine the candidate to determine matters of personal integrity, commitment to the Christian faith, ministerial call, relationships with others, spiritual maturity, and understanding of the doctrinal distinctive, history, and polity of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.

The candidate shall present the following, along with any other documents the team may require:

a. Five Letters of Reference. These letters should give evidence of the candidate’s faithfulness in Christian living and suitability of service from the following individuals:

(1) Faculty member in the candidate’s major area of study.

(2) Leader from the candidate’s previous church or place of service.

(3) Friend or relative.

(4) Pastor who knows the candidate.

(5) Another person of the candidate’s choosing.

b. Copy of his/her academic transcripts

c. Written responses to the following:

(1) Do you believe the Confession of Faith set forth in the Discipline of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA?

(2) Describe your conversion experience, your faith journey. and your call to ministry.

(3) Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God and that it reveals the only way of salvation? How do you support your belief?

(4) What is your motive for desiring this license with the United Brethren in Christ, USA?

(5) What is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer? How is this demonstrated in your life?

(6) What do you believe regarding the nature of humanity and the individual need for salvation?

(7) Define the following terms: depravity, redemption, faith, repentance, justification, regeneration, and sanctification.

(8) Demonstrate proficiency with a plan of salvation and identify individuals you have led to Christ?

(9) Will you agree to abide by the official actions of the denomination in all matters related to ministry?

(10) Will you faithfully pursue the course of study and/or additional requirements needed for ordination or a specialized ministry license?

(11) What current debts do you have?

(12) Have you ever pled guilty to or been convicted of a crime?

(13) Have you ever been charged with child neglect or abuse?

(14) Has your driver’s license ever been suspended or revoked?

(15) Do you use illegal drugs, beverage alcohol, or tobacco of any form?

(16) Is your marriage in harmony with the Scriptures?

2. Additional questions for those seeking a specialized ministry license:

a. What role does your area of ministry play in the overall ministry of the church?

b. What is your understanding of staff relationships in the church?

c. Explain your philosophy of ministry as it relates to your specific area of specialization.

3. Recommendation

Following the examination, the examining committee shall report its findings to the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team to make any recommendations it deems consistent with its findings. Pending a favorable recommendation from the PMLT, a provisional license shall be granted.

Annual Renewal

This license must be renewed each year by the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team. Renewal will be determined subject to the following conditions:

a. An annual report must be made to the bishop’s office for review by the PMLT.

b. Progress is being made in the required course of study (see below).

c. A course in United Brethren church history must be completed.

Advancement to National Conference License

1. Provisional ministers may hold a national conference license when the following conditions have been met:

a. The provisional license has been held for a minimum of 12 months.

b. They have completed the equivalent of two years of college.

c. They have completed the course in United Brethren church history.

d. They have met the requirements for national conference license (see handbook section “National Conference”).

2. Provisional ministers may hold a specialized ministry license when the following conditions have been met:

a. The provisional license has been held for a minimum of 12 months.

b. They have completed 30 semester hours of college level work in their field of specialization, including a minimum of 12 hours of Bible.

c. They have completed the course in United Brethren church history.

Referral for National Conference License

Provisional ministers seeking ordination may be referred to the national conference when they meet the qualifications for national conference license. Should a provisional minister be referred and not received as a national conference minister, the previous status as a provisional minister will be retained.

Referral for Specialized Ministry License

Provisional ministers not seeking ordination may be referred to the national conference when they meet the qualifications for specialized ministry license.

Should a provisional minister be referred and not received as a specialized minister, the previous status as a provisional minister will be retained.

Transferring the License

When provisional ministers transfer their membership from one United Brethren church to another, the license is automatically transferred once the receiving church has confirmed the transfer of membership.

Ministers from Other Denominations

If a minister from another denomination with the equivalent of this provisional license seeks to be licensed by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, a license will be granted providing that all other requirements for a provisional license have been met.

Course of Study

All provisional ministers are expected to pursue a course of study leading toward a Master of Divinity degree or a Master of Ministry degree through an approved seminary or courses to meet the 24 areas of study outlined in chapter 13.

Expectations of Provisional Ministers

In addition to the general expectations of all ministers and members in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, provisional ministers are expected to faithfully fulfill the following requirements:

1. Annual Reporting

All provisional ministers are expected to file an annual report of their activities with the bishop.

2. Accountability

Since this license is granted by the national conference, provisional ministers are accountable to the national conference in addition to the normal accountability procedures in the local church where they serve.

3. Ministerial Service

Provisional ministers shall work under the direction of the bishop. They may officiate at funerals and weddings and administer the ordinances of baptism and communion only under the supervision of a senior pastor.

The entire Pastoral Ministry Handbook can be downloaded as a PDF file.