PASTORAL MINISTRY HANDBOOK | CHAPTER 7
Elders are those members of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, who have been called by God and are pursuing employment as professional members of the clergy. Their call has been confirmed by the church through a process of examination, education, and accountability.
To become a candidate for ordination, a national conference minister must accomplish the following:
1. Complete the course of study for ordination in the Church of the United Brethren Brethren in Christ, USA, outlined in the chapter “Educational Requirements.”
2. Hold a national conference license for at least two years.
3. Serve for two years in a recognized ministry appointment approved by the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team.
4. Demonstrate a level of faithfulness and competency which warrants consideration for the status of ordained elder.
¶63 Procedure for Ordaining Ministers
The following procedure is established for the ordination of ministers.
1. Request of the National Conference Minister
After holding a national conference license for a minimum of two years, individuals may submit a request to the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team for consideration for the office of ordained elder in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.
2. Reference Letters
The applicant shall submit five references giving evidence of the applicant’s marriage and family relationships, interpersonal relationships and social skills, and faithfulness in Christian living. The letters should be obtained from the following individuals:
a. A faculty or graduate school member in the candidate’s major area of study. This is not necessary if education was completed at a previous level.
b. The senior pastor of the local United Brethren church the candidate attends (or, if the candidate is the senior pastor, from another United Brethren pastor).
c. A layperson serving in leadership at the local United Brethren church the candidate attends.
d. The cluster leader.
e. A local board chair.
3. Written Responses
The applicant shall submit responses to the questions in Chapter 9, “Questions Asked of Candidates for Ordination.”
4. Other Documents
The candidate shall also provide:
a. A copy of his/her academic transcripts.
b. An updated Minister’s Profile.
Based on the above documents and any others the committee may require, the candidate shall be examined to determine matters of:
a. Personal integrity.
b. Commitment to the Christian faith.
c. Ministerial call.
d. Relationships with others.
e. Spiritual maturity.
f. Understanding of the doctrinal distinctives, history, and polity of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.
6. Report to the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team
a. 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.
b. Pending a favorable recommendation from the examining committee, the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team may choose to grant ordination status.
¶64 Loss of the License
1. The Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team shall have the authority to revoke the credentials of any elders whose lives and ministries are inconsistent with the expectations detailed in the Discipline.
2. Should they desire, elders shall be granted an opportunity for a hearing before final action is taken.
¶65 Elders from Other Denominations
1. Ordained ministers from other denominations who seek to be ordained by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, must:
a. Demonstrate that their ordinations are still considered to be in good standing from their denomination of origin.
b. Provide documentation that verifies they meet the educational requirements for ordination in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.
2. These elders will be examined by the Ministerial Licensing and Ordination Team. Once that examination has occurred and a favorable recommendation has been approved by the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team, these elders will be granted a Provisional license.
3. Upon completion of the one year of service requirement and the course in United Brethren church history, their prior ordination will be recognized.
4. Ministers from other denominations who are over 35 years of age will be permitted to meet the educational requirements for ordination as outlined in chapter 13.
¶66 Expectations of Elders
In addition to the general expectations of all ministers and members in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, elders are expected to faithfully fulfill the following.
1. Annual Reporting
All elders must file an annual report of their activities with the bishop and cluster leader.
Since this license is granted by the national conference, ordained ministers are accountable to the national conference.
3. Ministerial Service
a. Elders shall work under the direction of the bishop.
b. Elders are authorized to officiate at funerals and weddings, and to administer the ordinances of baptism and communion.
c. No ordained elder is guaranteed a pastoral assignment in the denomination.
4. Continuing Education for Elders
a. All elders who are actively serving in a local church are required to fulfill the continuing education requirements outlined in the chapter “Educational Requirements.”
b. Elders who consistently fail to meet the continuing education requirements will no longer be eligible to serve as a pastor in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.