Licensing and Ordination

How to become an ordained pastor or a licensed minister.



Procedure to become a Licensed Minister

Technically, licensure needs to come through an affiliated, autonomous church. The church needs to be careful to follow these procedures when issuing the license for tax reasons and for accurate payroll records. The documentation of this event during a formal meeting is critical and should include the duties the church is authorizing the pastor to perform, and those minutes need to be filed with the license issued.

The particular person who is sensing a call to ministry typically enters into, or has already come through, a program that involves either formal theological training or training by their particular church in areas of theology, ministry practice and philosophy of ministry. The person desiring licensing should submit the following to their Church Board (or the congregation if the church so desires):

  • 1-page statement highlighting their conversion and call to ministry
  • 4-8 page, self-written doctrinal statement of major doctrines

However, this process is determined by the local church. If the perspective candidate demonstrates a level of proficiency in these areas, his call is affirmed by the leaders of his particular church. The leadership board (elders, deacons or overseers), depending on the church’s particular polity, issues a license which allows this person to serve as a minister of the church. It would be advised to check your church constitution to see what is required related to licensure, whether vote by leadership is sufficient or if it needs to go before the congregation. The approval for licensing must be part of the church board’s official minutes. A copy of the minutes should be maintained by the church and a copy retained by the person being licensed.

There are two types of licensing:

  • For the ministry while affiliated with the licensing church. The person’s license is no longer valid after leaving the licensing church.
  • For the Gospel ministry from the date of licensing forward.

In the event “For the Gospel ministry from the date of licensing forward” is selected, the church would have the right to revoke the license in the event it should become necessary due to such issues as heretical teaching or moral failure. If that step is taken, a letter stating the license has been revoked must be sent to the licensee. Licensure is exclusive to the church that issues it and is not transferrable between congregational entities.

Christian bookstores have these two types of certificates of license available. **Within two years of being licensed or ordained, the pastor may file for exemption from Social Security if his beliefs are consistent with the exemption statement. A tax advisor should be consulted, and this should be entered into only with great seriousness.

This licensure is not ordination and is usually restricted to ministerial duties related to the particular church that issues the license.

Ordination Converge Great Lakes Ordination Processes
There are two processes by which a person can be ordained in Converge Great Lakes. One is local church focused the other invites the district leadership directly into the process and is a little more extensive.

District Process:  (Option 1)
The ordaining church initiates contact with the Converge Great Lakes District Executive Minister (DEM) and let him know they have a candidate who is eligible for ordination. The DEM contacts the person and describes the process:

An ordination document would need to be prepared that would have a description of:

  1. Conversion experience
  2. Call to ministry
  3. Theological and biblical convictions in the major areas of faith
  4. Philosophy of ministry

Step One: Preordination Council
This council is always chaired by the DEM. Three to five other members need to be chosen and all from Converge Great Lakes and the ordaining church. At this meeting, an in-depth review of the ordination document will occur with the prospective candidate. This is usually the most intensive part of the process.

As a result of this Council, there will be one of three recommendations to the ordaining church. Either the person will be recommended without any reservation, recommended with specific recommendations, or not recommended to go ahead with ordination

Step Two:
Ordination Council The church will announce to their congregation that the candidate will be eligible for ordination and that a council has been called on certain date to convene the conference. Letters will be sent out to local pastors, both in Converge Great Lakes and others. Delegates from the sending churches will be requested.

If the DEM is able to come to this meeting, he will come but it is not contingent on his participation. Depending on the recommendation of this meeting, an actual ordination service will be conducted, typically the next day (Sunday) afternoon or evening. An ordination certificate from the district will be sent for this meeting as requested.

Step Three: Ordination Service
This is normally planned by the candidate and the ordaining church.

Church Process (Option 2)
This would eliminate Step One above, but everything else would be the same.

Take the next step

Contact us if you need assistance or have additional questions.




Converge Great Lakes helped us work through a variety of growth transitions and work through staff conflict, and how to create the right team. They provided coaching for church health, which resulted in greater ministry effectiveness.

John Anderson, Hope Community Church, Shawano, WI