Guidelines for AMEC Credentialing
- Administration of Credentialing
- A Board comprised of ordained Pastor-Elders, hereafter called the Board of Elders, shall issue credentials for ministry and service in the Alliance of Mennonite Evangelical Congregations (AMEC) to persons who make necessary application and who qualify for such recognition in keeping with the guiding principles and policies of AMEC. Credentialing is a recognition of the mutual accountability we have within the Body of Christ, a commitment to encourage one another, an agreement to follow biblical standards of ethical conduct and willingness to give and receive counsel.
- There shall be four levels or types of credentials:
- Christian Service Commissioning;
- Christian Ministry License;
- Pastoral Ministry License;
- Ordination to the Gospel Ministry.
- Persons desiring credentials on levels II, III or IV shall make application to an AMEC Board of Pastor-Elders through the chairman or secretary of that Board. Persons desiring the Level I credential for Christian Service Commissioning may be processed by the local leadership of an AMEC-related congregation, provided the procedure follows the standards expressed and implied in the AMEC Purposes and Principles.
- Men Ordained to the Gospel Ministry and who have served five years since being licensed for Pastoral Ministry, upon reaffirmation of their ordination vows in a public worship service, shall be designated Pastor-Elders. These men may then be selected to serve on the Board of Pastor-Elders, which will function as the Credentialing Committee. When growth of the Association makes it feasible, the Credentialing Committee may be selected from among the Board of Pastor Elders.
- All individuals holding Christian Ministry Licenses, Pastoral Ministry Licenses or Ordination are members of the AMEC Ministers' Association also known as: The Shepherd's Fellowship. Persons holding a Christian Service Commission are welcome to attend the Shepherd's Fellowship activities, as non-voting participants, while their Commissions are active.
- Members of the AMEC Ministers' Association not serving in an AMEC related ministry or with an AMEC congregation may retain their credentials by an annual report to and approval by the AMEC Board of Pastor-Elders. They thus retain membership in the Shepherd's Fellowship.
- Descriptions of the Types of Credentials
The Christian Service Commissioning is available to persons called by God to Christian service at home or abroad in a supporting vocational role, for a shorter or longer period of service. It represents approval for service for those who do not desire or do not qualify for a Christian Ministry License, or Ordination. It may be granted through a Commissioning Service. It does not give approval for the performance of ministerial functions as defined by the AMEC Board of Pastor-Elders.
Christian Service Commissions are for one to three years depending on the terms or length of the service assignment and are renewed upon the request of the Licensee and approval by the Board of Pastor-Elders. Such Licenses may be appropriate for short-term service or for a long-term, non-ministerial role in missions or service vocations.
The Christian Ministry License is available to persons called by God to longer periods of service in a variety of Christian ministries within Congregations, Mission ministries, church-related institutions or para-Church ministries. It is the highest credential for those not qualified for or aspiring to a pastoral role and is normally granted through a Commissioning Service. It represents approval for limited ministerial functions and other duties defined by local churches and approved organizations. This license may serve persons who are engaged in ministries of evangelism, Christian education, music, chaplaincies, youth or children's ministries, prison ministries, and many types of missionary roles. It also may represent approval for the layman whose ministerial gifts are used by the church at large from time to time, but who does not feel called to a vocational pastoral role. Normally a person who holds a Christian Ministry License shall function under the guidance of a senior pastor or an approved administrator or supervisor.
Licenses are issued for one to three years and may be renewed upon request of a Licensee and approval of the Board of Pastor-Elders. Upon completion of three years of effective ministry a person may request a license which does not need repeated renewal, provided the Board has reviewed and approved the individual's doctrine and ministry. A person who holds a Christian Ministry License and enters another type of work, which is not predominately Christian ministry or service, should submit the Christian Ministry License for termination. It may be re-granted at such time as a work of special significance and purpose for Christian Ministry is resumed.
The License for Pastoral Ministry is available to men called by God to the Ministry of the Gospel. This license is for those qualified for the role of Pastor who have yet to meet the requirements for Ordination. It represents approval for all pastoral duties and ministerial functions as defined by the Board of Pastor-Elders.
This license is issued for one year and may be renewed annually upon request of the Licensee and approval of the Board of Pastor-Elders. Upon satisfactory completion of two years of effective ministry the man holding a Pastor Ministry license is encouraged to pursue ordination in AMEC. It is expected that a man will have completed the Ordination requirements by the end of five years service in AMEC related congregations or ministry. A person who holds a Pastoral Ministry license and changes to another type of work, which is not predominately Christian service or designed for the exercise of ministerial functions, shall submit his Pastoral Ministry License for termination. It may be re-granted at such time as appropriate ministerial functions are again pursued, should other qualifications continue to be met. (This does not preclude self supported or bi-vocational pastors in which persons hold other employment in order to support themselves or supplement their income in order to carry out his Christian ministry or service.)
Ordination to the Gospel Ministry is granted to men who have held a Pastoral Ministry License and effectively served a minimum of two years in an AMEC related church or approved ministry. Ordination represents approval for all pastoral and ministerial functions in the AMEC at home or abroad with no need for renewal. Ordination credentials, however, are subject to suspension or revocation in matters of discipline, as are the other levels of licensing.
With the exception of persons active in ministry at their retirement, the rights and privileges given to ordained persons should not be misused or misapplied if the person holding such credentials is no longer functioning in a ministerial capacity. Persons who leave the Gospel ministry should submit their ordination for an "inactive status" for the duration of that time. Ordination may be restored to "active status" upon notice of one's return to ministerial functions. Persons who are Ordained Ministers at retirement shall be so recognized for life.
- Transfer and Recognition of Credentials
- Ministers coming from another Evangelical Christian denomination or fellowship who desire to have their credentials transferred to or recognized by AMEC, shall make application to the Board of Pastor-Elders on the forms provided. With this application they shall give particulars as to previous credentials, and the reasons for the desired change. A personal interview with the Board of Pastor-Elders shall be necessary for action in keeping with its guiding principles and policies. Normally a person transferring credentials, though experienced and otherwise qualified, shall serve within AMEC for at least one year before serving on the Credentialing Committee of the Board of Pastor-Elders.
- The Board of Pastor-Elders, following the principles of Scriptural discipline, is given responsibility to oversee disciplinary investigations and actions of credentialed persons. This shall normally be done through a specially appointed committee accountable to the Credentialing Committee. This shall be conducted in cooperation with the congregation, organization or agency with whom the credentialed person serves. Having giving due diligence to the findings and counsel of the respective persons or bodies, the Credentialing Committee has authority to suspend or revoke as well as recommend eventual restoration when requirements have been met. Disciplined credentialed persons have the privilege of appeal to the full Board of Pastor-Elders.
The Alliance of Mennonite Evangelical Congregations
P O Box 424 Bally, PA 19503