1 Experience & NCCChurch Commissioning, Licensing and Ordination for Christian Ministers Effective Experience & NCCChurch P.O. Box 787, Cookeville, TN, www.
2 Welcome Welcome to Experience & National Conservative Christian Church (NCCChurch). We are a nondenominational church and ministerial fellowship. The Lord has birthed in us a passion for reaching the lost and equipping the saints, so they can fulfill God s calling on their life. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our credentialing information with you and welcome you to call, or even stop by to discuss any questions you may have. Choosing a credentialing organization that will train and then support you in ministry is important. We pray the Holy Spirit guides your steps as you pursue ministry and clergy credentialing. As a non-denominational church and ministerial fellowship, we have an excellent process called the Four Step System. This system helps us identify God s calling on a person s life, understand and acknowledge where they are in the equipping process and to help further equip them for clergy credentialing. We have developed this elite training system from our years of experience in ministry, business, teaching and discipleship. We would like to be clear and up front. The NCCChurch believes strongly in relationship, support and accountability. When we accept an application for ministerial credentials it is with the expectation of a long healthy partnership in which we advance the Kingdom of God together. The Body of Christ should co-labor and support one another. When a candidate completes the Four Step System and receives clergy credentials they then become part of our ongoing support process which includes accountability and many opportunities for ongoing training and support such as webcasts, minister s retreats, online community and ministry mentoring. We pray that the Holy Spirit fills you with His wisdom, anointing and vision for the ministry you have being called into. If you have any questions about Experience & NCCChurch or the credentialing process give us a call. We would love to chat with you. Pastor David M. Smuin, PhD. Senior Pastor Page 2
3 Clergy Credentials Commissioning, Licensing and Ordination are all common terms for the setting apart of ministers for an office or duty in ministry. This setting apart is an official endorsement that gives the minister special recognition, privileges and responsibilities. Ordination, licensing and commissioning is man s method of acknowledging what God has already completed or is currently doing in a person s life. In essence, clergy credentialing is the recognition by Christian leadership of a person s gifting and calling by God into ministry. Why is clergy credentialing with an organization that focuses on accountability and support important? And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands of them, they sent them away. Acts 13:2-3 Here is a perfect example: Minister Jones was excited when he contacted us. He was applying for a new ministry position, but needed a reference from his credentialing organization. The solid relationship that had been developed, his participation in the ongoing training and regular reporting made his request easy to fulfill. It also gave it more credibility. Proper clergy credentialing and recognition is more important today than ever before. The shifts in culture, shady internet sites and the increase in laws have fueled the need for the Church to credential and oversee ministers. Proper credentialing can ease the minds of individuals, churches and those in the secular community who must verify the validity of spiritual leadership. Ministers who interact with secular organizations such as jails, prisons and hospitals have a greater need for proper clergy credentialing. The jail or prison must verify that the spiritual leaders coming and going from the secured facility are in fact ministers. Most jails and prisons will not allow a minister into the facility unless they can verify proper clergy identification. Ministers who provide pastoral counseling also have a more significant burden to prove their credentials are valid and that there is a reporting and renewal requirement. Every state in the U.S. has laws regulating who can provide counseling services. With very few exceptions anyone who provides counseling must submit to the training and licensing process for state licensure to provide counseling. However, states do provide an exemption for ministers who are properly credentialed and offer counseling as part of their overall ministerial duties. If you provide pastoral counseling, please make sure you know and follow your state laws. If a state investigator walks into your office and asks to see your credentials, how will you respond? The above examples show the need for people outside the church to have confidence that the minister is equipped and accountable. However, there is also a need inside the church. Believers and churches want to know that pastors, ministers and para-church leaders have been through some process and training for their clergy credentials. When a minister obtains their clergy credentials through the NCCChurch they can show that they have been through a screening and training process. They can also show that there is accountability and ongoing support available to them as ministers. Page 3
4 The NCCChurch s ministerial credential identifies the individual as a minister, shows they have personal accountability and gives them access to our support system. However, NCCChurch credentialing does not mean the minister is an employee or that their ministry is directly sponsored by the NCCChurch. This allows the minister the freedom necessary to work with other churches, ministries, denominations or to establish their own ministries. Commission, License and Ordination Being credentialed as a minister is one of the highest honors a Christian can receive. Clergy credentials acknowledge God s calling on an individual and speaks to their maturity. The honor and leadership positions that come with clergy credentials also bring additional accountability and responsibilities. Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment. James 3:1 The church also has increased responsibility before God when it issues clergy credentials. We believe it would be irresponsible to credential a minister without a screening, training and accountability process. The clergy credentialing system we have developed recognizes that ministers have different levels of training, experience and responsibility. It also anticipates personal growth and a deepening relationship between the credentialing church and the minister. We issue the following three categories of clergy credentialing: Commissioned Minister This category of clergy credentialing is issued when a person first comes to us seeking ministerial credentials. It allows us time beyond the initial credentialing process to build relationship and understand their ministry, experience and responsibilities. Ministers serving part time, having limited education or experience may stay at this level as long as necessary or they may choose to further equip themselves and upgrade to the licensed category. The commissioned category is full clergy credentials. It gives all the rights and privileges of clergy credentialing. Licensed Minister This category of clergy credentialing is given to honor ministers who have increased their training, experience and responsibilities. Licensed ministers may be part time or full time. Licensed ministers may stay at this level of credentialing or choose to further equip themselves and upgrade to the ordination category. The licensed category is full clergy credentials. It gives all the rights and privileges of clergy credentialing. Ordained Minister This category of clergy credentialing is the highest recognition and honor the church can give through credentials. Ordained ministers have proven leadership abilities, have equipped themselves for ministry and have gained more experience than commissioned and licensed ministers. The ordination category is full clergy credentials. It gives all the rights and privileges of clergy credentialing. Experience has shown us that people inside and outside the church respect and have more confidence in ministers who go through a credentialing process with different levels. Ministers who receive a letter from another minister, online certificate or even a local endorsement without a training and accountability process are not as well received and, in some cases, not considered valid. Page 4
5 A perfect example: while updating this section I received a phone call from a man explaining that he recently performed a wedding and the state was requiring the name and address of the primary body that ordained him. He was searching the internet to find the organization that credentialed him because he couldn t remember. He found our website and called to see if we had ordained him. When I mentioned that we have an annual renewal process we both knew it wasn t the NCCChurch that credentialed him. How does the state know his credentials are valid? Is the wedding legal and valid? How can he prove that he was credentialed and that those credentials are legitimate? What process did he go through and what accountability is there? If he had received clergy credentials from us there would be solid answers, accountability and support to back him up. * Current clergy credentials or extensive experience may exempt a minister from some requirements through our lateral transfer option. Upgrading Clergy Credentials Moving from the commissioned to licensed credential status or from the licensed to ordained status requires additional training and participation in our ongoing accountability process. The following steps outline the requirements for each upgrade. But prove yourselves Commissioned to Licensed complete the following items doers of the word, and One additional NCCChurch approved ministry course. not merely hearers who Complete 3 ministers training webcasts and evaluation form or attend a delude themselves. ministers retreat. James 1:22 Be current on quarterly reports, dues and renewal requests. Display adequate ministry experience, responsibilities and spiritual maturity.* Licensed to Ordained complete the following items One additional NCCChurch approved ministry course. Complete 3 ministers training webcasts and evaluation form or attend a ministers retreat. Be current on quarterly reports, dues and renewal requests. Display adequate ministry experience, responsibilities and spiritual maturity.* *Upgrades are not automatic. There is a final review that includes a review of quarterly reports, renewals and prayer. We believe the Holy Spirit has the last word in the upgrade process. Upgrades normally take place during the annual renewal process. Ministers can request an upgrade outside of the renewal time if there is a compelling reason for the upgrade. This may be a significant change in their ministry, new position or requirement for ministry. Special upgrade requests and requirements will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Page 5
6 Requirements for Credentialing The NCCChurch credentialing requirements include: The candidate must have a clear personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Must show evidence of God s calling. Display a sincere commitment to ministry. Be in agreement with the NCCChurch Statement of Faith. Be in agreement with the NCCChurch Code of Ethical Standards. Complete a background check. Be willing to support the NCCChurch with prayer, honor your commitment to fees, quarterly reporting, membership dues and the annual renewal process.* Complete the Four Step System. And He went up to the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons. Mark 3: *After credentialing every minister is required to participate in quarterly reporting, regular dues and annual renewal process to maintain their credentials. Training The Four Step System The NCCChurch developed the Four Step System to identify God s calling on a person s life, understand where they are in the equipping process and to further equip them for clergy credentialing. This elite training system was developed from years of experience in ministry, business, teaching and discipleship. We have combined the best of distance education with technology to create a training process that is interactive, unique and accountable. We have found by working together we create healthy patterns that ensure success. The Four Step System requires a dependable computer or portable device, internet connection, account, a weekly commitment of time for learning and a desire to be a fruitful minister. The credentialing process using the Four Step System is designed to take three to six months to complete. It is flexible enough to meet any schedule. The primary course requires weekly activity. Other requirements are self-paced. Each candidate is allowed one year from the time of application to complete the credentialing process. If the candidate surpasses the one year point their situation is reviewed to ensure they can move forward. They are also required to complete a new application, background check, fees and any new requirements that have been put in place. Step 1 Application & Enrollment Forms The first step in the Four Step System is the Application, Four Step Enrollment Form and the Authorization for Background Investigation. These forms are available upon request. They should be printed, filled out and submitted with the appropriate fees. When they arrive, we do an initial review to make sure the candidate qualifies for the credentialing program. If everything is in order we start the background investigation, begin an in-depth review and contact the candidate. Page 6
7 When this initial review and background investigation is complete we contact the applicant and acknowledge their denial or acceptance. If the candidate is accepted, we move forward with reference checks and give additional information about the next steps. Step 2 Join the Team Candidates are given a username and password, so they can access our training website. There are videos on each section of the site that explain the best way to navigate and use the training site. Access is also given to the Four Step System, Intentional Discipleship and the main fellowship area. During this step candidates are also asked to complete a minister s profile, sign the Code of Ethical Standards and agree to our Statement of Faith. Step 3 Intentional Discipleship & Internship This is an excellent web-based course that contains reading material, videos, quizzes, special assignments and a mentor s report for each week. The internship is a vital component of the Four Step System. Many candidates have found long term ministry opportunities because of the internship. The internship is an opportunity to extend your faith to people in a real world setting as well as grow and become confident as a minister. During the internship the candidate must serve under another minister for a total of 30 hours doing hands on ministry. There are a variety of internship options for you to choose from and your current ministry may qualify for the internship. However, the internship must be pre-approved to make sure it qualifies. The internship must be hands on ministry not observation, administrative, custodial or pastoral counseling. An extensive list of options is available on the website after the candidate has completed step 2. Step 4 Monthly Training Webcasts & Reports The webcasts are interactive training sessions. They contain teaching on specific leadership or ministry topics, incorporate live chat during and after the presentation, allow for questions and fellowship. Candidates must attend three of these webcasts or watch three of the recorded webcast videos and complete a short report for each. Candidates must also complete their first quarterly report, as part of our regular reporting process. Other Training Opportunities The NCCChurch has a wide variety of training and fellowship opportunities that everyone is invited to participate in. You may want to consider joining us for one of the following: Prayer Services Experience Church Service Experience Webcast Page 7
8 Minister s Retreat Special Events Online Courses You can find detailed information about these and other opportunities on our website www. or by calling the office. Cost and Application Forms To begin: Application and Background Search $ Four Step System and Course $ (Payment options available) After credentials are issued: Monthly Membership Dues Tithes and Offerings $ (required) (always appreciated) Annual Renewal Fee: Commissioned $ Licensed $ Ordination $ Please contact us at to set up a free consultation or for the application and enrollment forms. Page 8