Qualifications for Ministry
It is a serious endeavor to sponsor someone for ministry credentials. A number of factors must be considered and while we recognize that no one is perfect, nevertheless we believe that the Bible sets forth standards by which ministers of the gospel are to be measured. The chief biblical texts that develop the requirements of leaders are: 1 Timothy 3:1-13, 2 Timothy 2:1-13,Titus 1:5-9, Acts 6:1-6 and Exodus 18:21-22. The qualifications spelled out in these passages can be summarized in five words: called, character, convinced, committed, and capable.
- 1. Called. God's calling of an individual to ministry precedes the recognition of that ministry. To grant credentials for ministry is the confirmation by the local church leaders of God's call upon a minister's life. We should not give credentials to someone in the hope that they will receive their calling.
- 2. Character. The character of a minister is of highest importance. Does the individual that you are endorsing for credentials strive to take on the character of Jesus? It is not a matter of perfection, but are they continually pushing and striving to be more Christ-like in all aspects of their life? Peter's counsel in his second letter is particularly applicable: “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” 2 Peter 1:5 -7 (NLT)
- 3. Convinced. Does the candidate for ministry, have a biblically-based world view? Do they have a biblically sound understanding regarding God, man and man's need for redemption? Do they understand the meaning of history and the nature of the church and especially the significance of Jesus' death and resurrection? Are they persuaded that God desires every aspect of their life and have they learned what it means to be transformed by the renewing of their mind?
- 4. Commitment. Do you believe that this candidate for credentials is clearly committed to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord? Is there a passion to “know Christ” not only in the “power of his resurrection” but also “in his sufferings?” Are they committed to seeing the cause of the gospel advanced in the local church and around the world?
- 5. Capable. Do they handle the word of God accurately and are they capable of guiding others? Is there evidence of the appropriate gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in their life and do they have a comprehension of the gifts along with discernment to be able to guide others to fully utilize the gifts that have been entrusted to them? (1 Corinthians. 12:12-31, Romans. 12:3-8) Does their life and specifically their relationships demonstrate integrity and love for Jesus especially in their marriage and family? (1 Timothy 4:11-12) Are they prepared to “make full proof of their ministry?”