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Policy: Commissioning of Christian Workers

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Policy MC 106

 

Commissioning of Christian Workers

 

 

 

 

Policy Number: MC 106 Issue Date: July 24, 2013
Supersedes: Policy Concerning Applicants/Candidates for Ordination (1989) Effective Date: July 24, 2013
Policy Established by: Ministry Council  

Implementing Procedure: LAC Procedure MC 106, Commissioning of Christian Workers.

 

Nota Bene: The number of forms of credentialing of Christian workers at LAC is sufficiently large that the reader may become confused as to which form applies to which situation. The document "An Introduction to Credentialing of Ministers and Christian Workers at LAC" may help clarify the options.


Purpose


The purpose of this policy is to describe the requirements of Lake Avenue Church (LAC) for commissioning Christian workers for the ministry God has called them and LAC affirms. It identifies the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that accompany commissioning. A key purpose is to help commissioning candidates and LAC leadership understand what is involved in and required throughout the commissioning process.


Background


What does it mean to be Commissioned? Commissioning of Christian Workers is the formal determination by the church of a person's call to and qualification for ministry either within the local church or in its global mission. The person who is commissioned is one who is given specific rights, privileges, and responsibilities by the church for the duration of a specific ministry assignment. Commissioning is bestowed after the church determines that the candidate is called to an occupation within the church and is qualified.


Who should be Commissioned? The person who is a Commissioned Christian Worker has been called to serve in specific ministry roles within the local church (LAC) or its global mission as a person sent from LAC for that purpose. Typically, these individuals are either on the LAC staff or are a part of its International Staff (a missionary).


Commissioning should be undertaken only after prayerful consideration, humble dedication, and adequate preparation. The calling implies the candidates' willingness to give themselves unreservedly to the work of the "high calling of God in Jesus Christ," bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and showing deep spirituality and Biblical ethical practices.

 

Commissioning Responsibilities. Within the CCCC the local church establishes policy and procedure for the commissioning. While the local church may suggest that a person undertake commissioning as a part of its responsibility to identify those who are gifted for service, it is the candidate's responsibility to formally initiate the process. The church then responds by executing its commissioning policy and procedures.


Policy Summary


The CCCC affirms the responsibility and authority of the local member church to consider and act on the commissioning of the Christian worker. The LAC Bylaws delegate policy and procedure for commissioning to its Ministry Council. The Personnel Committee of the Ministry Council manages day-to-day matters related to commissioning.

Commissioning of a Christian Worker at LAC involves the following elements:

  1. Normally a year or more of licensed ministry in or for LAC
  2. Formal Application to the LAC Ministry Council for commissioned status
  3. The preparation of a Commissioning Paper
  4. Examination of the candidate for commissioning by a committee appointed by the Ministry Council
  5. Formal induction of the candidate before the Congregation upon recommendation of the examining committee and action by the Ministry Council


Policy Statement


Authority to Commission


LAC is a member of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC). While it provides guidance, the CCCC acknowledges the authority and responsibility of its member churches to establish policy and procedure for commissioning. Consequently, this policy and its companion procedure have been designed with CCCC guidelines in mind, but LAC assumes responsibility and authority for their content.


The CCCC Constitution and Bylawspdf, Bylaw IV, Section 4.B.2 , indicate that a Commissioned Christian Worker must have "Acceptable commissioning by a local church into a particular Christian vocation, as determined by the Credentials Committee."


Article VI, Section 6, Paragraph c7 of the Bylaws of Lake Avenue Church assign the Ministry Council responsibility to "establish policy and procedure for the licensing, commissioning, and ordination of ministers and Christian workers." This policy is established under that authority.


Qualifications for Commissioned Christian Worker


A Commissioned Christian Worker at LAC must possess the following qualifications:

  1. Educational requirements and skills required to perform the assigned job description.
  2. Vocational call to be of service at LAC that involves the ministry of LAC.
  3. Affirm agreement with the LAC Statement of Faith
  4. Demonstrate a life which
    1. bears the fruit of the Spirit, marked by deep spirituality and the best of ethical practices. A candidate may be disqualified by habits or practices in life which do not glorify God, or which might cause any brother or sister in Christ to stumble.
    2. is consistent with the qualifications of spiritual leadership found in the Pastoral Epistles and specified for spiritual leadership in the LAC document entitled Spiritual Qualifications of Overseers, dated January 31, 2012.

The Commissioning Paper


LAC requires that candidates for Commissioned Christian Worker submit a commissioning paper as a part of the process. The paper will address five general categories:

  1. Personal Information, This includes typical curricula vitae, including name, family, work experience, educational preparedness, church experience, etc.
  2. Conversion and Spiritual Journey. This section includes the following:
    1. Circumstances of the candidate's conversion to become a follower of Jesus, personal recollections of whom first communicated the gospel and how God drew the candidate to repentance and faith. If the applicant is married, include the conversion experience of the spouse. If there are children, include an assessment of the children's spiritual condition.
    2. Evidences of conversion that are present in the candidate's life at this point in their journey with God.
    3. Things that have changed and are still changing in the candidate's life since coming to faith in Jesus.
    4. How the candidate presently deals with ongoing trials and temptations.
    5. Spiritual disciplines that have become a part of the candidate's growth toward becoming complete in Christ.
  3. Call to Vocational Church Ministry. In this section of the paper, the candidate presents a clear testimony of his or her call from God to serve at LAC or globally as a representative from LAC. Tell how others in the church have affirmed this call.
  4. Affirmation of Faith. In this section, candidates are required to write, in their own words, their affirmation of and commitment to each of the 10 articles in the LAC Statement of Faith.
    1. Each article of the Statement of Faith is quoted in the paper, single-spaced and bold, just prior to providing the written affirmation.
    2. The affirmation will communicate their understanding of the article, why it is meaningful to them, and how if at all it relates to the specifics of their calling.
  5. Practical Issues. The MC will assign several (2 - 5) specific cultural and practical issues they want the commissioning candidate to address concisely. These issues will pertain to issues that may arise in the job and how they might respond. The goal will be to determine the candidate's practical application of faith to life situations.

The paper should be no more than 20 pages in length, double-spaced, full justification (one inch margins), and utilize a twelve point readable font


It is recommended that candidates seek a mentor who can help with both the biblical and theological content as well as with the writing style and grammar of the paper.

The Commissioning Examination


A candidate for commissioning will be examined by a Ministry Council (MC) sub-committee convened for that examination.

Composition of the Examination Committee: The MC will form a committee to examine the candidate. This Examination Committee will be comprised of at least 2 ordained LAC members (one must be on LAC pastoral staff) and 3 Ministry Council members. Additional LAC members may be appointed by MC. The Church Chair will select one of the members to chair the committee.

Subjects of the Examination: In general, the commissioning examination will follow the outline of the commissioning paper. The focus of the examination will be

  • The candidate's personal and spiritual readiness and call to Christian service within LAC or as a global representative of LAC.
  • The candidate's response to questions centered on the LAC Statement of Faith.
  • The candidate's response to the practical issues identified by the LAC Ministry Council.

If the examination responses are not answered satisfactorily, the Examination Committee will inform the candidate and suggest what might be done for commissioning to be reconsidered.


Privileges and Duties Associated with Commissioning: Once the candidate is commissioned, the Certificate of Commissioning will identify the areas of sacerdotal duties and other duties granted. This may include but is not limited to performing marriages, funerals, dedications, baptism, communion, teaching, counseling, worship leader, administration and/or management of the ministry area. Other areas may be indicated as well on the commissioning certificate. The commissioned status for the approved duties remain in effect while the individual performs the role and job description under the authority of LAC.


Applicability


This Policy applies specifically to those who wish to be commissioned by LAC and to those within LAC leadership who are responsible in some way for implementing the LAC commissioning process. It also allows the congregation to understand what commissioning means and how it is achieved.


Definitions


Conservative Congregational Christian Conference: To paraphrase the Preamble to its Constitution and Bylaws, the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC) is an association of autonomous, congregationally governed churches of historic Biblical persuasion formed to assist in the threefold tasks of the worship of God, the edification of the saints, and the evangelization of the world.


Commissioned Christian Worker: The Commissioned Christian Worker has been called to serve in specific ministry roles within the local church (LAC) or its global mission as a person sent from LAC for that purpose. Typically, these individuals are either on the LAC staff or are a part of its International Staff (a missionary).


Credentialing: Credentialing is a generic term encompassing licensing, ordination /or commissioning.


Ordination: Ordination is the formal determination by the local church leadership of a person's call to and qualification for vocational church ministry; that is, to be a pastor.

 

LAC License: This is a formal recognition by LAC that the licensed individual intends to follow the ordination or commissioning process. The candidate declares on their application the path they have chosen.


Examination Committee: A group appointed by the LAC Ministry Council to examine a candidate for commissioning as a Christian worker and to make a recommendation to the LAC Ministry Council as to the qualification and readiness of the individual for commissioning.


Membership in the CCCC as a Commissioned Christian Worker: The CCCC Constitution and Bylaws provide for Commissioned Christian Workers to become individual Members of the Conference. Such membership not only grants the Worker the rights and privileges of participating in the operations of the Conference, but also endorses on a national and international scale his or her rights and privileges as a vocational church worker.


Cognizant Offices


The CCCC Bylaws assign responsibility and authority for commissioning Christian Workers to the local church. The LAC Bylaws assign responsibility and authority for commissioning to the LAC Ministry Council. The Ministry Council has delegated operational policy and procedure formulation and oversight to its Personnel Committee, while retaining responsibility for formal actions pertaining to commissioning. The LAC Executive Office supports the Personnel Committee in its operations. The LAC Executive Office should be contacted for informal interpretations, resolution of problems, and special situations related to this Policy. The Executive Office is the primary channel to the Personnel Committee for resolution or action recommendation.

 

Implementation Procedures


Implementation of this Policy is described in LAC Procedure MC 106, Commissioning of Christian Workers.

 

References

LAC Procedure MC 106, Commissioning of Christian Workers

LAC Bylaws (This document contains the LAC Statement of Faith.)

Constitution and By-Laws of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference

An Introduction to Credentialing of Ministers and Christian Workers at LAC

Spiritual Qualifications of Overseers

 

Related Documents

LAC Policy MC 101, Licensing of Ministers and Christian Workers

LAC Procedure MC 101, LIcensing of Ministers and Christian Workers

LAC Policy MC 102, Ordination of Ministers

LAC Procedure MC 102, Ordination of Ministers

 

Required Review Date


This Policy represents a complete rewrite of previous documents related to the ordination of ministers by LAC. For this reason, it should be reviewed after it has been used a few times. It is anticipated that this will occur in the first year. Therefore, this Procedure is scheduled for review on or before December 31, 2014.

 

Authorization

 

Authorized by Lake Avenue Church Ministry Council at its meeting on ___(date)___.

Approving Individual Name Approval Date
Senior Pastor Gregory Waybright  July 24, 2013
Church Chair on behalf of the Ministry Council David Powell  July 24, 2013

 

Revision History

 

Version Date Description Author
1989 Version December 21, 1989 Earlier Statement of Policy John Portis, Chair, Board of Deacons
Version 2.0  July 24, 2013 Complete rewrite Ella Lau, Chair, Personnel Committee of the Ministry Council



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