United Church of Christ

Manual on Ministry

A Guide to Authorizing Ministry in the United Church of Christ

The role of the Manual on Ministry (MOM) in the United Church of Christ is to serve as a living guide, a grounding perspective, and a resource for shared expectations in the essential ministry of Committees on Ministry.

The Manual on Ministry is maintained by the Ministerial Excellence, Support, and Authorization (MESA) Team. The 2018 edition of MOM is available in PDF, and hard copies of the new edition can be purchased through UCC Resources.

The Manual on Ministry includes the following sections and articles:

Section 1: Theological Grounding
Covenantal Polity
Theology of Ministry and Ordination
Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers
Ministry of Committees on Ministry

Section 2: Ministerial Authorization
Article 1: Members in Discernment
Article 2: Ordained Ministers from Ecumenical Bodies
Article 3: Ordained Ministerial Standing
Article 4: Lay Ministerial Standing
Article 5: Calls, Covenants, and Endorsements
Article 6: Accountability and Support

Section 3: Resources for Committees on Ministry
Online Resources
Glossary of Terms
Letter from the Habakkuk Group


The following resources, templates, and best practices of the Manual on Ministry’s Section 3 are updated, amended, added to or subtracted from, by the MESA Team in order to support faithful and effective Committees on Ministry. These resources are dated and identified specifically as MESA- or MOM-related resources. Additional materials that are not specific to MESA may be linked as relevant references for understanding the Manual on Ministry and the polity of the United Church of Christ.

Resources for Section 1: Theology of Authorized Ministry
Resources for Section 1: Ministry of Committees on Ministry
Resources for Section 2 Article 1: Members in Discernment
  • Local Church Discernment Committee best practices
  • Member in Discernment application form
  • Sample Outline of Discernment Expectations
  • Discernment Travelogue
  • Psychological Assessments best practices
  • Member in Discernment Advisor best practices
  • Sample Preparation and Formation Plan (multiple paths)
  • Sample outlines of Portfolio Presentations and Ordination Papers
  • Best practices for Ecclesiastical Councils
  • Sample Ordination Interview
Resources for Section 2 Article 2: Ecumenically Ordained Ministers
Resources for Section 2 Article 3: Ordained Ministerial Standing
Resources for Section 2 Article 4: Lay Ministerial Standing
  • Transitional Discussion Guide for Committees on Ministry with current Licensed Ministers and Commissioned Ministers
  • Lay Ministerial Standing Application
  • Sample Covenant for Member in Discernment with Lay Ministerial Standing
  • Sample Liturgy for Local Commissioning
Resources for Section 2 Article 5: Calls, Covenants, and Endorsements
  • Guidelines for Discerning an Ordainable Call
  • Guidelines for Discerning an Authorizable Call
  • Three-Way Covenant template
  • Four-Way Covenant template
  • Understanding Ordination vs. Endorsement
  • Endorsement Guidelines for Chaplain Candidate Program
  • Endorsement Guidelines for Professional Organizations
  • Endorsement Guidelines for Federal Government Chaplaincy
  • Guidelines for Transfer of Endorsement
Resources for Section 2 Article 6: Accountability and Support

For reference, the 1986/2002 edition of the Manual on Ministry remains available online in ten sections: Partners in Authorizing Ministry, Student in Care of Association, Ordained Ministry, Dual Standing and Privilege of Call, Ordained Ministerial Partner, Commissioned Ministry, Licensed Ministry, The Oversight of Ministries, Ecclesiastical Endorsement, and Supplemental Materials.