The United Church of Christ recognizes that God calls certain of its members to various forms of ministry in and on behalf of the church, for which ecclesiastical authorization is required. (UCC Constitution, Article VI Paragraph 21) According to the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ, authorization includes Ordination, Commissioning, and Licensure.
The Leadership and Ministry webpages centrally locate the resources needed for the excellent formation and support of authorized ministers in the United Church of Christ. Herein are tools for authorized ministers, for individuals discerning God’s call into ministry, for Committees on Ministry that bear out the denomination’s covenantal relationship with ministers, and for Associations, Conferences, churches and organizations that partner with authorized ministers in building up the body of Christ.
In the national setting, the active engagement of United Church of Christ polity regarding authorized ministry is tasked to the Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization Team (MESA). If authorized ministry is a table, MESA attends to the table’s settings and resources those who gather at the table: Committees on Ministry, Association and Conference staff, congregations and organizations searching for ministerial leadership, Members in Discernment, and authorized ministers themselves serving in varied ministry settings.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
The Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers is a tool for discernment and assessment, created especially for use by Members in Discernment, Committees on Ministry, and authorized ministers. The Marks developed through conversations surrounding the Ministry Issues Pronouncement of General Synod 25, which sought to expand UCC definitions of learnedness and leadership in authorized ministry and to emphasize excellence in ministerial formation.
It's important to note that the Marks, available in multiple formats and languages below, is not a checklist or report card, in which one strives to receive a perfect grade in every category. Rather, the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers provides a lens for reflecting upon a person's formation, gifts and growth both before authorization and throughout one's ministry.
Additional resources specific to authorized ministers in the United Church of Christ include: Grants for Personal and Vocational Crises distributed through the Pension Boards; Interim Ministry Guidelines; Information Review Form (a tool for maintaining one's standing through intentional communication with one's local Committee on Ministry); Faith and Wisdom (a searchable database of ecumenical Protestant opportunities for continuing education).
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
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
Glossary of Terms
Letter from the Habakkuk Group
As of February 2019, the following resources are regularly being published and uploaded. MESA anticipates that all Section 3 resources for the 2018 Manual on Ministry will be available on this site by Summer 2019.
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.