When we follow Jesus Christ, we are invited to join his work in making the world more like heaven. The question is how are we called to serve, not if. God knows what you can do, God knows what you cannot do alone, and God knows what those around you need.
Think Carefully About Who You Are
What are you good at? What issues make you most passionate? What do others tell you that you are good at? Affirming the gifts and talents of others, so they may see what God is calling them to do, is as important in community as asking what we ourselves are called to do. There is no skill or passion that cannot be used to help others!
Ask Honestly, Where Am I
Where are you can mean literal geography, but it may also mean your current financial situation, your current health, your current family obligations. We have times in our life where have more extra money than extra time; we have times we have more free time than extra money. God knows that. Are you free to travel the world, or do you need to stay local?
What Are the Needs Around Me
From a leaky sink in a church kitchen to world peace, there is alway a need where we can be a blessing. Be attentive to what others need.
As we prayerfully sort these questions, asking for God to guide us, and listening to those in our life who know us and our communities well, we find what God may be asking and empowering us each to do today. The scale of the world's challenges is too much for any one person. But God does not ask each individual to make the world better, God invites us, together.
1 Peter 2:5a (NRSVA)
Inside the word "commissioned" we see "mission." Commissioned ministers lead locally for a specific time and a specific ministry. Commissioned ministers may be volunteer, part-time, or full-time. They serve at the invitation of the local community and with the blessing of the national church. The status of commissioning may be renewed, but it is not transferable to other ministries. Commissioning allows both the ministers and the church to respond quickly to needs. A commissioned minister is expected to continue their pastoral training, follows the same ethical expectations of our ordained ministers, and may or may not be pursuing ordained ministry.
Ordained ministers are called to a lifetime of leadership and service. They are expected to have significant training and experience, usually requiring a master of divinity degree. Ordained ministers are ordinarily local congregational pastors, but can also be found as chaplains in the military, hospitals, or schools, as denominational leaders, as religion professors, or directing "secular" nonprofits with a strong sense of God's calling upon that work. Even those who are not currently working in a congregation remain ordained ministers, and are expected to maintain the same ethical standards and continuing education of those currently employed.
Ordained ministry qualifies leaders for certain jobs, but it is a calling on one's life, not just a job. The path to ordination is long and both academically and spiritually rigorous. We strive to support those who pursue this call, of course! In most instances, ordained ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada would be eligible to accept leadership in other countries' Disciples congregations, in the United Church of Canada, and the United Church of Christ.
We celebrate the culmination of this process with an ordination service, a joyful time of the whole church affirming someone's gifts and call.
For those active in a Disciples congregation, the first step is to talk to your own pastor.
As a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world, we acknowledge that Jesus has called disciples to leadership beyond our community and our structures.
We would usually not "re-ordain" someone who has already been ordained, but to issue our credentials, which we call "standing", someone from another tradition would be expected to meet the same educational and competency requirements as someone ordained by us and agree to our ethics and continuing education requirements. The process is simplest for those from the US regions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and our Full Communion partners, the United Church of Christ and the United Church of Canada, but we are open meeting and getting to know leaders of any Christian tradition. We would want to learn more about why the minister feels called to our church and make sure they have taken time to truly understand our culture and ethos, for their own spiritual wellbeing as much as for ours.
As a passionately ecumenical movement, we are generally very welcoming to allowing clergy to have standing or credentials in multiple denominations, especially since so many of our own ministries are in partnership with other traditions. A minister seeking standing with us should verify that their other tradition will accept their departure or their dual status as the minister intends, as we have no control over another denomination's policy.
The first step to explore this is to contact the National Pastor, Rev. Jean-Daniel O'Donncada (email@example.com) with a letter of introduction explaining your interest in our church and your CV, including ordination history and education.