Church of God Ohio (COGO) Ministries serves as the central authority for credentials processing in Ohio. Resources are available for Credentials Candidates, persons entering into the credentialing process, as well as for District Credentials Committees who oversee the licensing and ordination of individuals throughout the credentialing process.
What are ministerial credentials?
Every Christian disciple has a ministry, and all who are called to ministry should be held accountable. Ministerial credentialing, however, relates to particular vocational calls and carries with it both recognition and accountability.
Credentials are covenantal; to accept such credentials is to become accountable to the established credentialing body of the appropriate area assembly. While most ministries reserved for the laity of the church do not require formal recognition as a means of establishing accountability, ministries practiced by clergy persons usually do.
Credentialing in the Church of God movement may take the form of ordination or licensing. Each requires that certain qualifications be met for ministry requirements and accountability. It is the responsibility of the appropriate credentialing body to determine whether or not a minister is qualified for credentialing, and if so, when and at what level.
Evidence of certain spiritual prerequisites may be required by a credentialing committee in order for a prospective ministerial candidate to initiate pursuit of appropriate credentials. Such prerequisites include, but are not limited to:
- Salvation – as evidenced by a holy lifestyle
- Evidence of the call of God – a divine appointment to Christian ministry
- A demonstrated need for vocational credentials
- Fellowship and involvement in a local congregation of the Church of God movement
- Demonstrated knowledge and understanding through use of the Bible Content Discovery Survey
Because there are varieties of ministry, there are varieties of credentialing. Those who are ordained or licensed receive such certification because they have been “set apart” for a ministry that requires a more extensive involvement and a special gifting by the Holy Spirit.
Credentialing at whatever level signifies a covenant relationship between…
- the minister and the credentialing body
- the minister and ministerial peers
- the minister and the church at large
- the minister and the local church being served
- The minister and God.
Assuring the integrity of each of these covenant relationships rests on patterns of mutual accountability (Credentials Manual of the Church of God, 2019 revised edition, pp. 17-22).
Licensing is a second level of credentialing, one that acknowledges a minister’s call to the Christian ministry and a corresponding commitment to vocational involvement. Licensing affords a limited measure of recognition and accountability. While it may serve as a step toward ordination, licensing should not be viewed as the promise of ordination. Licensing often satisfies legal requirements, as well as requirements imposed by such institutions as hospitals, nursing homes, and jails when these provide opportunities for pastoral care.
Credentialing bodies may license ministers for terms of one or two years, at their discretion, depending on circumstances and the qualifications of the minister. A license is given on the condition of an annual review by the credentialing body. It may be voided by action of the credentialing body if deemed advisable. It may be renewed if the credentialing body judges the minister worthy of such continuing credentialing (Credentials Manual of the Church of God, 2019 revised edition, p. 18).
Ordination, the final step of vocational credentialing, recognizes a minister’s call and vocational commitment to the Christian ministry. It provides for accountability to the appropriate credentialing body and also satisfies certain legal requirements of the state or province. Ordination usually is needed by persons who serve as leaders of local congregations, in institutional ministries, missionary endeavors, and certain other formal capacities. Ordination is to be granted only when it is strategic to performance of vocational ministry to which one is called, and when its recipient is found suitable for ordination by virtue of divine call, appropriate character, spirit, commitment, preparation, beliefs, and performance (Credentials Manual of the Church of God, 2019 revised edition, p. 18).
QUALIFICATIONS FOR CREDENTIALING VOCATIONAL CHRISTIAN MINISTERS:
Credentialing vocational Christian ministers occurs at three levels. Such credentialing must always rest on the condition that certain personal and professional expectations have been met. Indiscriminate credentialing practices only bring reproach on the ministry and harm to the church. The credentialing body, therefore, must be aware of the essential qualifications that give evidence of a person’s fitness for Christian ministry, and know how to determine that a candidate possesses these qualifications.
The crucial qualifications for vocational ministry are divided into six categories. No one of these should be considered less essential than another. To be unqualified in even one area is to be unqualified for the ministry and hence, for vocational credentialing.
- The Motivational Qualification – Credentialing is for those who are inwardly convinced that God has singled them out for vocational Christian ministry.
- The Moral and Ethical Qualification – Credentialing is for those whose character and reputation are worthy of Christian ministers.
- The Theological and Biblical Qualification – Credentialing is for those who possess a well-developed and scripturally valid belief system and whose lives give indication of the assimilation of that belief system.
- The Dispositional and Relational Qualification – Credentialing is for those whose personal disposition is consistently in keeping with that expected of a representative of Jesus Christ and the Church.
- The Educational Qualification – Credentialing is for those who are committed to adequate education for the ministerial profession.
- The Vocational Qualification – Credentialing is for those who are peers in position and performance of those who are vocationally or bi-vocationally engaged in the professional Christian ministry.
(Credentials Manual of the Church of God, 2007 revised edition, segments from 2019 revised edition, pp. 23-35)
What to Expect From Our New Online Credentialing Process, also known as The Leadership Focus
This credentialing process is designed to last three years, broken into six six-month modules, each focusing on a core area of ministry and leadership development.
You will begin with the application process, where you will fill out a registration form on the Leadership Focus website. After your registration has been received, you will receive, via email, and application for Credentials from the Credentailing Coordinator. In this application process, you will also complete a number of assessments that will help you and your District Credentials Team understand your personal strengths as well as your ministry strengths. The results from these assessments will be more fully discussed with you in upcoming modules. Once your application is received, you will be invited to meet with your District Credentials Team. They are responsible for reviewing your application information and getting familiar with you and your call to ministry. They determine when it is appropriate to license and recomend for ordination candidates in their district. District Team approval is necessary to move into Module Two.
Following your completed application and meeting with your District Committee, you will be approved in the Leadership Focus website and you will be ready to enter your first online module, Competencies. In this module, you will be introduced to your first cluster, a group of candidates who will journey with you. Our hope is that this cluster will provide community, relationships, and support as you continue in your growth and development.
Each module will be hosted by a coach, who will lead you through guided webex training calls, designed to be an interactive teaching platform and allow for dynamic question and answer sessions.
You will be expected to participate in each call. You will also be expected to fulfill each module’s unique requirements, including reading assignments, responses to video resources, and additional evaluations designed to:
- Provide your coach and Credentials Team an accurate picture of where you are in your ministry.
- Provide you with a saved history at the end of your credentialing process from which you can view your own spiritual and ministerial growth, as well as apply what you have taken from each module as you write your final Life and Ministry Plan.
The six modules will focus on, in order:
Commencement, Competencies, Character, Confessions, Connectivity & Celebrations.
You will be expected to meet with your District Credentials Team after modules one, four, and six to continue your progress towards credentialing.
COGO Ministries underwrites a portion of this experience. The candidate’s financial responsibility help cover coaching fees, the development of our unique resources, on-line hosting, and administrative costs. Each module must be paid in full before you can be assigned to a cluster. The fee schedule is below:
Application fee is $25.
Module One: $275 (Additional Assessment Costs in this module, as well as background check costs are what make this module unique in price.)
Module Two through Module Six: $150 – over the course of 2 1⁄2 years = $750
The total cost for 3 years is $1050 which is an investment of approximately $29 a month.
COGO Ministries encourages churches to show their support for credentials candidates in their congregations by providing assistance with these Module fees.
Click here to begin the application process
Credentials Manual 2019
Steps for Transferring Credentials (Inter-Assembly Transfer)
Ministerial credentials (commission, license, ordination) are maintained by the state in which you were originally credentialed and are to be transferred to the state in which you are serving in ministry.
Use the form below to send your information to Church of God Ohio Ministries (COGO). You will receive a confirmation of the information by email that can be forwarded or mailed as needed to other entities.
Whether you are moving into the state of Ohio or are moving from Ohio to another state, it is your responsibility as a minister in the Church of God movement to take the initiative to transfer your credentials. It’s easy to do this!
First, notify the credentials chairperson in the state or region you are leaving and request in writing a transfer of credentials to your new assembly. The contact information for your state’s credential chair can be found in the current Church of God Yearbook.
Second, notify your new assembly credentials chairperson of your arrival and provide them with your new contact information. Their contact information can also be found in the current Church of God Yearbook.
Third, any changes in your contact information, whether physical or email address, please log into your CHOG 24/7 account and update your information. If you do not have a CHOG 24/7 account, call 800 848-2464 and ask for customer service.
Failure to obtain an Inter-Assembly Transfer from your previous Assembly Credentials Chairperson could result in being omitted from the Church of God Yearbook. It is critical that you contact your assembly credentials office immediately upon moving to complete your move/transfer process.
Transferring Credentials Request Form