The credentialing of Church of God ministers is a ministry formation process. In this process, the church partners with the individual to help the individual develop the abilities to fulfill his/her divine call and place of ministry. This developmental journey occurs through personal discovery, education, training, and becoming a credentialed minister in the Church of God.
Following are the programs which are the primary means for completing this ministry formation process:
1. Calling and Ministry Studies (CAMS). CAMS consists of two sections: seminars and individual study. The purposes of the seminars are (a) to identify how an individual knows he/she has a divine call, (b) to explain what the meaning and practices of ministry are, and (c) to help the applicant determine what his/her divine call is and understand what ministry is. The seminars are attended by both applicant and spouse.
The CAMS applicant completes three Certificate in Ministerial Studies (CIMS) courses through individual study. In addition, the applicant writes three papers on the following: His/her calling into the ministry, his/her view of ministry, and his/her ministry identity. The spouse writes a paper on his/her calling into ministry and a paper on his/her view of ministry.
An individual who desires to enroll in CAMS must first enter the licensure process by completing aNew Minister/Calling and Ministry Studies (CAMS)/Exhorter Application and submitting to a background check. After successful completion of CAMS and recommendation by the Ministerial Development Board, one is ready to purchase an Exhorter Study Guide and is eligible to test for Exhorter credentials.
2. Ministerial Internship Program (MIP). MIP provides intensive training under the direction of a supervising pastor for a period of eight months. During the training period, the candidate and spouse follow a daily schedule of spiritual, academic, and physical assignments. This involves completion of four independent study courses. The training also includes eight seminars, periodic evaluations, examinations for the independent study courses, personal counseling, and supervised ministry experience under a mentor.
At the conclusion of the training period, MIP candidates are commissioned and awarded a certificate of completion from Ministerial Development/School of Ministry. All students who successfully complete MIP will also receive 16 hours of credit from the School of Ministry. These CIMS credits may be transferred upon enrollment in any Church of God undergraduate college or university.
An Exhorter desiring to advance to the rank of Ordained Minister must complete an Ordained Minister/Ministerial Internship Program (MIP) Application. After successful completion of MIP, one is ready to purchase an Ordained Minister Study Guide and is eligible to test for Ordained Minister credentials.
The licensure process of Church of God ministers is a formation process. In this process, the denomination partners with individuals in order to help them to fulfill their divine call and place of ministry.
Calling And Ministry Studies (CAMS) helps the applicants determine if they are called to clergy ministry, as well as providing knowledge about ministry.
There are two sections in CAMS—seminars and individual study. The three seminars, which are attended by both the applicants and their spouses, provide tools so that the applicants can identify if they are called to clergy ministry. The seminars also offer an explanation of the Christian ministry.
The individual study includes conducting personal devotions about the divine call and ministry, studying about the divine call and ministry, and writing papers about their calling and understanding of ministry.
The spouses will attend the three seminars and will write the papers about their calling and understanding of ministry.
If people are interested in enrolling in CAMS, they are to talk with their pastor. The pastor will contact the state office for the application.
The Ministerial Internship Program was implemented throughout the United States in 1978. In 1982, the MIP was mandated by the General Assembly as a requirement for advancement from exhorter rank to the status of ordained minister.
Currently, the MIP has been expanded to eighty-one countries and translated into eighteen languages. The underlying philosophy of the MIP has always been to provide ministerial preparation by practical training on the local-church level, combined with academic self-study and monthly training seminars, focusing on vital topics for spiritual leadership and ministerial effectiveness.
The purposes for MIP are . . .
- Give the minister and spouse practical training and experience at the local-church level under th supervision of a pastor.
- Develop the scriptural discipline of submission (Romans 13:1 and Hebrews 13:17)
- Provide commitment between the Church of God and the minister
- Develop in ministers the proper attitudes toward the church, the ministry, fellow ministers, and the people whom they serve
- Assist new ministers in discovering their own talents and styles for evangelistic outreach, pastoral reponsibilities, other areas of ministry, and for determining further training needs.
The MIP is comprised of three parts: (1) Studies on the Bible, doctrine, and leadership; (2) a supervised practicum with a pastor; and (3) eight monthly seminars. The studies are completed through individual study by using the Internet study venue or the DVD study venue. MIP candidates are assigned to supervising pastors who will provide knowledge about ministry and give opportunity to develop skills for ministry during a supervised practicum. The assignments of MIP candidates to supervising pastors are made on the basis of personal training needs, geographical factors, and availability. The eight monthly seminars cover a range of materials that address ministry topics and issues. The seminars complement and add to the experience of the supervised practicum.
During the MIP, the candidates and spouses follow a daily schedule of spiritual, study, and physical assignments. These involve the completion of studies, the supervised practicum, the eight seminars, and evaluations by the supervising pastor, as well as interviews at the monthly seminars.
To apply for MIP, contact the state office.
SPECIALIZATIONS IN THE MINISTERIAL INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
In an effort to broaden the ministerial training experience, specializations in ministries will be offered in the MIP. The specializations are (1) assistant pastor ministry, (2) chaplaincy, (3) children’s ministry, (4) Christian education ministry, (5) church planting, and (6) youth ministry. If applicants want to specialize in one of these ministries, they should contact the state MIP coordinator in their states.
Becoming an Exhorter
A person who feels called to become a credentialed minister in the Church of God should discuss his/her calling with his/her pastor and ask the pastor to contact the state office. Upon receipt of the request from the pastor, a New Minister/Calling and Ministry Studies (CAMS)/Exhorter Application will be mailed from the state office to the pastor.
As part of the application process, the individual desiring credentials must submit to a background check. Upon receipt of the completed application and the $40.00 background check fee, the state office will send the paperwork to International Offices and ask them to initiate the background check. The background check may take from six to eight weeks.
Please Note: If either the applicant or spouse has had a previous marriage, additional paperwork will have to be completed, and the couple will be required to meet with the Licensure Review Committee prior to initiation of the background check.
After the state office receives background check approval from International Offices, the applicant (and spouse) will be eligible to begin the CAMS program. Click here for information regarding CAMS.
After completion of CAMS, and upon recommendation of the Ministerial Development Board, the candidate will be ready to purchase an Exhorter Study Guide and will be eligible to take the Exhorter exam.
Becoming an Ordained Minister
An Exhorter who desires to advance to the rank of Ordained Minister should contact the state office and request an Ordained Minister/Ministerial Internship Program (MIP) Application. Click here for information regarding MIP.
After successful completion of MIP, the individual will be ready to purchase an Ordained Minister Study Guide and will be eligible to take the Ordained Minister exam.
Becoming an Ordained Bishop
An Ordained Minister may advance to the rank of Ordained Bishop when he is twenty-five (25) years of age, provided he has had at least eight (8) years of active ministry, or when he is thirty (30) years of age, provided he has had at least five (5) years of active ministry, if he is otherwise qualified.
A person who meets the above qualifications may contact the state office for an Ordained Bishop Application.
A background check is required prior to advancing to the next rank of ministry; however, each person pays only one $40.00 fee.
The School of Ministry (SOM) is a nontraditional educational initiative, created to serve ministers and laity who have a strong desire to minister within the church and larger community.
The mission of the School of Ministry is to provide education and training for enrichment and service in a contemporary society. All course work may be taken for CIMS credit or personal enrichment.
The study material is available to everyone regardless of denominational affiliation.
The School of Ministry offers a course of study that leads to a Certificate In Ministerial Studies (CIMS). For more information about the CIMS program that the School of Ministry offers click here.