By Dr. Randal S. Langley, President
It's 2022, and sadly, there is a lot of confusion surrounding the issue of licensing and ordination for ministers. To take it one step further, the issue is really about LEGAL licensing and ordination as outlined by the IRS. All it takes is a simple "how to become ordained" internet search, and you will discover millions of search results! While some of this information is accurate and helpful, there is a lot of misinformation as well.
Christian Life School of Theology Global (CLSTG) offers a pathway for legal ministry credentials for qualified individuals, and we want to ensure that this process is clear for everyone. Here is a brief review of this topic.
1) What is ministry licensing/ordination?
Many do not understand that there is both a spiritual AND a legal aspect to legal licensing/ordination. It's first and foremost spiritual in the sense that God himself is the one that calls men and women into positions of ministry and leadership. It is a precious and significant moment in the life of the one receiving their ministry credentials. Yet, for legal (and we must stress the term "legal") licensing/ordination to take place, there are certain essential provisions that need to be taken into consideration.
2) Where can I get ministry licensing/ordination credentials?
There is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to obtaining ministry credentials. Many people are accustomed to receiving licensing/ordination under the leadership of a local church. Others have received their credentials through a denomination or ministry entity. Some have even gone the route of online ministry licensing/ordination programs; this can be good and bad. You must educate on the pitfalls of what is referred to as online licensing/ordination mills where there is little or no accountability. This is a danger that can and has jeopardized people's credentials.
3) What should I look for in a ministry licensing/ordination organization?
IRS language, along with applicable court cases, has determined that one holding licensing/ordination credentials should demonstrate responsibility and integrity, including possessing some educational qualifications. There are several areas of consideration:
- Is there a formal process established for licensing/ordination?
- Is the licensing/ordination process deliberate and responsible?
- Has specific language been incorporated and approved by the IRS stating authorization to offer licensing/ordination?
- Has the organization, church, etc., established a specific set of criteria to be met by the licensing/ordination applicant? These might include a formal application and fee, classes/courses of study, an established licensing/ordination expiration and renewal date, a record-keeping process, and alignment with the organization's statement of faith.
- All licensing/ordination credential holders must maintain an accountable relationship by requiring a report of annual activities and standards of conduct.
You can have confidence in CLSTG. Our licensing/ordination program is designed to abide by government standards and enable leaders like you to access the tools necessary to meet your ministry goals and needs. We are committed to helping Kingdom-minded leaders fulfill their calling and reach their full potential.
To learn more about our CLST Global licensing/ordination opportunity, please complete our brief interest form.