A local minister is a lay member of the Church of the Nazarene whom the local church board has licensed for ministry, under the pastor’s direction, and as opportunity affords, thus providing for the demonstration, employment, and development of ministerial gifts and usefulness. He or she is entering into a process of lifelong learning.
Any member of the Church of the Nazarene who feels called of God to preach or to pursue lifetime ministry through the church may be licensed as a local minister for one year by the church board of a local church having an ordained minister as pastor, upon the pastor’s recommendation; or by the church board of a local church not having an ordained minister as pastor, if the granting of license is recommended by the pastor and approved by the district superintendent. The candidate must first be examined as to his or her personal experience of salvation, knowledge of the doctrines of the Bible, and the order of the church; he or she must also demonstrate that the call is evidenced by grace, gifts, and usefulness. A local minister shall make a report to the local church at its annual church meetings. (113.9, 129.12, 208.12)
The church board shall issue to each local minister a license signed by the pastor and the secretary of the church board. Where a church is supplied by a person who does not have a district license, that person may be issued a local minister’s license, or the renewal of license, by the District Advisory Board upon the recommendation of the district superintendent. (208.12, 222.11)
The license of a local minister may be renewed by a local church board having an elder as pastor, upon the recommendation of the pastor; or renewed by a local church board not having an elder as pastor, provided that the renewal of license is recommended by the pastor and approved by the district superintendent. (129.12, 208.12)
Local ministers shall pursue a validated course of study for ministers under the direction of the District Ministerial Studies Board. Local license cannot be renewed after two years without the written approval of the district superintendent if the local minister has not completed at least two courses in the required studies in a validated course of study.
A local minister, having served in that relation for at least one full year, and having passed the necessary studies, may be recommended by the church board to the district assembly for minister’s license; but, if not received, he or she shall sustain his or her former relation. (129.12, 527, 530.1)
A local minister shall not be eligible to administer the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and shall not officiate at marriages. (530.7)
A licensed minister is one whose ministerial calling and gifts have been formally recognized by the district assembly through the granting of a ministerial license. The district license authorizes and appoints the minister to a larger sphere of service and to greater rights and responsibilities than those pertaining to a local minister, normally as a step toward ordination as an elder or a deacon. The district ministerial license shall include a statement indicating whether the minister is preparing for ordination as an elder or a deacon or a district license not leading to ordination. (530.7)
When members of the Church of the Nazarene acknowledge a call to a lifetime of ministry, they may be licensed as ministers by the district assembly provided they:
- have held a local minister’s license for one full year;
- have completed one-fourth of a validated course of study for ministers, or have passed the Nazarene history and polity courses and five additional courses in a validated course of study for ministers;
- have been recommended for such work by the church board of the local church of which they are members, to which recommendation shall be attached the Application for Minister’s License carefully filled in;
- have given evidence of grace, gifts, and usefulness;
- have been carefully examined, under the direction of the district assembly of the district within the bounds of which they hold their church membership, regarding their spiritual, intellectual, and other fitness for such work, including appropriate background checks as determined by the District Advisory Board;
- have promised to pursue immediately a validated course of study prescribed for licensed ministers and candidates for ordination;
- have had any disqualification, which may have been imposed by a district assembly, removed by an explanation in writing by the district superintendent and the District Advisory Board of the district where the disqualification was imposed; and provided further that their marriage relationship does not render them ineligible for a district license; and
- in case of a previous divorce, the recommendation of the District Ministerial Credentials Board along with supporting documents will be given to the Board of General Superintendents, which may remove this as a barrier to pursuing a license. (30.1–30.3, 129.14, 205.6, 529.5)
If enrolled in a Nazarene college/university or seminary, the minister must have completed one-fourth of a validated college/university or college/university-seminary course of study for ministry, or have completed one-fourth of a validated district or regional training center curriculum. Exceptions to this requirement may be made by the District Ministerial Credentials Board provided the candidate is pastoring an organized church and is registered in a system of approved studies, and provided the candidate annually fulfills the minimum amount of studies required by the Manual for the renewal of a license, and provided the district superintendent approves the exception.
In the case where a background check reveals criminal misconduct prior to one’s salvation, this fact should not be interpreted by the District Ministerial Credentials Board as automatically excluding the applicant from credentialed ministry, except under the provisions of paragraph 538.9.