Ministerial education is designed to assist in the preparation of God-called ministers whose service is vital to the expansion and extension of the holiness message into new areas of evangelistic opportunity. We recognize the importance of a clear understanding of our mission “to make Christlike disciples in the nations” based on Christ’s commission to His Church in Matthew 28:19–20. Much of the preparation is primarily theological and biblical in character, leading toward ordination in the ministry of the Church of the Nazarene. The District Ministerial Studies Board shall determine the placement and evaluate the progress of each student in his or her validated course of study.
Fulfillment of Educational Foundations for Ordained Ministry. The Church of the Nazarene provides a variety of educational institutions and programs around the world. The resources of some global areas allow more than one program to be developed to provide the educational foundations for ministry. Each student is expected to take advantage of the most appropriate validated course of study provided by the Church in his or her area of the world. When not possible, the Church will utilize as much flexibility in delivery systems as feasible to prepare every person called by God to ministry in the Church. A validated course of study, directed and supervised by the District Ministerial Studies Board, and college/seminary programs, developed by the educational institutions, may be used. They should cover the same general standards as outlined in the International Sourcebook on Developmental Standards for Ordination and the regional Sourcebook on Ordination. When a licensed minister satisfactorily completes a validated course of study, the education provider shall issue a certificate of completion to the licensed minister. The licensed minister shall present the certificate of completion to the District Ministerial Studies Board responsible for considering recommendation to the district assembly for graduation from a validated course of study.
Cultural Adaptations for the Educational Foundations for Ordained Ministry. The variety of cultural contexts around the world makes one curriculum unsuited for all global areas. Each region of the world will develop specific curricular requirements, providing the educational foundations for ministry in a way that reflects the resources and the expectations of that global area. Approval of the International Course of Study Advisory Committee, the General Board, and the Board of General Superintendents (527.5) will be required before implementing a regionally designed program. Even within global regions there are varieties of cultural expectations and resources. As a result, cultural sensitivity and flexibility will characterize regional provisions for the educational foundations for ministry, which shall be directed and supervised by the District Ministerial Studies Board. Cultural adaptations of each region’s program for providing educational foundations for ministry will be approved by Global Clergy Development and the International Course of Study Advisory Committee in consultation with the regional educational coordinator.
General Curriculum Areas for Ministerial Preparation. Though curriculum is often thought of only as academic programs and course content the concept is much larger. The character of the instructor, the relationship of the students and instructor, the environment, and students’ past experiences join with the course content to create the full curriculum. Nevertheless, a curriculum for ministerial preparation will include a minimal set of courses that provide educational foundations for ministry. Cultural differences and a variety of resources will require differing details in curriculum structures. However, all programs for providing educational foundations for the ordained ministry that seek approval by Global Clergy Development should give careful attention to content, competency, character, and context. The purpose of a validated course of study is to contain courses that include all four elements in varying degrees and that will help ministers fulfill the mission statement of the Church of the Nazarene as agreed upon by the Board of General Superintendents as follows:
“The mission of the Church of the Nazarene is to make Christlike disciples in the nations.”
“The primary objective of the Church of the Nazarene is to advance God’s Kingdom by the preservation and propagation of Christian holiness as set forth in the Scriptures.”
“The critical objectives of the Church of the Nazarene are ‘holy Christian fellowship, the conversion of sinners, the entire sanctification of believers, their upbuilding in holiness, and the simplicity and spiritual power manifest in the primitive New Testament Church, together with the preaching of the gospel to every creature’” (19).
A validated course of study is described in the following categories:
- Content—Knowledge of the content of the Old and New Testaments, the theology of the Christian faith, and the history and mission of the Church is essential for ministry. Knowledge of how to interpret Scripture, the doctrine of holiness and our Wesleyan distinctives, and the history and polity of the Church of the Nazarene must be included in these courses.
- Competency—Skills in oral and written communication; management and leadership; finance; and analytical thinking are also essential for ministry. In addition to general education in these areas courses providing skills in preaching, pastoral care and counseling, biblical exegesis, worship, effective evangelism, biblical stewardship of life resources, Christian education and Church administration must be included. Graduation from a validated course of study requires the partnering of the educational provider and a local church to direct students in ministerial practices and competency development.
- Character—Personal growth in character, ethics, spirituality, and personal and family relationship is vital for the ministry. Courses addressing the areas of Christian ethics, spiritual formation, human development, the person of the minister, and marriage and family dynamics must be included.
- Context—The minister must understand both the historical and contemporary context and interpret the worldview and social environment of the culture where the Church witnesses. Courses that address the concerns of anthropology and sociology, cross-cultural communication, missions, and social studies must be included.
Preparation for the ordained ministry pursued in non-Nazarene schools or under non-Nazarene auspices shall be evaluated by the District Ministerial Studies Board in conformity with the curricular requirements stated in a Sourcebook on Ordination developed by the region/language group.
All courses, academic requirements, and official administrative regulations shall be in a regional Sourcebook on Ordination developed by the region/language group in cooperation with Global Clergy Development. This regional Sourcebook with necessary revisions shall be endorsed by the International Course of Study Advisory Committee and approved by Global Clergy Development, the General Board, and the Board of General Superintendents. The Sourcebook shall be in compliance with the Manual and with the International Sourcebook on Developmental Standards for Ordination, produced by Global Clergy Development with the International Course of Study Advisory Committee. The International Course of Study Advisory Committee shall be appointed by the Board of General Superintendents.
Once a minister has fulfilled the requirements of a validated course of study for ministry, he or she will continue a pattern of lifelong learning to enhance the ministry to which God has called him or her. A minimum expectation is 20 hours of lifelong learning each year or the equivalent determined by the region/language group and stated in their regional Sourcebook on Ordination. All assigned and unassigned licensed and ordained ministers shall report on their progress in a program of lifelong learning as part of their report to the district assembly. An up-to-date report on his or her lifelong learning program will be used in the church/pastoral review process and in the process of calling a pastor. The regional Sourcebook on Ordination for the region/language group will contain the details of the accrediting and reporting process.
Failure to complete these requirements for more than two consecutive years shall result in the ordained minister being required to meet with the District Ministerial Studies Board at their regular meeting time. The Ministerial Studies Board shall give guidance to the minister in completing the lifelong learning required. (115, 123, 514.12, 536.15)
General guidelines for preparation for Christian ministry are:
A validated course of study, together with the necessary procedures concerning their completion for those seeking a credential as elder and deacon or certification in categories and roles of ministry, are to be found in the regional Sourcebook on Ordination.