While the International Fellowship of Bible Churches, Inc. recognizes that the responsibility for ministering the Gospel to other human beings lies with every Christian, it also recognizes and holds that Christ divinely calls some people to devote themselves vocationally to the work of the ordained ministry. As the IFBC recognizes this divine call, it endorses the same by taking every suitable step to open the way for candidates to enter the office of the ministry.
How does it work?
The path to ministerial or chaplaincy affiliation may take one of several directions. The process of licensing is basically the same for each of the pathways, with the exception of the presentation of the licenses themselves.
For those preparing for ordination:
IFBC offers a Minister's License for those in preparation for ordination. Whether the applicant is a student in preparation for ministry, or has never held a ministers license with any organization, this license may apply. Details about the ministers license may be found in the Handbook of Faith and Practice at paragraph 611.
For those seeking ordination:
IFBC serves as an ordaining institution for ministers who have thoroughly prepared themselves for ministry academically, spiritually and professionally. Requirements are necessarily high for ordination. Detailed requirements for ordination are listed in the Handbook of Faith and Practice at paragraph 610.
For those ordained by other organizations:
For those ministers already ordained by other organizations, the Fellowship offers affiliation through transfer of elders orders. Details about the transfer of ordination are contained in the Handbook of Faith and Practice at 610.2.
Complete the form and submit it, along with the information requested on the form to the Fellowship Office. Be sure to include all items requested – especially the references and reference letters.
Once the application has been received by the Office, you will be sent a list of questions which may be asked by your Credentials Examination Committee. (These questions are also available online. Of course, persons just beginning to prepare for ministry will be expected to be less prepared theologically to answer some questions than someone who is seeking ordination. The reason the questions are sent to you is so that you will be able to think through the questions and/or to prepare your answers in writing prior to your interview.
When the questions have been sent to you, your name will be submitted to the chairman of the Credentials Examination Commission for your area of the country. The chairman will contact you to set up an appointment for your ministerial interview. The interview may be done via conference call, but a person to person contact is much preferred. Generally, there will be three or more members on the commission which interviews you.
During the interview, the ordained elders who comprise the Credentials Examination Commission in your area may ask any or all of the questions which have been sent to you, and they may add related questions as they deem necessary. This process is thorough, but should not be seen as threatening. The purpose of the Minister’s Examinations Commissions is to help people get into the ministry, not to keep them out. Because all the members of the Minister’s Examination Commission have been through this same process themselves, you will find them both approachable and helpful.
The Credentials Commission which will interview you will have the authority of the Fellowship behind them to grant you the Minister’s License or the Silver Seal Credential. The Gold Seal credential is given only after a favorable vote of the Fellowship of Elders at the next International Assembly. See paragraphs 610.c.1 and 610.d.1.
Once you have been granted license, you will receive a parchment signed by the General Superintendent and a witnessing officer. The Silver Seal Credential will have the seal of the Fellowship of Bible Churches affixed. Both the Minister’s License and the Silver Seal Credential will be in force until the next International Assembly, at which time Minister’s Licenses are renewed for two years and Silver Seal credentials are replaced with the permanent, Gold Seal Credential.