Author Topic: Licensed Ministers  (Read 3326 times)

Michael Reilly

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Licensed Ministers
« on: May 11, 2011, 08:48:46 PM »
Howdy. I recenlty leared that in the UCC, there is a path to become a licensed minister instead of an ordained minister. One of the criteria is a reading list of books one must complete in order to work toward licensure. Does anyone know what's on that list? It may be conference specific, but I can't find anything online about it for my conference (Massachusetts). I also think that Massachusetts may not have a licensure program since there seem to be enough ordained ministers to go around.

In any event, your help is gratefully requested.

rusty

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 09:18:13 PM »
Like many UCC things regarding standing, I think you will find it is a local/Association specific policy. I would suggest contacting your Association Minister or someone on the Association's Committee on the Ministry (or whatever they call it in your Association).

Good luck.

Michael Reilly

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 04:08:48 AM »
Thanks.

goodstoryteller

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2011, 11:49:53 AM »
Michael
The Manual on Ministry has a section on Licensed Ministry it is available here.

http://www.ucc.org/ministers/manual/mom-2007-20licensed-1.pdf

If that link doesn't work go to the home page and drop down "churchstuff" to ministers then "manual on Ministry.  The Manual is huge and in .pdf form and it provides guidelnes for committees on ministry and churches and those seeking to go into ministry. 

Michael Reilly

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2011, 02:53:08 PM »
I did read that, thank you. I can't tell from the web if the Mass. conference does licensed ministers, but I did see that there is one in a city not too far from me, so I'll investigate further. I appreciate your help.

goodstoryteller

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2011, 05:20:49 AM »
My sense is that it is not a preferred solution--not a long term--needs to be renewed yearly.
However seeing it here in a couple of situations where the small church has not the resources for a MDiv or even anyone full-time---Someone from the congregation rises up to ministry and is licensed--at least one of these while working on getting her degree.  What will happen then????

Karl

Michael Reilly

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2011, 03:55:49 AM »
Beats me. I know that Divinity school is a great thing for learning the history of the church, the nuances of theology, to practice preaching, etc...but I'm not sure that every preacher needs to go to Divinity school. It seems to me that the right person who was a motivated self-learner, had some good mentors, and was moved by the Holy Spirit, could be a fine preacher without the M.Div. What do you think?

goodstoryteller

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2011, 06:42:51 AM »
There is a movement in most conferences to find alternative paths to ministry.  The notion passed the GS in 2006 same time as same sex marraige.  My pastor shortly after GS that in her opinion the alternative paths was a far more historic, significant decision that would affect the church.  It has taken time but there are emerginging in the Committees on ministries different approaches to this.  There have been some significant draft policies etc developed and some have programs well under way such as the Southern Conference.

I believe that about half of our churches have avg attendance of 75 or less (only place I have tested the figures is here in the Southwest Conference.  There is no real way a church of that size can sustain a full-time pastor who has invested 8 years in higher education.  I think we will see more circuit riders again---which was common prior to WWII --and tent-maker arrangements.  We see them now but they will be more common.  We have a part-time MDiv pastor who is a mother of young children and it workds well for her with her husbands income. 

When I was in the ECC Evangelical Covenant Chuirch I led a mission trip to Oaxaca Mexico and we spent a week-end in Mexico City---The churches in Mexico City were growing rapidly--we were there fro the 15th anniversary of the oldest Covenant Church there there were then 15 in the Mexico City region---all in upper middle class communities--none had "Pastors" but were served by a group of lay people around 13--who did the preaching, teaching, and pastoral care.  All were employed full time in mostly managerial and professional positions.  The man whose family I stayed with said--as the church was getting over 250 members they were seeing a need for a staff minister but they regretted to leave the model that had worked so well for them and to loose out on the spiritual and faith growth that was a consequence of their immersion in ;ministry.

The church is in exciting times and we need to be open to many models of being "church" and doing ministry. One size does not fit very many well. 

Karl

goodstoryteller

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2011, 06:46:00 AM »
Michael

I forgot to mention the recent change of terminology from "Students In Care" or "In Care" to "In Discernment" is a part of the shift to alternative paths.

Karl

Michael Reilly

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2011, 04:05:44 PM »
Peter and Paul didn't go to seminary. I'm just saying... ;D

rusty

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2011, 06:56:18 PM »
Peter and Paul didn't go to seminary. I'm just saying... ;D

And since they could not be ordained, they started their own religion. Just saying... :)

IMHO, having a Licensed Ministers serve as "the" minister in a church, should be reserved for special situations and is not a substitute for an educated clergy being the UCC norm.

Jeff Fairchild

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2011, 07:42:09 PM »
Beats me. I know that Divinity school is a great thing for learning the history of the church, the nuances of theology, to practice preaching, etc...but I'm not sure that every preacher needs to go to Divinity school. It seems to me that the right person who was a motivated self-learner, had some good mentors, and was moved by the Holy Spirit, could be a fine preacher without the M.Div. What do you think?
I agree.  Not just a "fine preacher" but also a very good pastor. 

ArthurStone

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2011, 02:20:38 AM »
Michael, I have helped train and mentor 6 licensed ministers.  I was impressed with their hard work and dedication.  They would have made great seminary students if they had the time and money to go.  So yes it can be done.

On the other hand, I have met some real nit-wits who thought they could be pastors without putting in the necessary work, thought and prayer.  They wanted to just avoid the hard work of being challenged or being told that their theology was no better than a bad Sunday School education.  I have seen some of those folks ruin churches.  Thus the reason the UCC insists on a carefull process of discernment.

If you are serious in this direction then many of us here might be glad to offer suggested reading.  The true test will be how seriously you take our suggestions.

But let me suggest that you ask your local UCC pastor for a suggested reading list.  Most pastors saved many of their books from seminary and would be happy to loan them to you and talk about the contents.  This dialog is best done with someone who knows you well enough to challenge you to grow and learn.

Public libraries also have good selections of books.  Before I went to seminary, I read through the whole set of the Intreperters Bible Commentary from cover to cover.  This is sure to give you a good foundation for later reading.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 02:26:34 AM by ArthurStone »
1) Jesus the only head
2) Christian a sufficient label
3) Unity our purpose
4) The Bible our guide
5) Respect everyone’s right to interpret scripture
6) Christian character a sufficient test
http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/people/jburnett.html

Michael Reilly

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2011, 04:24:33 AM »
Thank you, ArthurStone. I can imagine that there are some numbskulls out there. Pride being a sin and all...I already have two college degrees. What I don't have is time to go to a seminary, or the $2,000(!) per class it takes to work on an M.Div (total cost for the degree: $60,000). I feel that God is calling me in a certain direction, and I am in the very early stages of discernment. Right now it's a lot of prayer, and a lot of reading, and a lot of dialogue with my local UCC pastor (a great guy) as well as my retired Roman Catholic pastor (a wonderful dissident). So...it's all a bit scary, and a bit exciting, and a bit confusing.

It also makes no logical sense, so I'm figuring it must be from God. :)

Keep me in your prayers!

ArthurStone

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Re: Licensed Ministers
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2011, 05:08:51 AM »
OK, now you really have my attention. 
Quote
So...it's all a bit scary, and a bit exciting, and a bit confusing.  It also makes no logical sense

That is the way it should be.  If your goal is to keep your curent job and serve a small church part time, then Licensure may be the way to go, as long as you realize you will always be pegged here without the seminary education.  A good program of reading and good mentorship from a respected pastor in the conference is enough to get you started.

Please remember that a call to ministry always starts with the affirmation of your local church.  If they are acknowledging your leadership abilities, and are willing to support your call, then this is a great start. 

Have you preached at your local church and neighorbing churches when they needed filled pulpits?  I started preaching about once a month when I was in college. (I can't say that I was any good at it until after seminary and a few more years of experience.)  But Preaching 4 to 8 times a year and carefully gathering feedback, will help give you a sense if God is leading you in this direction.  Lay people often have a good sense as to who will become good pastors, if you seek their advice and wisdom.

Bangor Theological Seminary I believe still has a web baised program for people in your position, if you want to move beyond part-time ministry.
1) Jesus the only head
2) Christian a sufficient label
3) Unity our purpose
4) The Bible our guide
5) Respect everyone’s right to interpret scripture
6) Christian character a sufficient test
http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/people/jburnett.html