Journey Through the ABCOM Ordination Process

      A Guide for Churches and Candidate

I. Why Ordination?  

       a. Benefits for the local church: Why Ordination?

       b. Benefits for the ordained

       c. Benefits for the Region and Denomination

II.  How to get started in the Ordination Process:

        a. Contact your local association Committee on Ministry (COM) representative.

                 1. Find your association COM Rep here: Committee on Ministry Representatives

        b.  Don’t Panic!

                  1. Involve your local church in every step!

Welcome to the Ordination – Commission Process

       c.  Work through The Standards of Recognition with your COM rep:

The American Baptist Churches of Maine Standards of Recognition

       d.  Overview: The “Big Steps” of the Ordination Process:

                   1. License to Preach

                              a. Suggested Procedures, Application, and Guidelines for Granting a Local Church License
                              b. Granted by your local church.

                   2. Obtain the proper level of education:

                              a. For Commissioning:  Forms for Commissioning
                              b. For Ordination: Forms for Ordination
                              c. Special cases
                                           1. Contact Committee on Ministry Chair

               3.  Continue the Ordination Process by filling out and submitting these forms:

                               a. Pre-Ordination Candidate Review
                                           1.  Reviewed by your local church
                                           2. Pre-Ordination Review Appendix A-1
                              b. Local Church Request for Ordination Review
                                          1. Submitted by your local church
                                           2. APPENDIX C.1

               4. Write an Ordination Paper

                              a. APPENDIX C revised 2021, See Section 4

               5.  Meet with the Committee on the Ministry

                              a.  See section III. Preparing for the Committee on the Ministry (COM) interview, below.
                              b. This Document Outlines standards of Education, requirements for Ordination  Paper, Application for Ordination review, and Prerequisites for meeting with Committee on Ministry: APPENDIX C revised 2021          

III.  Preparing for the Committee on the Ministry (COM) interview

           a. COM’s purpose regarding the Ordination Process:

                 1. Implementing standards of recognition for ministerial leadership as determined by the ABCOM.

                2.  Reviewing the qualifications of those seeking to minister within the jurisdiction of the ABCOM and recommending appropriate action to the congregations to be served.

          b. Submit Ordination Paper and all Documents at least 30 days in advance of COM interview.

                1. As listed in Appendix C: APPENDIX C revised 2021

          c. Call to Ministry: COM will reflect with you on your call to ministry.

          d. Competency for Ministry: COM will be evaluating for competency in the following areas (not Mastery!).

                     1. Ministry Areas (In alphabetical order)

                                    a.  Baptist Heritage
                                    b.  Biblical Knowledge
                                    c.  Christian Education and Leadership
                                    d.  Church Administration/Planning
                                    e.  Communication
                                    f.  Cross Cultural Context/Understanding
                                    g.  Discipleship
                                    h.  Ecumenism
                                     i.  Ethics
                                     j.  Evangelism
                                     k.  Mission of the Church in the World
                                     l.  Pastoral Care
                                     m.  Proclamation of the Word
                                     n.  Self-care
                                     o.  Spiritual Development
                                     p.  Stewardship
                                     q.  Theology
                                     r.  Worship

              2.  Suggested resources for candidate growth in areas listed above.

                          a. ABCOM Institute for Ministry information
                                          2.   Books, Videos
                                          3.  Retreats/conferences
                                          4. Classes/online classes
                                          5.  Mentors: Call COM Chairperson if looking for a mentor.

          e. Character in Ministry: Committee On Ministry will explore issues of character with the candidate.

                   1. Case Study Conversations during interview: Case studies for COM 2021

                  2. Document review

                             a. Candidate Recommendations
                            b.  Pre-Ordination Candidate Review Document : Pre-Ordination Review Appendix A-1 2021

                  3. Understanding and addressing Candidate character and personality

                              a.  Strengths and weaknesses
                              b.  Support structures to put in place
                              c.  Questions to ask and ponder 

6.  Hold an Ordination Council

           a. Upon the Committee on the Ministry’s recommendation, the Local Church calls an Ordination Council.
            b. Link to: How to Organize an Ordination Council 
            c. Link to: Sample Form for the Call to Ordination Council 
            d. Link: Sample Order of Business Ordination Council

7.  Plan and hold an Ordination Service

              a. Link to: Sample Service of Ordination
              b. Link to: Sample Vows of Ordination
              c. Celebrate! Proclamation of Ordination
              d . Sign!  The Covenant and Code of Ethics for Ministerial Leaders of the American Baptist Churches


           Committee on Ministry Handbook

Welcome Candidates to the American Baptist Churches of Maine’s “Ordination” Process 

Standards of Recognition (rev. 2014)

A Local Church License APPENDIX A

Pre-Ordination Review Appendix A-1

ABCOM Commissioning -Appendix-B-2016-voted



AIM Transcript Release Form – 2014

ABCOM Recognition of Ordination APPENDIX C

      APPENDIX C.1


Appendix F – PROCESS FOR APPEAL (rev. 2011) 


Appendix H

Appendix I-2017 ABCOM Policies & Resolutions concerning ordination

Credential Recognition of Non-ABCUSA Ordination (rev. 2014)

The Covenant and Code of Ethics for Ministerial Leaders of the American Baptist Churches

Each association has a Committee on the Ministry  representative to guide local churches through the ordination process.


Committee on Ministry Suggestions for Outgoing and Incoming Clergy

Suggestions-for-outgoing-and-incoming-pastors   Retiring-and-staying-in-community-recommendations   Farewell-service-sample-1  Healthy-boundaries-covenant-sample  Separation-ethics-and-covenant-2016