“… because he does not dwell among us in visible presence [Matt. 26:11], we have said that he uses the ministry of [people] to declare openly his will to us by mouth, as a sort of delegated work, not by transferring to them his right and honor, but only that through their mouths he may do his own work—just as a workman uses a tool to do his work.”
While Christianity faces a crisis of confidence, the world is changing faster than ever. People struggle to understand how Jesus is relevant to their lives inside and outside the church.
God, undisturbed by doomsayers and doubters, is making way for the good news of Jesus to be declared relevantly, known intimately, and lived daily. In the words of Dallas Willard, pastors are God’s primary tool to “overcome the problems that we have in the world today.”
The Kingdom Network exists to raise men and women for pastoral ministry. We are passionate to see pastors who love Jesus, have His love for broken humanity, and can help others know Him. Drawing from decades of experience and the expertise of academics, theologians, pastors, educators, and proven leaders, we have developed a nimble and substantive ordination process.
On our website, you can find an overview of our process, the competencies required for ordination, and how to apply. If you have further questions or want to talk more about what our ordination process looks like, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are here to help!
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The Kingdom Network ordination process is academically rigorous and profoundly relational. Composed of eight competencies, every successful candidate will have shown proficiency in each area. It calls candidates into a high level of discipleship; it trains candidates to lead the local church; our process has honest assessments built into it so the candidates can grow. We will continue to refine and mature our ordination process so that it serves candidates and our local churches.
Our ordination process is mosaic, not linear. A linear process is a checklist of learning to get through, while mosaic learning is contextual to a person’s life. A linear process is one size fits all, while mosaic learning is individualized. A linear process is rigid and implemented from the top down. Mosaic learning can be flexible and empowering while holding the student, a local church, and the Kingdom Network to a high standard of excellence. Finally, a linear process is something to complete, while mosaic learning is about receiving the training and information needed to flourish where one is at.
Our ordination process has a wide front door. Our competencies can be studied as stand-alone learning opportunities for Kingdom Network leaders, elders, deacons, or those wanting to explore a pastoral calling. Taking classes and training can be done without going through the ordination application process. If a person completes a competency and later decides to enter the ordination process officially, their work will be counted toward their ordination work.
Our ordination process is nationally supported while having local leadership. Each region is best positioned to implement the Kingdom Network Ordination process into their contexts. Local regions know their candidates best, understand the needs of their local churches better than others, and can ensure the process is kept relevant for their candidates, churches, and their region.
Each journey to ordination will differ because we all start from different places. Our process is a mosaic of learning; it is flexible and empowering while holding the candidate, church, and our network to a high standard of excellence.
These eight competencies comprise the learning, training, and discipleship components we believe our candidates need to flourish as Kingdom Network pastors
A candidate will be paired with a qualified elder or pastor from a church other than their home church. This relationship will last for a minimum of 24 months. The goal of this relationship is two-fold:
- Grow the candidate’s hidden life with God.
- The candidate meets the requirements of elder/overseer as laid out in the New Testament.
A candidate will meet with a licensed professional counselor at least four times. The goal is to reflect upon how the past helped shape the candidate and their call to ministry.
Competency #1 Outcomes
- A practical knowledge of spiritual formation –A cultivated life of confession
- Ability to receive and give critical feedback –Evidence of personal emotional health
- Articulation of personal weakness coupled with a long-term plan of stewardship
- Evidence of character growth –Evidence of love for God
- Exposure to and implementation of spiritual disciplines
- Awareness of & agreement to pastoral ethics
Old Testament, New Testament, and Biblical Exegesis
The pastor’s work requires practical proficiency in teaching the Bible. This competency aims to develop a grammatical-historical interpretative lens and have a practical competency of the Old and New Testaments.
Competency #2 Outcomes:
- Define and use the tools of interpretation
- Define different genres in the Bible
- The ability to interpret Biblical texts
- Exposure to different hermeneutic worldviews
- Ability to teach others to read the Bible
- General knowledge of the books of the Bible
- Awareness of interpretative challenges
- Defend the historicity of Adam
- Develop and articulate a Christ-centric lens
Preaching is God speaking to the local body through a Christian. It requires a working knowledge of the whole bible story, the focus on Jesus Christ in every text, and the ability to open the text to a broad range of listeners.
Competency #3 Outcomes:
- The candidate will have a well-developed Biblical rationale for why preaching differs from teaching or other forms of public address
- The candidate will be able to articulate and make a case, both orally and in writing, for the importance of authority in preaching and describe the sources of this authority
- The candidate will be able to conduct weddings and funerals and administer the sacraments/ordinances with truth, passion, and authority
- The candidate will be able to demonstrate their method of exegesis
- The candidate will be able to articulate a Reformed view of preaching by drawing from multiple historical resources
- The ability to form messages specifically for different audiences
- A straightforward process of sermon preparation that enables faithful preaching
- Awareness and working competency of relevant research tools
- A developed “voice”
- Receive feedback from a variety of leaders and implement criticism.
- Marked growth as a preacher
- Sustained faithfulness to the text
The universal church has a long history, and we are one page of this history. Studying church history gives the pastor depth, humility, and contextual understanding. Further, the pastor holds the responsibility to help the local church find its place within the larger story of the Church.
Competency #4 Outcomes:
- An appreciation for the history of the church
- The ability to articulate significant historical developments of the church and why they took place
- Understanding of significant heresies and how orthodoxy developed an answer to them
- An ability to articulate the victory of orthodoxy over versus various historical heresies
- Draw from church history to aid in a biblical understanding of the church’s current heresies and challenges
- An understanding of how the canon was developed
Baptism and Communion
The two sacraments that we celebrate are baptism and communion. These sacraments make up a significant part of a pastor’s responsibilities. Drawing from the riches of church history and the Reformation, the pastor can help others see the gift of the sacraments.
Competency #5 Outcomes:
- The ability to officiate both sacraments
- The ability to articulate a Reformed understanding of the sacraments
- A developed personal conviction from the student concerning baptism and communion
- The ability to articulate the various understandings of baptism and communion held since the Reformation
- The ability to explain baptism to an expecting family
- The ability to articulate the differences between infant baptism and dedication
Pastors are doctors of the soul. A pastor is often present at some of the most wonderful and challenging moments of a congregant’s life. Loss, death, addiction, relational chaos, abuse, and mental illness are some areas where a pastor will be asked to provide care. The pastor’s work is to bring God’s love, compassion, and goodness into every situation.
Competency #6 Outcomes:
- The ability to articulate the significance of relational triangles and evidence the candidate can apply this to their pastoral care
- Evidence of competency in pastoral care
- The ability to articulate a theology of care that is orthodox and practical
- Evidence of a toolkit of interventions that can be used in pastoral care
- Evidence of exposure and understanding of the 12 steps
- The ability to articulate one’s own care needs, show strategies to sustain a healthy personal and relational life, and show the ability to speak appropriately about one’s vulnerabilities
The pastor is a leader in the way of Jesus. Continuing Jesus’s subversive revolution, leaders show through words and actions how persons and their congregation can faithfully follow Jesus. At the heart of Christian leadership is a pastor making disciples who make disciples.
Competency #7 Outcomes:
- Evidence of discipleship making
- The ability to articulate a biblical vision of Christian leadership
- Evidence of pastoral calling
- Completion of a leadership residency where the candidate can be discipled and viewed in leadership situations
- The ability to articulate a vision for multiplication and examples of multiplication competency
At the heart of the Reformed tradition is Reformed theology. There are deep rivers of truth and goodness in our tradition. One of the primary callings of a pastor is to articulate a compelling and biblical vision of God.
Competency #8 Outcomes:
- Evidence of a high-level understanding of the Reformation, including major players, most essential ideas, and how the Kingdom Network fits into this history
- Understanding and a working knowledge of the Heidelberg Catechism
- Articulation of Reformed systematic theology
- Show an understanding of sin, salvation, trinity, election, sovereignty, prophet|priest|king, original sin, depravity, common grace, and other central theological ideas articulated in the Reformed tradition
How to Apply
Today, you begin a process you have probably been thinking and praying about for some time. Pastoral ministry is fantastic work. Led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom Network’s future depends on men and women answering God’s call. The first step in your journey is our application process. It is a multi-step process that develops a 360-degree snapshot of you. It requires significant time to complete. Don’t be discouraged!
You need not be in our ordination process for training in our competencies. Any Kingdom Network leader, pastor, deacon, or elder can receive training. We desire that various pastoral and non-pastoral leaders receive training to help them be better leaders. Contact your regional executive team for information on how to begin training today.
For those desiring ordination, our goal is to move candidates through a comprehensive process that cultivates Christ-centered character, relational self-awareness, and leadership competency, culminating in ordination. The ordination process is a time for self-discovery. God will bless you in the days ahead.
Regional Network Ordination Toolkit
This document is a “cheat sheet” for Kingdom Network regional executive teams. It conveys helpful information for a region to walk with candidates from approval of candidacy to ordination.
- Locally Led: Each region should have a team designated explicitly for the ordination process for their region. Each region has a representative on the national ordination team, and this leader is recommended to serve on the regional team.
- Record Keeping: All records concerning the candidate’s ordination process must be kept securely by the region overseeing the process. Secured records should include the application, background check, psychological profile, and academic/training records accumulated. Once the candidate is ordained, this will be part of their permanent file to be kept by the region where they serve. (Since this information is confidential and sensitive, each region is responsible for storing this information securely).
- Cost: It is recommended that the candidate (⅓), the church recommending them (⅓), and the region (⅓) share in the cost of application and training. While each region can decide whether these costs should be shared and in what percentages, we believe sharing the costs equally among candidates, churches, and the local region embodies our value as a network in training the next generation of leaders.
- Ordination Process Length of Time: We recommend that new candidates for ordination be under care for at least 24 months. This time allows for relational connections between the candidate and the regional network members. As we grow, this is a way to protect our value of relationships and helps ensure candidates succeed as new pastors. We understand that regions will need to give exceptions to the 24-month minimum to some candidates; we strongly suggest that such exceptions be rare and then fully document why the candidate was not required to meet the minimum time requirement.
- Partnerships: The Kingdom Network partners with several third parties. These organizations help us serve our regions in training and assessment. We encourage you to use the organizations for your ordination process. They are familiar with our process, needs, and values.
- The Foundry
- Coram Deo
- Western Seminary
- Benchmark Psychological Services
Ordination: Regions are empowered to ordain candidates. When a candidate has completed their learning plan and ordination process, this form should be completed and submitted to the Kingdom Network National executive team.