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How To Become Ordained

Find out how to become ordained and serve mankind.

"Ordination" is the act of placing a person into a leadership position in a religious organization. The etymology of the word "ordain" derives from the Latin "to set in order." It also means "to appoint to office." In the same way that God "ordained" the moon and stars (see Psalms 8), He also "ordained" Jeremiah to become a prophet to the Gentile nations (see Jeremiah 1). Likewise, Jesus "ordained" 12 disciples to serve Him in certain specific ways (see Mark 3). In ordaining his disciples, he set them apart for a specific office and certain specific duties; in short, He "ordained" his disciples.

What does it mean to become ordained? No matter what denomination you are a member of, ordination is an entry into the world of the clergy. You become ordained to represent a higher moral authority than the rest of society, and your behavior and beliefs reflect this. It is possible to become ordained, obtain an ordination certificate, and yet not have a sincere interest in becoming a true minister to your congregation. Thus, what is key to ordination is sincerity and a belief in helping others as willed by God.

Technically, ordination is the process of consecration, which is the conveyance to an individual of the right to perform religious ceremonies. Different ordination methods are employed, depending on the religious denomination. When considering ordination, there are three successive levels involved, namely deacon, priest and bishop. Usually, one becomes a deacon initially. Once this status is obtained, a deacon is considered in a transition path to a priest. The priest ordination is thus the final outcome of a set of steps accomplished as a deacon.

Thus, the way to become ordained is through a formal, somewhat lengthy process in most of the major Protestant churches, the Catholic Church, and the Eastern Orthodox churches in North America. Stated briefly, the steps are:

--> 1. Obtain sponsorship from your church committee that sponsors vocations or ordinations. This means being interviewed, undergoing psychological testing, and possibly a criminal background check.

--> 2. Attend a seminary and obtain a seminary degree. The Master of Divinity degree is usually required. To attend a seminary, you need committee sponsorship.

--> 3. In the seminary, you'll take courses on:

  • Old and New Testament 
  • Preaching 
  • Bible interpretation 
  • History/Practice of Christian Worship 
  • Counseling 
  • Non-profit administration 
  • ... and much more 

--> 4. Nearing the end of three to four years of Seminary School, you do an internship, like working at a charity or a local church. This is an absolute requirement to graduate from a seminary.

--> 5. Finally, write an ordination paper and discuss this paper at an ordination interview. Provided this paper is accepted at the interview, you are ready to take the big step:

--> 6. A special ordination service.

What was outlined above is a roadmap to conventional ordination in most major denominations. This traditional route to ordination can be shortened by using the Internet to become ordained online. This only requires a modest fee. Or, you could form your own church and become ordained in this church. Although the effort required for this course of action is much less than the usual route to ordination, your social impact may be much less as well.

In contrast to the well-defined ordination rules of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican churches, most Protestant churches require a less formal process, which involves:

  • The community's perception that an individual has been summoned by God to form a ministry 
  • Verifying an individual has undergone the proper bible training, and other requirements for admission 
  • A willing decision on the part of the ordinand to become a member of the ministry. 

As an example of an ordination service, the following is a nice You Tube video of a recent ordination.