23. The Ordination and Installation of Ministers

  1. No Minister or licentiate or candidate shall receive a call from a church but by the permission of his Presbytery. When a call has been presented to the Presbytery, if found in order and the Presbytery deem it for the good of the Church, they shall place it in the hands of the person to whom it is addressed. Ordinarily a candidate or licentiate may not be granted permission by the Presbytery to move on to the field to which he has been called, prior to his examination for licensure or ordination. Likewise an ordained minister from another denomination, ordinarily shall not move on to the field to which he has been called until examined and received by Presbytery.
  2. When a call for the pastoral services of a licentiate has been accepted by him, the Presbytery shall take immediate steps for his ordination.
  3. No Presbytery shall ordain any licentiate or candidate to the office of the Gospel ministry, with reference to his laboring within the bounds of another Presbytery, but shall furnish him with the necessary testimonials, and require him to repair to the Presbytery within whose bounds he expects to labor, that he may submit himself to its authority, according to the Constitution of the Church.
  4. Ordination Requirements and Procedures
    1. A candidate applying for ordination shall be required to present at least a diploma of Bachelor of Divinity from some approved pastoral training institution or authentic testimonials of having completed a regular course of theological studies. No Presbytery shall omit any of these educational requirements except in extraordinary cases, and then only with a three-fourths (¾) approval of the Presbytery. Whenever a Presbytery shall omit any of these educational requirements, it shall always make a record of the reasons for such omission and the parts omitted. The candidate shall also present satisfactory testimonials as to the completion and approval of an internship in the practice of the ministry.
    2. Every candidate for ordination shall ordinarily have met the requirements of the Presbytery’s approved curriculum. Ordinarily, the candidate shall have been examined in most of the following trials when he was licensed. If the Presbytery previously approved all parts of the licensure examination, it need not re-examine the candidate in those areas at this time. If there were areas of weakness, which the Presbytery noted, or if any member of the Presbytery desires to do so, the candidate may be examined on particular points again. Additionally, the candidate shall be examined on any parts required for ordination which were not covered in his examination for licensure. In all cases, he should be asked to indicate whether he has changed his previous views concerning any points in the Confession of Faith, Catechisms, and Book of Church Order.
    3. A candidate shall undergo the following ordination trials:
      1. He shall be given a careful examination in the following areas:
        1. his Christian experience, especially his personal character and family management (based on the qualifications set out in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and Titus 1:6-9),
        2. his knowledge of the biblical Greek and Hebrew languages,
        3. Bible content,
        4. theology,
        5. the Sacraments,
        6. Church history,
        7. the principles and rules of the government and discipline of the church.

          A Presbytery may accept a seminary degree which includes study in the original languages in lieu of an examination in the original languages.

      2. He shall prepare a thesis on some theological topic assigned by Presbytery.
      3. The candidate shall prepare an exegesis on an assigned portion of Scripture, requiring the use of the original language or languages.
      4. Upon a three-fourths (¾) vote of the Presbytery, he shall further be required to preach a sermon before the Presbytery or committee thereof.

      No Presbytery shall omit any of these parts of trial for ordination except in extraordinary cases, and then only with three-fourths (¾) approval of Presbytery.

    4. Whenever a Presbytery shall omit any of these parts, it shall always make a record of the reasons for such omissions and of the trial parts omitted.
    5. While our Constitution does not require the candidate’s affirmation of every statement and/or proposition of doctrine in our Confession of Faith and Catechisms, it is the right and responsibility of the Presbytery to determine if the candidate is out of accord with any of the fundamentals of these doctrinal standards and, as a consequence, may not be able in good faith sincerely to receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of this Church as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures.
    6. Therefore, in examining a candidate for ordination, the Presbytery shall inquire not only into the candidate’s knowledge and views in the areas specified above, but also shall require the candidate to state the specific instances in which he may differ with the Confession of Faith and Catechisms in any of their statements and/or propositions. The court may grant an exception to any difference of doctrine only if in the court’s judgment the candidate’s declared difference is not out of accord with any fundamental of our system of doctrine because the difference is neither hostile to the system nor strikes at the vitals of religion.
    7. The Presbytery, being fully satisfied of his qualifications for the sacred office, shall appoint a day for his ordination, which ought, if practicable, to be in that church of which he is to be the pastor.
    8. The extraordinary clauses should be limited to extraordinary circumstances of the church or proven extraordinary gifts of the man. Presbyteries should exercise diligence and care in the use of these provisions in order that they not prevent the ordination of a candidate for whom there are truly exceptional circumstances, nor ordain (nor receive from other denominations) a person who is inadequately prepared for the ministry.
  5. The day appointed for the ordination having come, and the Presbytery, or a commission thereof, being convened, a member of the Presbytery, previously appointed to that duty, shall preach a sermon adapted to the occasion. The same, or another member appointed to preside, shall afterwards briefly recite from the pulpit the proceedings of the Presbytery preparatory to the ordination; he shall point out the nature and importance of the ordinance, and endeavor to impress the audience with a proper sense of the solemnity of the transaction.
  6. Questions for Ordination

    Then addressing himself to the candidate, he shall propose to him the following questions:

    1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as originally given, to be the infallible Word of God, which is the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
    2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?
    3. Do you approve of the government and discipline of Evangel Presbytery, as being in conformity with the general principles of biblical polity?
    4. Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord?
    5. Have you been induced, as far as you know your own heart, to seek the office of the holy ministry from love to God and a sincere desire to promote His glory in the Gospel of His Son?
    6. Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the Gospel and the purity and peace and unity of the Church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise unto you on that account?
    7. Do you engage to be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all your duties as a Christian and a Minister of the Gospel, whether personal or relational, private or public; and to endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your manner of life, and to walk with exemplary piety before the flock of which God shall make you overseer?
    8. Are you now willing to take the charge of this church, agreeably to your declaration when accepting their call? And do you, relying upon God for strength, promise to discharge to it the duties of a Pastor?[1]
  7. Questions to Congregation

    The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the presiding Minister shall propose to the church the following questions:

    1. Do you, the people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive ________________, whom you have called to be your Pastor?[2]
    2. Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?
    3. Do you promise to encourage him in his labors, and to assist his endeavors for your instruction and spiritual edification?
    4. And do you engage to continue to him while he is your Pastor that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised, and to furnish him with whatever you may see needful for the honor of religion and for his comfort among you?
  8. The people having answered these questions in the affirmative, the candidate shall kneel, and the presiding Minister shall, with prayer and the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, according to the apostolic example, solemnly set him apart to the holy office of the Gospel ministry. Prayer being ended, he shall rise from his knees; and the Minister who presides shall first, and afterwards all the members of the Presbytery in their order, take him by the right hand, saying, in words to this effect: “We give you the right hand of fellowship, to take part in this ministry with us.” The presiding Minister shall then say: “I now pronounce and declare that [Name] has been regularly elected, ordained, and installed Pastor of this congregation, agreeably to the Word of God, and according to the Constitution of Evangel Presbytery; and that as such he is entitled to all support, encouragement, honor, and obedience in the Lord: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” After which the Minister presiding, or some other Minister or Ruling Elder appointed for the purpose, shall give a solemn charge to the Pastor and to the congregation, to persevere in the discharge of their reciprocal duties, and then after prayer and the singing of a psalm, or hymn, the congregation shall be dismissed with the benediction. And the Presbytery shall duly record its proceedings.[3]
  9. After the installation, the heads of families of the congregation then present, or at least the Ruling Elders and Deacons, should come forward to their Pastor, and give him their right hand and the holy kiss of Christian fellowship, in token of cordial reception and affectionate regard.
  10. Questions for Installation

    In the installation of an ordained Minister, the following questions are to be substituted for those addressed to a candidate for ordination, namely:

    1. Are you now willing to take charge of this congregation as their Pastor, agreeably to your declaration in accepting its call?[4]
    2. Do you conscientiously believe and declare, as far as you know your own heart, that, in taking upon you this charge, you are influenced by a sincere desire to promote the glory of God and the good of the Church?
    3. Do you solemnly promise that, by the assistance of the grace of God, you will endeavor faithfully to discharge all the duties of a Pastor to this congregation, and will be careful to maintain a deportment in all respects becoming a Minister of the Gospel of Christ, agreeably to your ordination engagements?[5]
  11. Questions to the Congregation

    The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the presiding minister shall propose to the church the following questions:

    1. Do you, the people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive______, whom you have called to be your pastor?[6]
    2. Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?
    3. Do you promise to encourage him in his labors, and to assist his endeavors for your instruction and spiritual edification?
    4. Do you engage to continue to him while he is your pastor that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised, and to furnish him with whatever you may see needful for the honor of religion and for his comfort among you?
  12. In the ordination of candidates or licentiates as Evangelists the same questions are to be propounded as in the ordination of Pastors, with the exception of the eighth, for which the following shall be substituted:

    “Do you now undertake the work of an Evangelist, and do you promise, in reliance on God for strength, to be faithful in the discharge of all the duties incumbent on you as a Minister of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?”


  1. For an assistant pastor, the following vow shall be used: ‘Are you now willing to serve this church, agreeably to your declaration when accepting the call of the session? And do you, relying upon God for strength, promise to discharge to it the duties of an Assistant Pastor?
  2. For an assistant pastor, the following vow shall be used: ‘Do you, the people of this congregation, profess your readiness to receive ______, whom the session has called to be your assistant pastor?
  3. For assistant pastor, add the word "assistant" before “pastor."
  4. For an assistant pastor, the following vow shall be used: ‘Are you now willing to serve this congregation as their Assistant Pastor, agreeably to your declaration in accepting the call of its session?’
  5. For assistant pastor, add the word ‘assistant’ before ‘pastor.
  6. For an assistant pastor, the following vow shall be used: ‘Do you, the people of this congregation, profess your readiness to receive ______, whom the session has called to be your assistant pastor?

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