The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) recognizes the diversity of the body of Christ, affirming and celebrating the many flavors of Christian witness that exist within our world. The Christian Church (DOC) consider themselves to be a “movement for wholeness in a fragmented world,” seeking to welcome all of God’s people to gather together, celebrating the bits of faith we hold in common with one another and honoring our different beliefs, opinions, and interpretations of how God is living and working among us. Disciples of Christ profess and practice Christian unity by:
- extending a full welcome for all people at the Lord’s Table, inviting all to celebrate communion
- practicing believer’s baptism and affirming infant baptism as the sacrament through which persons declare their membership in the church and their acceptance of all their call to serve God
- recognizing the priesthood of all believers, equipping and empowering both lay and ordained leaders to serve as ministers to God’s people
- believing that all people are called to read, study, and interpret scripture for themselves.
While the Christian Church (DOC) affirms the priesthood of all believers, we do believe there are persons who are called to ordained ministry. Individuals who have been called by God to serve as ordained ministers are distinguished from commissioned ministers and lay ministers by deepening and strengthening their abilities as Christian leaders through rigorous study and an ordination interview process. Candidates for ordination are, typically, required to complete a Masters of Divinity from an accredited seminary or divinity school as they prepare for and go through the ordination interview process. In some instances, ordination candidates may pursue ordination through an apprentice-track, if attending seminary or divinity school is not feasible for them due to financial, familial, vocational, or linguistic impediments.
The ordination interview process requires participation from the candidates sponsoring congregation, as well as the regional church’s Committee on Ministry. When a congregation sponsors a candidate for ordination, they commit to spiritually care for and prepare their candidate for conversation with the Regional Committee on Ministry, who will oversee the ordination process. The particulars of the ordination process vary from region to region, but typically include several formal interviews, written papers, and assessments for emotional and spiritual fitness for ministry.
While YDS has a smaller DOC population than one might find at a DOC-affiliated divinity school, YDS provides DOC students with wonderful opportunities to experience ecumenical ministry and dialogue, which is incredibly important to the history and heart of the denomination. The academic rigor and warm collegiality of YDS help prepare DOC students to serve within their denominational context where believers are encouraged to engage their faith critically and compassionately. YDS works with students to ensure that requirements for polity and church history are met. For DOC students who attend YDS, it is important to be aware that the Northeast Region of the Christian Church is a small region that may not be able to offer as much support through the ordination process as other regions might be.
Students who are curious about the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), should contact their regional office to determine what their respective regions particular process and requirements are for seeking ordination. You can find contact information for all 32 regions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) by visiting this link: http://disciples.org/regional-ministries/.
Links to consider: