An ordination ceremony recognizes and sets aside a member or members of a church body for the office of deacon or of a pastor. Though the offices are different, the ordination ceremony is very similar for each office. The ordination ceremony shows that the church has put its seal of approval on a church member taking such an office, and, in so doing, it gives the ordained party pastoral or deacon authority to operate within the church.
Form a presbytery or council to examine the candidate being ordained. The difference between a presbytery and a council is that a presbytery consists of ordained ministers, while a council consists of ordained ministers and laypeople. The presbytery or council is formed by an appointed moderator and church clerk.
Conduct an examination of the candidate. Examine the candidate on his Christian experience, his call to the ministry, his understanding of the church’s teaching and his approach to the work of the church.
Make a report to the church on the fitness of the candidate for ordination. This report is based on the examination conducted by the presbytery or the council.
Precede with the formal ordination exercises. This is initiated by a motion or resolution by the church.
Select and sing a hymn and have prayer to open the formal part of the ordination ceremony. The order of these two events is interchangeable.
Read some scripture or have someone chosen prior to ceremony to preach a sermon. You may choose to have both.
Ask the ordination candidate to kneel and have someone chosen beforehand to pray an ordination prayer.
Have the presbytery or council lay their hands on the ordination candidate as a symbol of the candidate being fully ordained in the gospel ministry.
Present the candidate with a special Bible that commemorates her ordination.
Present a charge to the candidate and to the church. The charge is a homily on the duties and the responsibilities of the ordained minister or deacon and the church’s duty. The charge is delivered by someone chosen beforehand, you can chose different people for each charge or use the same person to deliver both.
Give the candidate the right hand of fellowship, which is a formal handshake from the church and presbytery.
Conclude the service with a benediction.
Conduct the ordination ceremony in sync with the surrounding churches of the same denomination. By doing so, you have a better opportunity of having their cooperation and foster a spirit of fellowship among the churches.
Before putting someone through the examination process in the ordination ceremony, examine him thoroughly beforehand to know if he is a good fit for the ministry. Doing this can save embarrassment should something undesirable be revealed during the formal examination.
- The Pastors Manual; J.R. Hobbs; 1934
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