Licensing is a way for the local church to give recognition, authorization and affirmation of a person's gifts and skills for ministry. Licensing is looked on favorably by other churches, which adds further evidence of the person's gifts and abilities throughout Mission Northwest Churches.
Licensing is usually granted through the recommendation of a church board to the membership of the church. Licensing is recognition of a number of different ministry specialties and does not need to be limited just to preaching pastors. Like ordination, it is the local church that grants the license, not Mission Northwest.
A license is typically provided to people who demonstrate that they have the gift and ability to preach, teach or minister as defined by the church granting the license. The license may either be a step toward ordination or an endorsement of a gifted individual for ministry within the church.
Generally, a license is called the “Certificate of License for the Gospel Ministry”, and has also been known as a "License to Preach". Though preaching is a primary focus of pastoral ministry, other gifts may also be recognized by licensing.
Ordination is appropriate for those who have a substantial preaching/teaching ministry in a church, parachurch or mission agency, or educational institution, including military chaplains.
Mission Northwest will examine for ordination and recommend to the local church those who have a proven knowledge of Biblical truth and an aptitude for the communication of Biblical truth in their ministries.
The local church may license or ordain persons with specialized ministries not requiring preaching and teaching (e.g., counseling, hospital chaplaincy, worship ministry).
Mission Northwest has outlined recommended standards and procedures for local church licensing or ordination. However, these standards are to be measured by the local church, and the accountability of licensed or locally-ordained individuals is first to that local church.
As a partnership with many ethnically- and culturally-diverse churches, Mission Northwest affirms the fact that different cultural groups utilize various approaches in credentialing pastoral leaders. The guidelines anticipate that local churches will utilize processes that are appropriate to their cultures for licensing and local examination before sending a candidate to the Mission Northwest Ordination Standards Council.
When a church is interested in recommending an individual proceed with the Mission Northwest ordination process, the church's pastor or designated official should contact the Region Office.
We strongly encourage all pastors who lead an American Baptist Church in the Northwest to have their ordination recognized by Mission Northwest.