The Truths and Myths of Ordination

Every minister will forever remember the day they were ordained through the local church; it is a life-giving experience for both the ministry and the minister.  Yet many ministers today do not know that their ordination may likely not hold any legal water if it were challenged by government.

Ordination means to be set apart, to be called

When we ordain someone into the ministry, it is a powerful time of recognizing the call of God on someone's life and validating that call through the local church. Every minister will forever remember the day they were ordained through the local church; it is a life-giving experience for both the ministry and the minister.

However, in the same way that planting a church is both a spiritual and a legal step, so is ordination.

Spiritually speaking, we understand that God is the One who calls a man or a woman unto the gospel. It is His "call" that makes us called. All throughout Scripture we see men and woman called from before they were born. The most famous is God's ordination of Jeremiah, the prophet. In Jeremiah 1:5 God says to him, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you, I ordained you a prophet to the nations."

What God reveals to Jeremiah

Here God is revealing to Jeremiah, and us, that it is His call that makes a man or a woman who they are.  And this call, which is anchored in the spirit, is lived out in the natural realm. Our recognition of that is our recognition of their "ordination", their being called and separated unto the Lord.

Paul similarly speaks of his calling....

Many of you who are reading this article have that same call-that sense of knowledge that when God fashioned you in the womb of your mother, God spoke over you the calling to be in the ministry. You are gifted, equipped and called! You are spiritually ordained.  No man can deny it, as it did not start with man.  But, the real question we want to tackle in this article is, are you legally ordained?

Ordination and government           

You see, in our country, our government wants to extend special privileges-like granting legal authority to solemnize marriages, and tax benefits-like the Housing Allowance or Social Security Tax Exemption, to individuals with the spiritual call to the ministry.

But being a secular entity, our government recognizes its limitation to discern who has that spiritual call - that ordination. So, they put the ability to discern for them into the hands of churches and ministries.  When a church or ministry recognizes the spiritual call on someone's life, and goes through the 8 steps needed, that is legal ordination.

What trips up a minister

Now, the truth is, you do not have to be legally ordained to be called by the Lord. Man will never recognize many whom the Lord has gifted and called. However, if you as a minister want to solemnize marriages and enjoy special tax privileges, you will have to be ordained legally.

It is at the word "legally" that so many ministers get tripped up.  We have an epidemic right now in the church of spiritually ordained pastors who are functioning like legally ordained ministers without any real legal foundation.  There are a lot of hands being laid on, a lot of words given about the destiny and call of God on someone's life...but is that enough to be legally ordained?  The simple answer is, "No!"  The question to ask yourself as you read this is, "Am I LEGALLY ordained?"

Whenever ministers are not legally ordained, yet are holding themselves out as being legally ordained, they are jeopardizing their ministry's future.  One audit could spell disaster for both their financial life and their reputation. If ministers are going to take the benefits of being ordained, then they should recognize that it honors God when they honor His spiritual ordination by establishing themselves as legally ordained ministers.

What to do to be legally ordained

There are EIGHT MUST-TAKE STEPS for a minister to be legally ordained in all 50 states. Without those, one can be spiritually called, but not legally ordained.

If there is any doubt about the validity of your ordination, TODAY is a great day to get that taken care.  We have created the "Ordain" software tool that will walk you through the 8 steps to be legally ordained. It will spell out each step and give you a plan on how to take that step. Also, it will give you the legal requirements for each state in the U.S. so you can be sure you are legal in that state.

One final encouragement: don't wait! You've said yes to your spiritual calling, now it is time to make it legal.

If you'd like more information about our Ordain product, please click HERE

And receive Book 1 of our Grow Trilogy FREE today! This series gives you the strategies you need to get started growing your church plant today!