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Credentialing: the BFL’s favourite task

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The credentialing of conference pastors and ministry leaders is arguably one of the board of faith and life’s most enjoyable tasks. We invited the provincial conference ministers to develop a uniform process across Canada which takes effect in March 2013.

Credentialing is the process by which the provincial board of faith and life (BFL) deems a pastoral minister’s theology and lifestyle suitable to serve in the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches in the role for which s/he is being considered.

The process involves completing a detailed questionnaire which addresses theology, lifestyle, leadership philosophy, and challenges currently facing churches; submitting two book reports; and reading through the MB Confession of Faith. The applicant must also provide several character references, and participate in an interview with provincial BFL representatives, attend the two-day national Pastoral Credentialing Orientation (PCO), and meet provincially specific requirements.

This unified process has many advantages, the most obvious of which is a greater ease of handling pastoral staff transfers between provinces. The credentialing process is also valuable to churches and ministries because it

  • introduces new leaders who have been shaped elsewhere to the history, theology, and culture of the MB world, serving as a wonderful entry point into our denomination family and the start of many new friendships,
  • helps guard the gospel by examining the doctrine of our pastors,
  • establishes a denominational standard and maintains the quality of leaders in the MB denomination,
  • offers the credentialing candidate an opportunity to wrestle through his/her own theological understanding, by reflecting on his/her lifestyle and call to ministry,
  • demonstrates the mutual accountability of our fellowship of churches,
  • bestows on the candidate the blessing of being vetted and discerned by a group of elders as to his/her calling, theological soundness, and practice,
  • leads the BFL to continually confront the question of what this important process should look like and what it should contain, so it will continue to serve us in our time and context.

If you’d like to know more about the credentialing process, please contact your provincial conference minister or a BFL member.

—the board of faith and life of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches

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