2016 Wesleyan Discipline: 3000–3006
3000. Ministry in the Christian context means service. It is a term which has been lifted out of the commonplace through the modeling of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is identified in both the Old and New Testaments as the Servant or Minister of God and man. His service involved His humiliation in the incarnation, His self-forgetful teaching and healing activity, and His shameful suffering and death on the cross for the redemption of the human race. Our Lord also chose this term to characterize the activity of His followers in obedience to His commands and mission. He called all members of His body to a general or corporate ministry which would glorify Him, edify the church, and evangelize the world. And He made such possible through imparting to each believer one or more gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7–27) in order that each member might participate in the work of the ministry and contribute to the growth and development of the whole body (Eph. 4:11–16).
3003. While God, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, assigns to each believer a part in the general or corporate ministry of the church, He also calls some to a specialized or representative type of ministry. As Christ called unto Him whom He would, chose and ordained His twelve apostles “that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach” (2016 Wesleyan Discipline:Mark 3:14), so He still calls and sends forth His messengers to be servants of the servants who make up the whole church. And as the Holy Spirit impresses this call upon the individual involved, He also confirms the call through the Church. It is the responsibility of the Church both to recognize and endorse God’s call, providing for the training and employment of those He selects, and to respect the office of the specialized ministry by refusing its exercise to those not called of God. The Church’s endorsement may be limited to a probationary period, taking the form of a license, or it may be granted on a more permanent basis, taking the form of commissioning or ordination.
3006. The Wesleyan Church believes that four marks will concur in the person whom God has called: grace, gifts, fruit, and an abiding sense of a divine call. All candidates for ministerial license, commission or ordination shall be examined concerning each of these marks:
- (1) As to grace, are they converted? are they entirely sanctified? are they manifesting the fruit of the Spirit? are they worthy examples to the church and to the world?
- (2) As to gifts, are they able to think clearly? to understand and communicate clearly matters related to salvation? to speak persuasively? to practice loving care? to provide leadership?
- (3) As to fruit, have any been truly convicted of sin and converted to God through their ministry? and have believers been edified?
- (4) As to an abiding sense of a divine call, can they testify to a continuing and increasing conviction that they have been chosen by God for a specialized and representative ministry?