Ministry credentials

Practices concerning the calling of ministers vary. In all groups the ministers are called through a congregation rather than from a central office. The more modern groups invite a person to the congregation for a trial sermon after an initial search process including interviews. There is a central office that keeps a list of ministers who are available to pastor a congregation. Congregations may ask for a person from that list or they may go directly to one of the seminaries to get a candidate for ministry. Conference representatives may assist in the search process. The confirmation of the call is made between the church and the individual. A time of discernment may be followed by ordination, or installation if the person is already ordained for ministry.

Usually the persons who are called in the more modern groups have received seminary training. The Mennonite Church has several seminaries. One is Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart Indiana, another is Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Seminary level courses are offered in Canada at Canadian Mennonite University (Winnipeg, MB) and Conrad Grebel University College (Waterloo, ON)

Among the Amish and more conservative Mennonites, ministers are usually called from within the congregation. This is usually done by having a time when people suggest names of persons who they believe would be good ministers. After a period of prayer and discernment, a vote is taken or the “lot” (similar to drawing straws) is used and the person chosen becomes the next minister. A service of ordination takes place immediately following the choice of person. The person chosen rarely has any formal training for the ministry.