Online Resources for Ordination Candidates

Click on the link for the document desired

Manual for Ordination of Ministers (PDF Format)

Process for Candidate Seeking Standard, Equivalency, Regional, or Recognition of Non-ABCUSA Ordination

Application, Self-Disclosure, and Release Form for All Candidates Seeking Ordination

Ordination Process Checklist for MLC/ABCRM Office

The Covenant and Code of Ethics for Ministerial Leaders of AB Churches

Request for Reference Form

Guidelines for Ordination Paper

ABCRM Training Academy Course List


Withdrawal by ABCRM of Recognition of Ordination


Pathways to Ordination

Historically, Baptists have followed the practice of setting apart certain individuals for special roles as leaders of local churches. This act is called ordination. Circumstances of individuals and of churches are quite different, and because of this, there are varying pathways leading to ordination within the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). The usual path is to attend an accredited seminary, graduate with a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, be called to minister to a local church or other ministry, and be ordained by a local church following the approval process prescribed by the Ministerial Leadership Committee of ABCRM.


Standard Ordination

During the time of preparation, the person is usually licensed to preach as a candidate for ordination. This route is called “Standard Ordination” and the status as an ordained American Baptist minister is recognized nationally throughout the denomination.

Equivalency Ordination

In exceptional cases, relevant ministry experience may be substituted for a portion of the educational requirements. This process is called “Equivalency Ordination.”

Recognition of Ordination from Another Denomination

Ministers who have been ordained in other denominations and who wish to serve in an American Baptist church or ministry may seek to have their ordination from another denomination recognized. In order for the ordination to be recognized as standard, the educational requirements must be met. Those seeking recognition who do not meet the standard educational requirements may be regionally recognized.

Regional Ordination

There are cases in which a person gifted for ministry wishes to serve in an ordained position within the ABCRM, but is unable to meet the educational requirements of Standard Ordination. The Region has provided a process whereby such a person may obtain educational training through a series of classes taught within the Region. Satisfactory completion of these classes and other requirements may lead to a “Regional Ordination.” Such an ordination will be recognized by churches throughout the ABCRM, but may not necessarily be transferred to churches outside the Region.

Local Ordination

Finally, because ordination is a function of the autonomous local church, a church may recognize the gifts for ministry and the call of an individual within that church and ordain that person without participation by the ABCRM. Because the qualifications and call of the ordained minister have not been validated by the larger American Baptist family, such local ordination is not generally transferable to other churches.
Journey of Faith

The process leading to each of these ordinations (except local ordination) is described in detail in the Manual for Ordination of Ministers

Individuals seeking ordination or churches wishing to recommend a person for ordination are encouraged to contact the Region office.

For additional information about ordained ministry and placement in American Baptist Churches, visit the Ministers Council website at