The church upholds scriptural qualifications for ministerial leaders, such as those found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9: living above reproach; exercising self-control; having the gift of teaching; living so as to be well thought of by outsiders; being a lover of goodness; living a life that is just, upright, spiritual, faithful, and dignified; and being a lover of hospitality.
The Church of the Brethren defines two degrees for its ministerial leadership: licensure and ordination. (For information about lay speakers, see the Ministerial Leadership Manual.)
A person who has been formally called to consider ministerial leadership receives the “licensed” designation. The licensed ministry gives time and opportunity for the person and the church to test their preliminary judgment regarding the call to ministerial leadership. This designation also authorizes the person to participate in many services of ministerial leadership while engaged in an approved educational program.
The next level of ministerial leadership is ordination. An ordained person is one who has fulfilled educational requirements; demonstrates leadership ability and maturity of judgment; has a thorough knowledge of and commitment to the history, beliefs, and polity of the Church of the Brethren; affirms the expectations and commitments of ministerial leadership; and intends to make church service a major part of her or his lifework.