Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
The EFCA has a national credential for those in qualified ministries. The Board of Ministerial Standing (BOMS) is appointed by the EFCA Conference, the highest authority under Christ in our denomination, to carry out the mandates of the Conference regarding credentialing. They do this through the development of policies and procedures that best enable them to ensure candidates are qualified as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, both doctrinally and morally.
Being congregational, the a candidate must receive a call from a local church before the credentialing process can begin. Once that call occurs, and once the candidate begins the licensing process, there is a partnership between the local church, the district and the national office.
The Conference mandate given to BOMS to oversee this process is done through the District Board of Ministerial Standing (DBOMS), who works closely with the candidate. Once the DBOMS affirms the candidate through the paper and a council, they send it to BOMS for final approval, on behalf of the Conference.
It is a wonderfully rigorous process, through which one learns and grows, and one is challenged and accountable, along with many other blessings. It is also a privilege to spend time thinking, pondering, praying and writing about your biblical beliefs in the form of theology and doctrine. Furthermore, it is a joy to be asked about this in the form of a council with others who are asking and probing those beliefs, for you to give a defense for the hope that is within you (1 Pet. 3:15). In fact, writing and articulating your theology is a doxological experience.
Every pastor and minister in a qualified ministry in the EFCA ought to be credentialed. I have written previously about its importance and benefits: EFCA Credentialing: Importance and Benefits To that end, I include a couple of testimonies from those serving in pastoral ministry in the North Central District, one of 17 EFCA districts across the country: Ryan Petersen (6 minutes) and Bryan Lair (2 minutes).
The numbers of pastors and ministers who are in qualifying ministries in a local EFC church is about 2500. This consists of our 1500 churches, along with many churches will multiple staff (not all staff in the local church serve in positions that are credentialable). Of this number of those in qualifying ministries in our local EFC churches, about 40% are credentialed in the EFCA. This affects our present and future doctrinal fidelity and moral integrity, since it provides safeguards and accountability, for both pastor/minister and church. The numbers of those in ministry credentialed in the EFCA ought to be much higher than that.
For those who are credentialed, this is an encouragement and affirmation for what you have done. Rejoice with these two for being two of the 40%. For those who are not credentialed, may this be an incentive to begin the process of credentialing. Begin by reading Ministerial Credentialing in the Evangelical Free Church of America. Then follow up by starting the process.