D. A. Carson on ordination: But in the biblical pattern it (ordination) does not confer authority… I would want to argue that ordination in the New Testament, where it is the recognition of certain leaders with certain gifts, achieved by a number of different routes, there is warrant for it. For certain people are set aside to certain kinds of work, whether it’s continuous or temporary is another question entirely, they are certainly set aside and recognized by the church to be set aside. And in that sense, there is certainly room for ordination in the New Testament… In this restricted sense then, I would want to argue most strongly that the New Testament warrants ordination so long as ordination is not confused with the conferring of authority but with the recognition of office function and all that pertains to it.
Here’s a helpful article on whether pastors/elders should be ordained.
Here’s a sample of elder/pastor vows from Capitol Hill Baptist Church that we used at CrossView Church:
When Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC installs a new elder, the following vows will be recited during the Sunday morning service between an elder, the elder(s) being confirmed, and the congregation. These vows will also be printed in the church bulletin in their entirety.
[To the elder(s) being confirmed]
1. Do you reaffirm your faith in Jesus Christ as your own personal Lord and Savior?
2. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, totally trustworthy, fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, the supreme, final, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
3. Do you sincerely believe the Statement of Faith and Covenant of this church contain the truth taught in the Holy Scripture?
4. Do you promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the statements in the Statement of Faith and Covenant you will on your own initiative make known to the pastor and other elders the change which has taken place in your views since your assumption of this vow?
5. Do you subscribe to the government and discipline of Capitol Hill Baptist Church?
6. Do you promise to submit to your fellow elders in the Lord?
I do, with God’s help.
7. Have you been induced, as far as you know your own heart, to accept the office of elder from love of God and sincere desire to promote His glory in the Gospel of His Son?
8. Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in promoting the truths of the Gospel and the purity and peace of the Church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise to you on that account?
I do, with God’s help.
9. Will you be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all your duties as elder, whether personal or relative, private or public, and will you endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your manner of life, and to walk with exemplary piety before this congregation?
I will, by the grace of God.
10. Are you now willing to take personal responsibility in the life of this congrgation as an elder to oversee the ministry and resources of the church, and to devote yourself to prayer, the ministry of the Word and the shepherding of God’s flock, relying upon the grace of God, in such a way that Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and the entire Church of Jesus Christ will be blessed?
I am, with the help of God.
[To the congregation]
Will the members of the church please stand?
1. Do you, the members of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, acknowledge and publicly receive these men as elders, as gifts of Christ to this church?
2. Will you love them and pray for them in their ministry, and work together with them humbly and cheerfully, that by the grace of God you may accomplish the mission of the church, giving them all due honor and support in their leadership to which the Lord has called them, to the glory and honor of God?
[Close in prayer]
From Tim Challies blog:
Here is the call to ministry from the church and the promise I then made:
Having repented of sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ;
Having been baptized by immersion in water and made a member of this local church;
Having faithfully served for many years in many capacities;
Having prayed and studied and read and grown in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus;
And having aspired to the office of elder and having been approved and affirmed to that office after careful examination by all the elders and members of Grace Fellowship Church;
Will you now promise, Tim:
- to lead a life worthy of emulation
- to joyfully watch over the souls of this flock as one who will give an accounting for each of them to God
- to always preach with the Day of God’s Strict Judgment for Teachers in mind
- to pray believingly for the sick
1 Peter 5:1
- to shepherd God’s flock allotted to you willingly, eagerly, seeking to model first what you ask of them
Acts 20: 17
- to serve the Lord with both joy and tears
- to resist every temptation to shrink back from declaring the whole Gospel (whether in the privacy of someone’s home or the public square)
- to preach repentance and faith in Christ alone
- to willingly accept suffering, should God call you there
- to value the calling and Gospel of Jesus Christ above your own life
- to guard the church as the blood-bought possession of Jesus Christ, and thus to care for her as His most valuable possession
- to stay alert at your post, even willing to rebuke fellow elders who preach or teach any doctrine not found in God’s Word
- to live as if, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
1 Corinthians 14:29
- to carefully weigh the words of the preached Word
2 Corinthians 11-12
- to willingly suffer for Jesus’ sake hardship, physical torture, betrayal, inconvenience, exposure, disappointment, persecution, sovereign weakenings, calamities, and daily pressures of concern for the church
1 Timothy 4:6
- to value the Word of God over an argument won
- to train yourself for godliness
- to labour and strive with persistence in the work of your ministry more than any before you, giving God all the glory for any success
- to address men’s lives as well as minds; calling others to follow your personal growth in godliness and sanctification
- to keep close watch on your life and your doctrine
1 Timothy 6
- to purse righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness.
- to never quit, give up, swerve from or slack off in your effort to fulfill your ministry
- to despise the allure of riches in this world and live for the eternal wealth of Christ’s presence in heaven
- to guard the sacred deposit entrusted to your care
- to teach the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that old men, old women, young men, young women, and children will understand how to adorn the Gospel of Jesus Christ with good works
- to value Jesus above your wife, your children, your church, your ministry, your knowledge, your self, and anything else in this world
- to speak to God’s people with gentle authority
- to be zealous for good works
- to not be ashamed of the Gospel or the Saviour, regardless of the audience
- to flee youthful sins and run toward being a man who handles the Word of Truth accurately
- to correct with gentleness, not quarrelsomeness
- to preach the Word of God; in season and out of season, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with complete patience and teaching
- to entrust your soul to the Faithful Creator no matter the blessing, the trial or persecution
If, in the sight of God and these witnesses you do now set your heart to make this pledge, promising that when you fail you will seek both forgiveness and restoration as soon as is possible, then I call upon you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom to answer, “I do.”
Tim, because we believe
- the Holy Spirit has gifted you to this ministry
- and made you a gift to this church
- and trust that we have not acted in haste, but in prayerful dependence on Christ
Therefore, it is our joy as the council of elders of this local church to lay hands on you and call upon God Himself to seal to you this ministry for your life and His glory.