Becoming Ordained in Christian Ministry
Ordination Course

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This course is designed to help you get a standard format established in the area of conducting Christian worship services and the administration of the Christian sacraments. These patterns will vary greatly from denomination to denomination and even from congregation to congregation within any given denomination or independent church. These are "skeleton" outlines for you to dress with the personalizations and customizations of your particular branch of Christianity. As you continue on through the Covenant Community School of Biblical Studies course of study, you will be given tools and further instruction about the development of these particular services, so that you can make them meaningful and helpful to the congregation that you are called to serve in. Keep these concepts and ideas about various formats of worship in mind as you progress through the courses and see how God would have you be creative and demonstrative in their various uses and applications.

The Worship Service


There are four basic styles of worship services practiced in the Christian Church of North America. There are other modifications of these four basic styles of worship that fill the areas between these four categories. There are no perfect or correct styles of worship. A congregation and the pastor should try to decide what is best for them.


1. Traditional liturgies

2. Singing Hymns

3. Readings & Recitations

4. Preaching


1. Open Format (may use drama & dance)

2. Praise & Worship Choruses

3. Interactive participation

4. Preaching


    1. Elements of both traditional and contemporary
    2. Use of Choruses and Hymns
    3. Preaching or "having a talk"


1. More entertainment oriented

    1. No audience participation required

3. Minimal use of choruses

4. Non confrontive approach to presenting the gospel


These are the typical outline or order of service for these different styles of services. They can obviously be modified to fit the individual and specific needs of that particular congregation.

Typical Traditional Service

Musical Prelude

Opening Invocation and/or Call to Worship


Congregational Announcements


Scripture Reading

Collection of the Offering

Musical Offertory or Choir Anthem

Pastoral Prayer and/or Blessing of the Offering

Scripture Reading

Hymn or Choir Anthem

Scripture Reading

Sermon or Pastoral Message

Closing Hymn

Pastoral Benediction

Musical Postlude

Typical Contemporary Service

Congregational Announcements

Special Musical Selection

Call to Worship (may include drama or dance)

Singing of Praise and Worship Choruses

Pastoral Prayer

Interactive Congregational Prayer and Testimony

Collection of the Offering

Special Musical Selection

Sermon or Pastoral Message

Invitation to Respond

Closing Song


Typical Blended Service

Congregational Announcements

Call to Worship

Singing of Hymns

Collection of the Offering

Special Musical Selection

Singing of Worship Choruses

Pastoral Prayer

Special Musical Selection

Sermon or Pastoral Message

Invitation to Respond

Closing Song


Typical Seeker Service

Special Musical Selection

Topical Drama

Special Musical Selection

Pastoral Talk


Special Musical Selection


Here is a practical spiritually sound outline to help you prepare your first or consecutive sermons together.

1). Pray to seek Gods will for what to speak about. Pray regularly and plenty in advance of the time that you will be preaching. It is very important to be willing to preach about anything God would impress on your heart to speak about.

2). Select a topic that you feel God would want you to preach on for that particular group or congregation and at that particular time. Any good sermon is going to be applicable for the group of people you are going to minister to.

3). If you are not familiar with scripture related to that topic, use a concordance or Biblical topical reference book to assist you to find passages in scripture relating to the subject you have chosen. The following are helpful ways to study the Bible for personal spiritual growth and for researching sermon outlines;


The Strongs Concordance is considered by many theologians and Biblical scholars to be the key foundational tool that will help connect and better define various scripture passages. The Strongs contains three separate dictionaries (Hebrew, Chaldee & Greek) which bring definition to literally every word in the King James version of the Bible. You can use other translations of the bible, however the Strongs will work more efficiently with the King James. Some of the software that is available now for computers will automatically correlate the various English translations of the Bible into the Strongs word numbering system.

The Strongs takes every word in the King James version of the Bible back to its original text language (Hebrew, Chaldee or Greek) and assigns a number to it in what ever original language it is in.

The main concordance is found in the front of the Strongs. Every English word used in the King James Bible is listed in alphabetical order. Example: Jeremiah 5:9 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? (KJV)

Lets say that we want to know more about the word "avenged" and how it is used in that passage of scripture. We would open our Strongs to the front part called the main concordance and look for the word "avenged". Once we find it in the alphabetical listing, it can be noticed that the word "avenged" is used 15 times in the entire King James Bible. Underneath the word avenged in the concordance we will find ever reference listed chronologically from the beginning of the Bible until the end of the Bible. Looking down a little ways we will see the Jeremiah 5:9 reference listed. Next to it will be printed phrase containing the word we are researching : "shall not my soul be avenged on such".

Immediately to the right of that phrase you will see a three or four digit number. This is called the word number. If the verse you are researching is in the Old Testament the word will be defined in the Hebrew or Chaldee dictionary towards the back of Strongs. If the verse you are researching is from the New Testament you will find the word defined in the Greek dictionary section of the Strongs. Simply go to the appropriate dictionary section of the Strongs and look for the numbered word (they are listed chronologically by number in the dictionary).

When you find the numbered word, many times there will be a phonetic breakdown of the word, showing you how to pronounce the word. Then there will be a brief and basic definition of the word and explaining how the word can be used as a noun, verb, pronoun, adjective, adverb etc. In the definition it might list other words from the same dictionary and the appropriate numbers for those words. It is very helpful to reference those words also to see how the word you are looking for could be more thoroughly defined or used. Example : the word "avenged" (from Jeremiah 5:9) is Strongs word 5358 "naqam" in the Hebrew dictionary section. The word is adequately defined as "to avenge or punish" with no other words referenced in its definition.

Another example would be the word "true" in 1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.(KJV) In the Strongs the word true is Greek word number 4103 "pistos" which is primarily defined as objectively trustworthy. It also says that it is derived from another greek word number 3982 "peitho", which means to convince through the use of an argument or analogy. Notice how much more depth the verse now has when you see the way the original text has a more layered definition.

Many times this layering affect of definitions will go two or three layers deep. It is very important to look at al of the meanings and definitions of the words that comprise the original word you are researching. You will notice how some of these will interlock and support one another, giving a more richer conept of the original word.


Once you have found the word in the Strongs Concordance and have researched it through that "tool" you may want to see it in a more critical and applicable light.

There are many Greek and Hebrew dictionaries and word studies available on the market as well as on line. Most of them are not based on the Strongs Concordance numbering system, but rather display the words alphabetically in their original text. This is why you need to see the actual word in the original text if you start out in a Strongs Concordance.

Specialized Greek and Hebrew dictionaries will more thoroughly define the words using much of the "layering" we previously discussed in the core definition in an expanded text.

Word studies are also reference texts that help you see how the word you are researching might have been typically used in the culture and society of the time that particular passage of scripture was written. These can help us better interpret what the author was really trying to communicate on a cultural or sociological platform. It also helps us "de-American-ize" our viewpoint of the Bible. Many times we read the Bible as if it was a book written in North America during our lifetime. So an English word used in a translation of the Bible might have a slightly different use or definition in our time than was originally intended. The problem lies in the fact that it (the translation word) probably was the best available word to use by the translator at the time, since the English language tends to be narrow in its use and definition. This is why word studies can be very helpful in a thorough Bible study system.


Commentaries can be very helpful in the interpretation of passages of scripture. When reviewing the comments of another theologian or commentator, it is essential to understand that these are merely reflections and perceptions of scripture by other humans. Commentaries are not considered to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and are definitely not equal to the scriptures contained in the Bible.

They will give you a variety of insights into various passages of scripture which you may have never been exposed to. Many times the variety of viewpoints will bring a more balanced perspective into our method of analysis and interpretation of the Bible.

Popular traditional commentators include ones written by Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes William Barclay, W.A. Criswell, Frank Gaebelein, Matthew Henry, Charles Hodge, Thomas Oden, Matthew Poole and many others. There are many others in the last century who have issued and published their notes and commentaries on a wide variety of Biblical texts. The main thing to remember is that the words of a commentary are just that. They are the words of a man and his perception or interpretation of scripture. We must be diligent to acknowledge where the Holy Scriptures end and the commentators notes begin in our thinking. Many up and coming Bible scholars end up studying the commentaries more than the scriptures, hoping to find answers to their own misconceptions and lack of enthusiasm to search the scriptures for themselves. Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (NIV) Notice these Christians at Berea used the Scriptures to test the words of Paul. Many times in modern Christianity we go to the commentators to see whether the Bible fits our mold correctly. This pattern of searching the scriptures given to us by the Berean Christians is correct motivation for Bible study even today.


Many Biblical students find that the use of maps and archeological references help make the Bible much more understandable and easier to follow. Even though the region of the middle east and/or the Roman Empire stayed the same through the recorded history of the Bible, the provinces, territories and National boundaries changed somewhat across the centuries.

Keeping a group of maps handy during Bible study will help you understand the topography and the distance between related cities and countries. It may also help you understand the use of time in the Bible also. The following is a list of maps that you might find helpful in your research and study of the Bible;

    • Map of Genesis and early civilization

    • Map of the exodus and journey through the wilderness

    • Map of conquering the promised land of Canaan

    • Map of Israel during the reign of the kings

    • Map of the known world during the time of the prophets

    • Map of the Roman Empire during the life of Jesus Christ

Many times Biblical archeological studies will also prove to be interesting and informative to the student of scriptures. Archeological reports tend to be very confirming and assuring of Biblical history and sociology.

There is an increasing amount of information on maps and archeology on the internet. Many maps can be downloaded and usually without cost. There are countless pages of reports on Biblical and mid eastern archeology. The irony of much of the middle eastern archeological reports is that even from secular non religious sources, they all seem to be very confirming of scriptural historical and geographical accounts.

4). Formulate 3-5 key points or words to emphasize about the selected topic in Scripture. Make these emphasis for the entire sermon. They should be simple to understand and easy to remember.

5). You may want to use an example story, an object lesson, a simple drama or a poem to illustrate various aspects of the selected subject and/or scriptures. This helps the hearer remember what the main point or points are.

6). Summarize your points and create a challenge and/or application of the topic for the congregational members to use or apply personally to their lives. Sermopns are tools by which God effects change or the potential for change in the listeners life.

7). Close with a prayer and an invitation of response from the congregation. This may include a call of the congregation to the front of the church for prayer or a show of hands from those who are requesting prayer or responding to the message from God that they have just heard.


1). Special Musical Selection

2). Welcoming of Family and Guests

3). Reading of Obituary or Eulogy

4). Special Musical Selection

5). Scripture Reading

Examples of commonly used scriptures

Psalms 23:1-6

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; he leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

John 11:25-26

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

John 14:1-6

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. "And where I go you know, and the way you know." Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

2 Timothy 4:6-8

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Revelation 1:5-8

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Additional Choices in Scripture : Isaiah 43:1-3, II Corinthians 1:3-7, Psalms 116:15

6). Pastoral Prayer

7). Message

Use personal references to issue comfort and encouragement to survivors and friends. Refrain from personal opinions and judgements. You may want to use some of the above scriptures that have not been previously read.

8). Closing Prayer


1). Reading of Scripture


Revelation 21:3-5

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

2). Brief Words of Commission and Encouragement

3). Prayer

4). Committal Rights

Example 1

Ashes to Ashes. Dust to Dust

From the dust of the earth we were formed and to the earth we shall all return. So in that belief we commit the body of our beloved father / mother / brother / sister / son / daughter back to the earth from which he / she was formed. Placing our complete trust in the faithfulness of God to resurrect him / her into a new and eternal spiritual body of life everlasting. (optional) May his / her soul and souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Example 2

For as much as it has pleased Almighty God our Heavenly Father to take unto Himself the soul of our beloved brother/sister, we now tenderly commit his/her mortal remains back to the earth from which he/she created. This body may dissolve into the earth, but the spirit of our brother/sister we commend into the hands of God knowing that he is a just and righteous in all His ways.

5). Benediction

Examples of benedictions

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy--to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (from the book of Jude)

And now may the peace of God the Father, the love of His only Son Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit be with you and go with until we all meet together again. In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. Man the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen. (from the book of Numbers)


1). Special Musical Selections

2). Processional of Bridesmaids and Bride. Groom, groomsmen and minister should already be at the front of the sanctuary.

3). Welcome and Introductory Statements

Dearly beloved we are gathered here today in the sight of God and these witness to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony. This honorable ordinance is not to be entered into lightly or with out counsel and advice. Both the man and the woman should commit their lives to this act reverently and soberly with a clear conscience before God and before man. If any man can show just cause why these two cannot be lawfully joined together, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.

4). The Giving Away of the Bride

"Who gives this woman to be married to this man?

5). Pastoral Commission to the Bride and Groom

The Old Testament prophet Malachi makes this proclamation of the Lord God Almighty in regards to marriage when he says "Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.

6). Pastoral Commission to the Family and Friends

It is your job as witnesses of this testimony of love displayed here before you this day to encourage, love and support these two on their walk together from this time forward.

7). Repeating of the Vows

I (groom) take thee (bride) to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to Gods holy ordinance, and thereto I pledge you my love.

I (bride) take thee (groom) to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to Gods holy ordinance, and thereto I pledge you my love.


8). Ring Ceremony (Special musical selections may be used to introduce this section)

With this ring, I thee wed , as a token of my love and unending faithfulness I give it to thee as a constant reminder of our lives together as one.


9). Unity Candle Ceremony (optional)

Both the bride and groom now take the individually lit candles before them which represent their separate lives up until this day. As the they jointly light the unity candle in the center with each of their flames and then extinguish their own individual candles they portray by example the unity of there lives together now as one.

In Genesis 2:24 we read "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."

10). Pastoral Prayer of Blessing

Our gracious heavenly Father, we ask your blessing upon this couple as they begin their new life together this day. Strengthen them, guide them and protect them, and lead them and their family in the paths of righteousness according to the salvation provided for them in the death, burial and resurrection of your only Son Jesus Christ, in whose name we now humbly pray, Amen.

Those who God hath joined together let no man put asunder.

11). The Pronouncement and Bridal Kiss

By the power vested in me by the State of __________ and the calling and ordination to ministry by God our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ his only Son, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride.



12). First Presentation of the Couple

It is now my privilege to introduce to you for the first time Mr. & Mrs. (Name)

13). Recessional


1). Singing of a Song (Chorus or Hymn)

2). Introduction of the candidate(s)

3). Questioning and Response of the Candidate(s)


- Have you personally accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior and repented from your sins?

- Is it your desire from this day forward to serve Him faithfully in all aspects of your life?

4). Proclamation

Optional Proclamation

a). I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit

b). I baptize you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

5). Immersion of the Candidate(s).

6). Singing of a Song (Chorus or Hymn)

7). Benediction


Go in peace to serve our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully throughout your life!


1). Reading of Scripture

1 Corinthians 11:23-30

The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

2). Distribute the bread

3). Invitation to partake of the bread (optional prayer)

4). Distribute the cup (wine or juice)

5). Invitation to partake of the cup (optional prayer)

6). Prayer of Thanksgiving and Dedication

7). Benediction


Dont be bound to traditions and rituals unless they are spiritually beneficial to your congregation. Try various liturgies or additions to the service and see how your congregation reacts or doesnt react. Be sensitive to the needs of your congregation. Every congregation has general spiritual needs. They are prayer, including special or personalized prayer for specific needs and circumstances in the parishioners life. Also there is a need for fellowship and for Bible instruction and discipleship.

Learn to recognize and appoint the real leaders (not necessarily the popular ones) of the church. These would be the elders and deacons and deaconesses.

In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy and gives him the qualities of an elder and a deacon. Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap. Bishops, Elders, Overseers and Pastors are all Biblically synonymous ministry names.

Overseers must have three important spiritual traits
1). good manager of his home and family
2). spiritual maturity
3). good reputation outside of the church real good character (vs.7)

This is defined as follows:
1). above reproach (cannot be continually being accused)
2). cannot practice polygamy (not more than one spouse)
3). practices self control (not explosive in situations)
4). respected by other Christians
5). hospitable towards those in the community
6). be able to teach the Bible (communication skills)
7). not an alcoholic (no abuse of alcohol or mind altering substances)
8). non violent
9). gentle (dependably kind)
10). does not engage in unnecessary arguments
11). does not have a love of money.


Other ministry leaders may be needed for special ministry groups such as a singles group or a teen fellowship, or maybe a senior adult group. Volunteers and workers will need to be recruited from time to time to help in supportive roles and general assistance.

Learn to know when enough is enough. Know the boundaries by which you will live your life in ministry. Share those boundaries with someone you trust so that they may hold you accountable to such limitations. Then commit yourself to live in that realm of accountability. Set obtainable goals and be willing to delegate responsibilities for the things that you can not or are not able to participate in.

Live an active prayer life for the congregation you serve and for yourself. The more you communicate with God the more you will draw into Him and know His will for your life and your congregations. "Prayer care" is the most important part of your life. Listen for Gods voice as you study His word the Bible. Study the Bible and pray ! Let your life be a reflection of the glory of Jesus Christ!


Apostle - One who reaches across cultures with a specific message to the establishment of the church

Canon - The books of the Bible, sacred scriptural writings. 

Christology - The study of and the understanding of the life, purpose and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Eschatology - The study of an the understanding of things yet to happen.

Evangelism - The act of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and perpetuating the Christian faith to those who have not come into the faith.

Hermeneutics - The various ways and rules for interpreting the Holy Bible.

Homeletics - The skill involved in preparing and delivering sermons, Bible studies and other scriptural teachings.

Pastor - One who acts as a shepherd (guardian) of the church  

Pneumatology - The study of and the understanding of the Holy Spirit.  

Prophet - One who proclaims the truth

Theology - The study of and the understandng of God 


Covenant Community Ministry
P.O. Box 750491
Dayton, Ohio 45475-0491