As a part of the Houston Metro Presbytery, the Candidates and Credentials Committee handles the examination of men who are preparing for the gospel ministry in the PCA in the Houston area. Examination and preparation for ministry come under the authority of the PCA’s Book of Church Order (BCO), which you can find Here. There are several terms used by the BCO that you should become familiar with:
Candidate. (sometimes called, “Under Care”) “A candidate for ministry is a member of the church in full communion who, believing himself to be called to preach the Gospel, submits himself to the care and guidance of the presbytery in his course of study and of practical training to prepare himself for this office.” (BCO 18-1) Every applicant for candidacy must have been a member of the congregation whose Session provides an endorsement for at least six months before filing his application. Candidacy is a required step in the process toward ordination in that an approved internship is required for ordination (BCO 19-7 and 21-2).
Licensure. “To preserve the purity of the preaching of the Gospel, no man is permitted to preach in the pulpits of the Presbyterian Church in America on a regular basis without proper licensure from the presbytery having jurisdiction where he will preach.” (BCO 19-1). If you are preaching in the Presbytery more than occasionally (a few times per year), please contact the Chairman of the Committee to determine whether you need to be licensed by Presbytery. Candidacy is not required for licensure, nor is membership in a PCA congregation. Licensure is not necessarily a requirement for ordination.
Internship. “The Holy Scriptures require that some trial be previously made of those who are to be ordained to the ministry of the Word, both concerning their gifts and concerning their ability to rule as teaching elders…. To provide for such a period of trial, a candidate for ordination must serve an internship. This period of internship shall be at least one year in length, and may be longer at the discretion of the presbytery so as to give sufficient time for the presbytery to judge the candidate’s qualifications and service.” (BCO 19-7) Internship is a formal process. It is NOT just a job in a church which might happen to be called an internship. Presbytery must approve and act upon an internship request. Certain requirements, which differ from presbytery to presbytery, are required to be met.
Ordination. “Ordination is the authoritative admission of one duly called to an office in the Church of God…” (BCO 17-2) There are several requirements which must be met in order to proceed to ordination. Among them, a completed internship, a call to a specific ministry, and a series of educational and examination requirements. (See BCO 21)
If you are considering the gospel ministry in the PCA, the best place to begin is to contact the Chairman of the Candidates and Credentials Committee, Rev. Fred Greco. You may also want to consider downloading a copy of our Committee Manual, available Here. Don’t worry if, as you review it, you don’t understand everything. The Committee will be glad to clarify the requirements. The Manual contains checklists, forms, and other helpful material.
You may also be considering a transfer to the Houston Metro Presbytery from another PCA Presbytery. The Manual will provide you with the requirements and forms under the section “Transfer.”
Currently, the Houston Metro Presbytery meets on the following dates:
3rd Friday of January
2nd Friday of April
3rd Monday of August
2nd Monday of November
May the Lord bless you as you seek His will for your future ministry!