The Regional Commission On Ministry (RCOM) establishes guidelines and policies for ministry and preparation for ministry that correspond with the guidelines and standards of the General Commission On Ministry (GCOM). This includes approving and taking “under-care” (i.e., providing guidance and resources) those interested in entering into ministry, as well as supporting clergy with standing through networking, educational opportunities, response to individual concerns, and prayer. The RCOM also addresses any ministerial issues that arise within the Region.
Ministry in the Arizona Region
Ministry in the Christian Church in Arizona takes several important forms, each with different roles, expectations, and levels of experience or education. The three primary categories are Lay Ministry, Commissioned Ministry, and Ordained Ministry. We invite you to review each of the three below to help guide your discernment.
Before accepting a candidate for Commissioning or Ordination, the Regional Commission on Ministry (RCOM) considers the following:
- the personal, inward call from God, which leads persons to seek such ministry
- the God-given gifts and graces
- the personal characteristics and aptitudes
- the preparation and promise (e.g. education, skills, etc.) that they have for effective ministry
Using these criteria the church discerns whom it will Commission and/or Ordain. The RCOM is eager to help candidates discern their calling to ministry, whether it be lived out as a lay member, or an ordained or commissioned minister.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from our early beginnings has affirmed the “priesthood of all believers”. We celebrate the importance of lay leadership and ministry within congregations and consider that all Christian people, through their baptism, have been blessed by God to use their gifts to serve God and neighbor. For most Christians, lay leadership is the place of ministry to which they are called. Perhaps this is your place of calling in ministry.
Lay leaders and servants do not need to be credentialed or supervised by the Arizona Regional Commission on Ministry (RCOM). We thank you for your service.
Commissioned Ministry acknowledges the calling of the Holy Spirit and a commitment to professional education for ministry. Commissioned ministers may include pastors, evangelists, Christian educators, ministers of music, youth ministers, parish nurses, chaplains, and bi-vocational ministers.
There are currently two categories of Commissioned Ministry
- Those seeking Ordination, serving in a specific Congregation or Regional position, and who are under care of the Region in preparation for Ordination.
- Those not seeking Ordination, whose call is context specific and affirmed by the Region, in consultation with the calling congregation, Region or General church.
Basic Criteria for Commissioned Ministry (for a full and official list review the AZPCOM):
- Be a baptized member of a Disciples congregation in Arizona and serving in a Congregationally, Regionally or Generally recognized call;
- Be recommended for Commissioning by a recognized congregation or congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona. This is understood to include congregations in formation and affiliating congregations, including the one in which their membership is held;
- Meet with the Regional Commission on Ministry regarding the process & requirements for becoming commissioned;
- Successfully complete a psychological and ministry assessment approved the the Regional Commission on Ministry (RCOM);
- Comply with other reasonable expectations established by the Region including continuing education, ministerial supervisor evaluations, and yearly standing requirements (knowledge, growth, and competency in the 16 general areas of ministerial practices and the specialty area of ministry for which the candidate is being commissioned is expected);
- Agree to adhere to the Ministerial Code of Ethics of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Commissioned Ministers are normally commissioned by the Region for a period of one year, renewable upon review.
The Commissioned Minister status is not automatically transferable to another Region. The Commissioned Minster must: request a transfer, request the Regional Minister send a recommendation letter to the Region in which the Commissioned Minister wishes to serve
All Commissioned Ministers are assigned an Ordained Minister as a Mentor, with whom they meet regularly.
Ordained ministers are set apart for “leadership in the life and witness of the church.” Ordination into Christian ministry is understood to be for life, and once a minister is ordained in one Region they are recognized by all Regions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada.
Requirements for Ordained Ministry are described in detail in the Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona (linked on this page). They include, but are not limited to:
- All Ordained Ministers and candidates for becoming an Ordained Minister must be a baptized member of a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation;
- Successful completion of a Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent from an institution of higher education accredited by the Association of Theological Schools or the Association for Biblical Higher Learning;
- Theological study and competence in 16 general areas of ministerial practices as defined in the General Commission on Ministry (GCOM) document “Theological Foundations and Policies and Criteria for the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)“;
- Supervised field experience in the work of ministry, exhibiting competencies in the area of ministry in which the candidate desires to serve;
- Successful completion of a psychological and ministry assessment approved the the Regional Commission on Ministry (RCOM);
- Agree to adhere to the Ministerial Code of Ethics of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Ordained Ministers must meet requirements for standing within the Christian Church (Disciples or Christ). Standing as an Ordained Minister within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is credentialed by the Region and reviewed annually.
Any minister from another denomination seeking recognition and standing must meet the same qualifications and standards of preparation for Disciples of Christ ministry set forth in the Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry. Provisional or temporary standing may be granted upon fulfillment of certain requirements.
Connecting with RCOM
Persons who desire to begin working towards Ordination or Commissioned Ministry are encouraged to connect with the Regional Office as soon as possible. Typically, a potential candidate will first have a conversation with the Regional Minister or the Regional Commission on Ministry (RCOM) chair. Additionally, the potential candidate will be provided with links to pertinent documents (all available on this website) to begin their process. A few important items to note:
- All potential candidates are encouraged to read (especially sections and attachments related to their potential ministry track) the Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona. The full document is visable below.
- Initiation of this process (completing and submitting both the “Candidate Form” and “DOC Discovery” prerequisite documents), as well as on-going follow up, is the responsibility of the candidate.
- A meeting/interview with the RCOM will be arranged after a candidate meets with the Regional Minister and completes the “Candidate Form” and “DOC Discovery” prerequisite document. Once both have been completed and submitted the candidate may contact the Regional Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule an interview.
- It is understood that any inquiry does not in any way obligate the candidate or the RCOM.
- When an official relationship is established (agreed upon only after an interview), the candidate will become “Under Care” of the RCOM. The ordained track and commissioned track have distinct requirements for becoming “Under Care”. Please refer to documentation specific to the track you are pursuing.
Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona
From the Preface – Theological Foundations and Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry, as it may be amended from time to time, (TFPCOM) became the policy document on the Ordering of Ministry for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada on August 1, 2011. The TFPCOM, therefore, is the foundational document for all expressions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona (the “Arizona Region”), with respect to the Ordering of Ministry… This document, Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona… (as it may be amended from time to time) (AZPCOM), contains a brief summary of the rights and responsibilities of the Arizona Region for the Ordering of Ministry under the TFPCOM. It also contains additional policies and criteria established by the Arizona Region, primarily through the [Regional Commission on Ministry] (RCOM), to facilitate the exercise of those rights and the fulfillment of those responsibilities.”
These documents were accepted by the RCOM on 02/26/2019 as well as the Administrative Council and Mission Focus Team on 03/09/2019. The RCOM will continue to revise and amend the documents as necessary, from time to time.
- Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona (AZPCOM) with Attachments and Appendices English | Spanish
- Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona (AZPCOM) English | Spanish
- AZPCOM Attachment A: Additional Guidelines and Resources for Commissioned Ministry in the Arizona Region English | Spanish
- AZPCOM Attachment B: Additional Guidelines and Resources for Ordained Ministry in the Arizona Region English | Spanish
- AZPCOM Attachment C: Additional Guidelines and Resources for Standing in the Arizona Region English | Spanish
- AZPCOM Attachment D: Additional Guideline and Resources for Ministerial Conduct in the Arizona Region English | Spanish
- AZPCOM Attachment D Appendix I: Clergy Sexual Misconduct Policy English | Spanish
- AZPCOM Attachment D Appendix II: Other Categories of Ministerial Misconduct English | Spanish
Structure of the Commission
As indicated by both “The Theological Foundations and Policies and Criteria for the Ordering of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)” and the “The Policies and Criteria of the Ordering of Ministry for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona” the Arizona Regional Commission on Ministry (RCOM) is responsible, within the guidelines of those documents and the By-Laws of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona to discern and maintain its structure. Click each title below to read the most recent RCOM approved structures.
The Arizona Regional Commission on Ministry (RCOM) is responsible for establishing procedures to evaluate applicants for Ordination; facilitate continuing education, including training in healthy boundaries and anti-racism; establishing proper criteria for granting and certifying ongoing standing to persons seeking Disciples standing in the Arizona Region; as well as other appropriate issues that arise concerning minister and ministry in the Arizona Region.
From the By-Laws Of The Christian Church (Disciples Of Christ) In Arizona, INC., 2016; SECTION B. Commission on Ministry, Page 4 “The Commission on Ministry will be responsible to the Mission Focus Team.”
Chair and Members
The Chair of the Regional Commission on Ministry (RCOM) is appointed by the Moderator in consultation with the Regional Minster and President and may serve a total of four years. They will also serve on the Mission Focus Team as voting member and representative to that team of the RCOM.
The chair, in consultation with the Regional Minister and the Moderator, shall appoint the members of the Commission. The RCOM shall consist of at least five members. There shall be intentional diversity in the membership of RCOM including (but not limited to): age; active and retired clergy/laity; experience; expertise; gender identity; geography; and representation from Arizona Convención congregations.
Terms for members will be staggered and will be two years with the possibility of a second term (or third in special circumstances).
The Regional Commission on Ministry (RCOM) will hold four scheduled meetings (two in-person) per calendar year with specific meetings set for interviews. Additional meetings will be called as necessary.
Decisions resulting in major consequences shall be determined by a 75% consensus. Opinions may be given in person, through technology conferencing, and by written response. The Chair & the Regional Minister will have voting privileges.