What is FCM Commissioning?
Commissioning is recognition of the call from a community of believers for a member to function as a minister, particularly in those ministries with a civil requirement such as witnessing marriages and providing pastoral care as chaplains.
How does one get commissioned?
The applicant, who is a member of FCM, will provide the following to the regional vice president(s), an officer of the Circle of Directors elected by members in the geographical region of the applicant:
1. The completed, signed Commissioning Application, a part of the New Member Packet available from FCM, Central Office/ Membership, 1709 West 69th Street #3, Cleveland, Ohio 44102-2957. Or click on the link above to download a pdf form of the application.
2. Three letters of recommendation, at least one of which is from an active FCM member. If the applicant does not know an active member, it is incumbent upon the regional vice president(s) to facilitate an introduction to a member from the applicantâ€™s geographical area. The regional vice president will verify the authenticity of the letters.
3. Criminal background clearances from any state in which the applicant lived must be obtained before being commissioned. This will require an additional fee on the part of the candidate. You must complete the form available at http://www.federationofchristianministries.org/images/PDF/fcmdisclosurepinkerton092011.pdf. The fee for the background check is $60.
4. The name of someone to serve as your ministry colleague. This individual should be a person with whom you can exchange ministry concerns and mutually assist in professional/spiritual growth. This colleague should serve as a mentor in the early stages of oneâ€™s commission.
5. A one-page statement of your ministerial self-understanding, which includes a description of your ministry, your reason(s) for seeking commissioning, and how you will maintain your community relationship with FCM.
6. An additional statement of your professional skills and education/training already attained or a plan to acquire them. A lack of education or ministerial preparedness may require further study, course work, or obtaining a certificate of ministry preparation from any approved college or university such as Global Ministries University, an FCM affiliate. Any program of study must be approved by the Circle of Directors.
7. An updated resume.
8. The necessary fee payable to â€œFederation of Christian Ministriesâ€ is $160, which includes the $60 fee for the background check.
Who may apply for commissioning?
Commissioning is open to all FCM members regardless of race, creed, gender, age, religious affiliation or sexual orientation. However, the presentation of the materials does not in itself assure that the member will be commissioned.
The decision both for initial and continuing commissioning rests with the Circle of Directors.
How long does the process take?
Once the applicantâ€™s requirements for commissioning have been met, the applicantâ€™s name will be submitted for approval at the next meeting of the Circle of Directors. Meetings are held semiannually. There is no minimum waiting period either to begin the process or to be commissioned beyond awaiting the next meeting of the Circle of Directors.
What is the term for commissioning?
Upon approval of commissioning, a certificate of ministry will be issued to the member. Commissioning for all members is valid for one calendar year. It is renewable for all, regardless of the month when they were first commissioned, at the time the annual membership dues are paid and the annual report is submitted. The annual renewal is from January 1 to December 31. The membership dues for commissioned members is determined by the Circle of Directors and must accompany the annual report.
What else do I need to know?
A commissioned member who witnesses a marriage acts as an agent of the state as well as a minister of the gospel on behalf of FCM and is responsible to conform to all the legal requirements for witnessing a marriage.
Commissioned members are responsible for their own liability insurance and their own professional license(s).
Commissioning is not an indication of license for such things as psychological counseling.