Commissioning Polity Manual

What is Commissioning?

Policies and Guidelines for Commissioned Members of FCM

"Called by God's Spirit and grounded in personal spiritual practice, the Federation of Christian Ministries responds by worshiping God and supporting the growth in faith and ministry of its individual and collective members. Our Christ-inspired organization does this by welcoming people of all spiritual persuasions. We offer commissioning to those who have discerned a call to ministry."
The Federation of Christian Ministries (FCM) provides its members with opportunities for public ministry through its process of Commissioning. FCM Commissioning is a unique process for the FCM member and is not transferable to another organization. Only FCM members may apply for FCM Commissioning. In FCM all members are equal and without distinction. Commissioned or not Commissioned, all have equal dignity and value.
Commissioning is the recognition of a call to public ministry by a community of believers. This ministry may include witnessing marriages, providing pastoral care as a chaplain, or other forms of public ministry. Commissioning is essentially an "ordination," the authorization to minister on behalf of FCM, and an affirmation by FCM that the commissioned person meets the criteria of FCM in recognizing its members.
The statutes of most states require authorization by a recognized ministerial body for those ministers officiating at weddings. The term commonly used by these national bodies is "commissioning," the term adopted by FCM.

What is the process?

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.
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 applicant'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.
4. The name of someone to serve as the candidate's ministerial colleague. It is recommended that the ministerial colleague be an FCM member with whom the commissioned member can exchange ministry concerns and mutually assist in professional/spiritual growth. This colleague should serve as a mentor in the early stages of one's Commissioning.
5. A one-page statement of candidate's ministerial self-understanding, which includes a description of the candidate's reason(s) for seeking FCM commissioning, and how the candidate plans to maintain her/his community relationship with FCM.
6. An additional statement of the candidate's professional skills and education/ training already attained or a plan to acquire them. The regional vice-president will determine the suitability of the candidate's academic, pastoral, and personal qualifications. This determination may be made in consultation with the Commissioning Chair. A lack of education or ministerial preparedness may require further study, course work, or obtaining a certificate of ministry preparation from an approved college, university, or seminary such as Global Ministry University. Any program of study must be approved by the regional vicepresident in consultation with the Circle of Directors.
7. An updated resume.
8. The necessary Commissioning application fee payable to 'Federation of Christian
Ministries,' which will include the fee for the background check.

Who may apply for commissioning?

Commissioning is open to all FCM members. However, the presentation of the materials does not in itself assure that the member will be commissioned.

Who decides?

The decision to Commission rests with the Circle of Directors at one of its semiannual meetings.

How long does it take?

Once the applicant's requirements for commissioning have been met, the applicant's name will be submitted for approval at the next meeting of the Circle of Directors. 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?

Commissioning for all members is valid for one 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. Upon approval of Commissioning, a certificate of ministry will be issued to the member.

What is required to maintain FCM Commissioning?

To maintain one's authorization to function as a minister in the name of FCM, a Commissioned member must submit his or her dues and annual report in a timely manner. A person's Commission can be revoked at any time. However, this is quite rare, usually involving a violation of FCM's code of ethics, the professional standards of the agency served, or the laws of conduct of legal entities of the locality of the minister.

What else do I need to know?

A Commissioned member who witnesses a marriage acts as a civil official as well as a minister of FCM and is responsible to conform to all the legal requirements for witnessing a marriage in that locality. Commissioning is the official authorization by FCM that the commissioned member is in good standing with FCM.
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.