Provisional Credentialing Requirements for Congregations

Two categories of credentialing status exist for Church of God congregations.  The goal of congregations is to obtain full certification in the Church of God movement.  In most cases, however, the road to full certification requires provisional credentialing.

 The Credentials Manual (2017) positively affirms the provisional status of congregations resulting from new church planting (see section 6.23).  In these cases, the local congregation agrees to two wide parameters including:  a) working cooperatively with the credentials committee, especially in such matters as calling a pastor and supply preachers; and b) ensuring conformity to the norms set forth for all Church of God congregations (see section 6.11). The local church will also receive counsel on health matters from the State Administrator and/or credentialing committee as well as having periodic reviews as the congregation moves toward obtaining full certification.  Congregations seeking certification from other avenues will undergo other measures to determine its viability within the Church of God movement.

As provisional status is generally the first step in the credentialing process, a few steps are important before provisional status may be granted.  These steps are outlined below.

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5

Important Notes on Certification

According to section 4.30, it is the responsibility of the individual minister and congregation to maintain ordination and registration.  In Texas, this means completing registration processes with both the national office (due annually) and the state office (due by April 1).

Section 4.52 emphasizes this point in the following way: “Because of legal statutes applicable to not-for-profit organizations, it is essential that congregations register annually with their assemblies and with Church of God Ministries, Anderson, Indiana, for proper listing in the Yearbook of the Church of God. Failure to register for two consecutive years may result in the loss of a congregation’s 501(c)(3) status. If this loss occurs, the congregation is no longer eligible to submit contribution reports for IRS purposes.”

In addition to the above important notes, the role of the credentials committee should also be cited. According to section 7.20, the following may also take place:
“The credentialing committee may intervene in congregational life and/or pastoral vocation for purposes of consultation, counsel, and/or discipline when circumstances appear to warrant, especially when such intervention is requested in writing by a recognized authority of the congregation. Such authorities include:

  • A.   Pastor or pastoral staff.
  • B.   Governing board of the congregation.
  • C.   A petitioned request as provided for in congregational bylaws.

Additionally, the credentialing committee may seek intervention at its own initiative when it becomes aware that a congregation and/or pastor substantially deviates from accepted practices or standards of the Church of God movement, or when the congregation or pastor is at risk and no intervention request is forthcoming. Strict congregational autonomy, when it functions without regard to consequences to the larger church, is not part of the teaching ideal of the Church of God movement. Credentialing committees will investigate and make recommendations to the congregational staff and leadership. “

For more information on the provisional process, please contact the State Office or the Credentials Committee Chairperson.