How to Be Ordained as a Pastor Under Southern Baptist Conventions

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For a Baptist church to participate in the annual Southern Baptist Convention, it must follow the tenets of faith proscribed by the convention and be regular financial contributors to that organization. The Southern Baptist Convention, also referred to as SBC, gives its members significant autonomy to make decisions about ordaining a pastor, and the Convention itself has no process or protocol for ordaining ministers. In fact, it cannot perform that duty for any church. The SBC does restrict pastorships to men only.

Join a church that is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Each individual church that belongs to the SBC makes decisions on a local level that include whom to ordain.

Talk to your pastor when you feel a calling to the ministry. He will counsel you about your faith to ensure that you follow the basic teachings practiced within the SBC, such as the quote from the Bible's New Testament book 1 Timothy, where Chapter 3, verses 1-7 refer to taking time to make important decisions about church leaders.

Attend a seminary to increase your chances of being approved by the church council. You want to come across as learned and well-trained, even though the actual requirements for ordination lie with each individual church.

Request a meeting with the church deacons about getting approval for ordination. Usually a council of other pastors or deacons convenes to discuss the application. The council will hear your testimony to determine your sincerity, and then decide whether to grant your ordination.

Participate in the ordination ceremony following the procedures of your particular church. You’ll attend a formal interview while facing your congregation and panel of pastors or deacons. You may also have to deliver a "trial sermon." Neighboring Baptists often are invited to attend ordinations as well.

Accept the license provided by the church members and undergo a laying on of hands from the other ordained ministers in attendance. You may receive a new Bible at the time as you and your family are welcomed into your new role in the church.


Tithe regularly to your church before being considered for ordination. Even if you are chosen to lead another congregation, you’ll have to show proof that you follow biblical suggestions for tithing.


There is really only one rule that precludes a church from sending a representative to the annual convention and that is if you support homosexuality in any form. If you speak out for acceptance of homosexuality or endorse the behavior, your church will be banned from participating in the Southern Baptist Convention. You also must ensure that your church makes regular contributions to the convention to remain in good standing with the SBC.