“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” Ephesians 4: 11-12
Exploring Ordination in the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania
All disciples of Jesus are called to be ministers (servants) of God, and God gives to each person gifts by His Spirit with which to serve the church (eg. 1 Corinthians 12). It is a joy for us to use those gifts and indeed our whole lives in His service.
God also gives particular gifts to some disciples which are used for equipping and training others in ministry (eg. Ephesians 4). The church financially supports and sets apart some of those people to carry out those roles (eg. 1 Timothy 5:17).
Considering vocational (paid) ministries
The Anglican Church in Tasmania has a range of vocational (paid) ministries that can be full or part-time, such as:
- Children’s and/or Youth Ministry
- Other specialist ministries (eg. Discipleship)
- Church administration
- Chaplaincy in schools, prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, armed services
There are also other opportunities in parachurch organisations, such as overseas mission, or state school chaplaincy.
The Anglican Church has three orders of ordained ministers, Deacon, Priest and Bishop, who are set apart by the Church. The Ordinal in the Prayer Book outlines the serious nature of this ministry and its high calling. Ordination involves a person expressing the intention to undertake ordained ministry for the rest of their life and the public recognition by the Church that they have the desire, convictions, character and gifts to do so.
- In most contexts Deacons serve as a part of a local church ministry team as an Assistant Minister, or as a Chaplain.
- Priests may serve as the leader of a local parish (Rector), as a Senior Assistant Minister, a Chaplain, or other role.
- Many ordained ministers of working age receive a stipend (payment) from a local church or other church organisation to enable them to set aside their time to devote to this ministry.
Women and Ordination
The Diocese of Tasmania encourages the ministry of both women and men in all spheres of our church life. We support the ordination of women in the Church as deacons and priests, and women have significant leadership roles in the Diocese. We recognise a diversity of views on this topic. We do not require a specific view to be held by our ministry leaders, however we expect all our ministry leaders to act with charity in accordance with this policy, and to be raising up and training more women to serve as God has gifted them.
Steps to discernment
Because of the importance of selecting church leaders, this can be a lengthy process taking some years (particularly for Ordination).
- This is the most important qualification for any Christian leader. You can see examples of this in choosing leaders in Acts 6, 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
- Christian leaders exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26).
- In the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania all vocational and/or ordained ministers are screened and trained through our Safe Church Communities program.
- If you have the aspiration to serve God in a vocational or ordained ministry that can be a good and God-given desire (eg. 1 Timothy 3:1).
- Such service will involve many challenges, as well as joys, and so this God-given desire is very important.
Recognised by others
- Taking on a church leadership role needs the recognition and support of others, and often begins with the suggestion of other church leaders.
- Ordination or other paid positions come after an often lengthy process of discerning whether that recognition and support from others is present.
- Please read the Diocesan Vision to see if you have the same heart for serving Jesus that we do.
- The Anglican Diocese of Tasmania has significant theological study requirements for ordained/vocational ministry positions. At times there may be some support given to complete this study where a person’s potential suitability for Ordination is recognised. We have a formal partnership with Ridley Theological College which includes a local cohort of Tasmanian Anglican students studying online at degree level, supported by Diocesan and Ridley staff.
- Some churches have part-time Traineeships, which can help begin a person’s training, and also give them some experience of what vocational ministry involves.
- A Christian leader will show a strong commitment to the Scriptures and sound doctrine:
- Leadership from well-trained biblically orthodox clergy: All the clergy in the Diocese will have a lively and growing relationship with Jesus and be convinced of the Bible’s centrality, with a commitment to preaching and teaching it. Rectors will be highly skilled leaders of change, mission, and disciple-making ministries. They will be committed to ongoing personal and professional development, and review. (Diocesan Vision p11)
Gifts and Experience
- A vocational or ordained minister will not be a recent convert but have shown commitment to being a disciple of Jesus over time.
- Various ministries require particular gifts (such as teaching or leadership) which can be recognised by the church. You may need to test out your gifts in a local church to discover them or talk to your church leader.
- Whilst some ministries can only be exercised after Ordination, a person seeking Ordination or vocational ministry will have already had some experience in leading ministries and be showing the aptitude to multiply ministry (make disciples who will make disciples) and see their fruitfulness recognised by others.
Where to next?
- Take some time to think and pray about the things opposite.
- Books – here are some books you could read:
- Discerning your call to ministry (Jason Allen)
- Now that I’m called: A Guide for Women Discerning a Call to Ministry (Kristen Padilla)
- Bishop’s Training Event – Bishop Richard regularly runs a “Consider Ministry” workshop at this annual event.
- The Archdeacon for Women runs occasional events for women considering ministry and leadership. Ask your local Rector for her details.
- Positions vacant are advertised on the Diocesan website. Reading through various position descriptions and requirements may assist you in discerning where you can serve God.
- Talk to your Rector or another experienced Christian leader. Usually a person will have gone through some months or years of discernment in their local church, and have a recommendation from their Rector, before speaking to a Diocesan representative about Ordination.
- After you have gone through the steps above, if you would like to speak further about Ordination or another vocational ministry with a Diocesan representative, please contact Stephen Carnaby, the Director of Ministry Development .