Holiday Season – Good Time to Get Ordained

Ordained minister performs a holiday weddingWe have entered the end-of-year holidays, the most powerful holiday season of every year. At this time, spiritual energy really surges and many people feel called “home” to religion or faith tradition. Many people also answer the call to the ministry.

Get Ordained to Perform a Wedding

There are a lot of weddings this time of year (second only to June wedding season) and thus many become an ordained minister or rabbi in order to officiate a marriage. We ordain a lot of clergy in order that they may perform a wedding.

Get Ordained to Offer Spiritual Advice or Counseling

But also, there is an uptick every year this time in people becoming ordained in order to offer spiritual guidance, spiritual counseling to the slice of humanity that surrounds them.  A person often realizes they should become ordained when they notice friends and co-workers, even family are coming to them almost daily asking for spiritual advice. They are literally already acting as informal clergy, and the next step is ordination to make it legal (and be able to accept donations). That, of course, is where our Seminary comes in.  We ordain ministers and rabbis of all callings and denominations — even non-denominational!

Have you heard the Call to Ordination?

If you have felt that pull, that tug on your soul-strings, it might be time for you to become an ordained member of the clergy. We do all the legal paperwork and help you begin your destiny of helping humanity fulfill its vital spiritual needs.  You may go on to found your own non-profit religious organization or church, or you may continue to serve your community as a spiritual guide.

So much attention is paid to physical and mental needs, but ordained clergy serve a vital purpose helping their people connect to SPIRITUAL needs.

Bizarre Marriage Laws You Might Be Breaking!

This is a cute article: 13 Surprising Marriage Laws You Might be Breaking Right Now!

As you know, our church and seminary can ordain you as a minister or rabbi so that you may perform weddings and legally officiate marriages.  But according to the amusing article above, if a couple gets married in Delaware because of a “dare, or in jest”, then they can get an anulment. So a lot of people must have been saying,  “I dare you to marry me!” in the state of Delaware.

I like the historical black and white photographs the article displays with each bizarre marriage law. One is a bride and groom handcuffed together, I think in Tennessee.  They list funny (I would say bizarre!) marriage laws in South Carolina, Massachusetts, Kentucky,  Vermont, Mississippi and Kansas.

We help our clergy with all the paperwork after ordination, too.  Currently we have a minister getting ready to officiate a marriage in Pennsylvania, a Rabbi performing a marriage in Texas, and other ministers officiating weddings in New York, California, and Florida. Next week there are several more, one in Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Nevada.

If you ever decide to become ordained in order to officiate a wedding, or because a bride and groom wanted to choose their own marriage officiant, we can help you navigate through all the legal paperwork. We even advise you how to fill out the marriage license on the wedding day.  We do that quite often for our ordained clergymen and women.

Ordination and Doctorate Degree Ceremony

By distance learning, by “remote”, the Seminary can legally ordain you as a minister and confer upon you a religious Doctorate Degree, Ph.D., Doctor of Divinity, Theology, etc.   You submit the information and we process and ship your new clergy credentials.  And then YOU can take it to the next level as this recent graduate did (see photos below), organizing a lovely ordination ceremony and graduation ceremony complete with presentation of the diploma and laying on of hands ordination.

Get your PhD Doctor of Divinity Theology Metaphysics Religion Doctor of Divinity online Become ordainedOnline Ordination PhD Degree Diploma

Definition of Ordination and to be Ordained

I have been trying to find the ancient definition of the word “ordination” and “ordained” that I once read. I read years ago that ordination is a word that meant in ancient Hebrew “to have the [divine] tools of God’s work placed in your hands.”

Become ordained minister by laying on of handsOur other bishop here at the seminary sent me a link to Archbishop Campbell’s website. ++Campbell says this about ordination:

“Finally, let me stress that neither the Bible nor the law requires laying on of hands for legitimate or legal ordination. Policy on minister ordination…allows for ordination by a variety of methods…however all methods of ordination will follow and be in an apostolic manner upholding the historic lines of apostolic succession.

(Note: In Acts 14:23 the word “appointed” or “ordained” can mean (1)
to stretch out the hand, (2) to appoint [ordain] by show of hands or (3) to
appoint or elect [or ordain] without regard to the method. Source: NIV Study
Bible).

Writing Your Spiritual History to Become Ordained

Become Ordained Online OrdinationTo become an ordained minister or rabbi via our Interfaith Seminary, all candidates must write their spiritual history. Many who apply for ordination are not sure how to write it, so we email them back and say just hit reply and type up the story of religion and spirituality in your life from childhood to present. Here is what one of our recently ordained ministers came up with.

I was born and raised into the Catholic faith. My earliest childhood memory is actually of a Sunday morning where my mom was explaining to me to be good at church. I asked her what church was and she described the way the church looked with its tall ceilings and columns and I remembered what she was talking about.

 

I went to Catholic school. There was a big difference between going to my family’s church on Sundays and the three days we’d go to church in a school week. Where Sundays were so warm and I loved the priest, school church was cold, boring and it seemed as if I was always in trouble with a nun for taking my eyes off the altar.

 

As I grew older, I had questions. Like how come the Bible says that God told us to put no other Gods before Him, yet we were praying to Jesus’ mother, step father and a whole buffet of saints.

 

When I stopped being afraid of the nuns I started demanding answers to questions like these. But the nuns at my school wouldn’t answer the hard questions. They would make you feel stupid in front of the class for asking.

 

My last straw with the nuns came when I refused to believe that wearing a scapula would automatically send you to heaven if you died while wearing one. My question to the nun that day was what if while Hitler was sleeping, someone slipped a scapula around his neck and then he died without knowing he was wearing it.

 

I caught her off guard and while I believe she should have had an answer, getting stumped by an eighth grader really made her angry. I was sent to the principal who was also a nun and again, no answers were given.

 

In high school we had one nun but she was a different order. Her advice to us in my religion class was to forget everything the Dominican nuns had taught us.

 

That made me mad. I had just spent 8 years duking it out with the nuns for nothing it seemed.

 

That’s when I started to question it all.

 

That’s when I started a slow and downward spiral into the life of Godlessness where I wound up eventually on drugs and sleeping with many women, stealing and none of it bothered me for a second because I had become an immoral and selfish person. All my Catholic education had taught me was how to ignore God.

 

Many years later I married a woman I thought I was destined to marry. We had a child together. I felt complete but something was missing. I filled that emptiness with drinking which led me to cheat on my wife. After she left me and took my precious daughter away, I sank to the lowest point of my life.

 

Through that darkness my mother kept in touch with me and kept saying things like, “Turn to God” which I laughed at. Hearing that kind of advice was ridiculous to me.

 

I felt suicidal.

 

One morning I went for a walk. I was so depressed. I was sick with it. I was reviewing my life choices and I had just had enough.

 

I stood still and looked up into the sky and verbally asked God to take over. I told Him I was tired of screwing everything I ever did up. I begged Him to come and fix me. I started crying and begging and all these deep buried issues started to bubble up and I might have been babbling and choking through tears and sobs but after a few minutes, God showed up. I felt His presence.

 

God fixed me on the spot. I felt hope and had a knowledge that everything was going to be ok. I had been forgiven. God had just made me a brand new man.

 

That’s when I started to see all those times in my life that were the darkest, He was right there with me. God was always there, even though I had totally ignored Him, he never left my side.

 

I started going to a Baptist church near my house.

 

My wife came back.

 

I started reading the Bible.

 

I began seeking God more and more and my life just kept turning around.

 

I still attend a Baptist church, but I believe His love is bigger than even my church could understand.

 

I feel like they get hung up on social issues like homosexuality when adultery would be a better choice in a church full of straight people. Plus, in the Bible, Jesus explains the three type of men who don’t marry women.

 

In Matthew 19 he says…

A.) they’re born that way. (homosexuals)

B.) they’re made that way by others. (eunuchs who were castrated)

C.) they choose to live that way for the Kingdom of Heaven. (celibates)

 

I prayed for God to show me in the Bible where Jesus talked about gay people and I found that passage.

 

To me it’s plain and simple, where churches continue to drive people away with Old Testament lessons, Christ opened his arms to anyone that sought Him.

 

I know in my heart that God wants me to learn more and spread His message of love, and I intend to.

* * * * * * * * * *

We were very happy to ordain him and he is now Rev. Crankshaw.

Is your Seminary degree and ordination real? Is this a diploma mill?

religious online degree PhD in Metaphysics Spiritual PhilosophyA candidate for ordination and a religious doctorate degree asked recently:

“I’d like to ask you about the Doctor of Divinity and PhD in Spiritual Philosophy.  Does the diploma read Esoteric or Interfaith Theological Seminary and what would keep someone from looking it up online and seeing that only a paper was required?”

Somewhere online there are two negative comments about our seminary dated 2007 and 2009. They are actually forum or blog discussions, asking if the seminary is a “diploma mill”. Some guy without a seminary degree gives his opinion — that we are walking a “fine line” but stops short of calling us a diploma mill, then suggests people attend “real” seminaries if they want a Doctor of Theology, Divinity, PhD in Metaphysics, Religion, etc.

The traditional “mainstream” brick and mortar seminaries have been losing students by the droves, and the people they graduate simply cannot find jobs. It’s no wonder spiritual workers want to come to alternative online seminaries like ours. Even worse, each traditional seminary is denomination-specific (unlike ours) and teaches only a narrow set of religious subjects tailored to their specific belief system.  Worse yet(!), besides taking 4 or 5 years to grant you their degree, they are extremely expensive — student-loan debt is astronomical for clergy.

Our seminary is not only affordable with one-time donation fees for ordination or degree, but we are also completely flexible allowing the candidate to decide what and when they will study. And yes, we give credit for current work in the field! The most successful clergy are those that do not attend brick and mortar seminaries, but simply start preaching / teaching / guiding from wherever they are — even if it’s a house church or rented space in a shopping center. People flock to them because they sense the sincerity and the genuineness of the spiritual “food”. Traditional churches and synagogues are being sold off in the thousands due to chronic empty pew syndrome. Drastic decline in membership has been epidemic for the past two decades while alternative non-denominational self-started places of worship with alternative clergy and spiritual teachers are thriving.

There is a misconception that our seminary “only” requires a thesis paper before we grant a degree. Here is part of what I wrote back to the lady who asked about that.

Become an ordained minister online ordination spiritual counselor teacher PhDA religious degree means you become a Doctor of the Church.  The word Doctor comes from the Greek word meaning “Teacher.” The original doctors were spiritual teachers, not physical healers. Those are physicians. Something I notice in your spiritual history is in addition to receiving the “Call” to become ordained, you have also received the Call to TEACH, the Call to become a Doctor of Divinity.  There is presently a tremendous need for clergy and Doctors of the Faith.   And considering your current spiritual teaching / counseling / guiding / coaching you sound definitely called to be one, and qualified to be one.

A “funny” thing is, after so many years of screening applicants, we have developed an uncanny knack of recognizing the right candidates, and it seems of drawing only the right applicants to us. For over 25 years the Seminary has never (knock on wood) accidentally granted a degree to an unscrupulous person. We’ve had a few close calls over the years, but Providence always seems to intervene and indicate to us this is not someone truly “Called” for ordination or a religious doctorate degree. The candidates to whom the Seminary grants degrees are usually always people already working in the field of spirituality / religion and deserve the credentials they have technically earned through their personal study and work. We ordain many people as minister, rabbi, pastor, reverend, spiritual life coach, etc., but only rarely grant religious doctorate degrees – maybe a dozen per year.

You asked how the Seminary’s name will appear on your degree diploma. Our full name must be on there, which is the Esoteric Interfaith Theological Seminary, in order that the degree be valid. The Seminary is approved to grant religious degrees by the State. Each and every year we have to submit an affidavit to the State describing what we do, reaffirming that we only grant religious degrees to deserving people working in clergy-type fields (religion, spirituality), and that we only use specific degree titles with clearly religious words in them, such as PhD in Religion, PhD in Metaphysics, Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Theology, and the PhD in Spiritual Philosophy that you are seeking.

As you mentioned, a handful of visitors to the Seminary’s website per year do indeed criticize our educational method because we don’t demand they sit through four+ years of denomination-specific classes at a brick and mortar school. We put candidates through an application process, require written work, thorough description of what religious work the candidate is currently doing in the field of spirituality, a detailed description of their goals as clergy and how they will use their ordination and/or degree. The spiritual history compilation and the writing of a doctorate level thesis (or masters level thesis, or Bachelors research paper) are large written works required from each and every candidate before ordination or a degree can be conferred upon them.  We have hundreds of lessons online, that all applicants are invited to study if the particular lesson appeals to them. Most of our lessons are optional (only required if you want a transcript) because as mentioned above, most people who study here are already spiritual leaders, teachers or spiritual / pastoral counselors.

Furthermore, we only grant degrees to active clergy. If a person is not an ordained minister or other clergy when they come to us, the Seminary’s parent church will ordain them for free as a requirement for the religious degree. Communities are in great need of clergy and religious teachers who give people guidance that truly resonates with their life. People crave spiritual teachings and religious “systems” that make sense in today’s world, not something that only makes sense thousands of years ago — although it’s especially awesome when a teaching applies to BOTH ancient man and current humanity!

PhD in Spiritual Counseling Religion Doctor of Theology Divinity Life CoachAs the seminary repeatedly reminds everyone in our online lessons, we humans are 3-part beings, Mind-Body-Spirit. For too long people have ignored or suppressed their spiritual third. Many (most?) are asleep to their spiritual side, but for those actively seeking spiritual “food” aka teachings, for those wanting to “awaken”, we want teachers (like you) to be out there ready to point the way, gently guide, suggest, lead, inspire – and above all READY TO SERVE. Serving the religious and spiritual needs of a community is a very high Calling indeed. It’s a calling with a capital “C”, as the saying goes. That much has not changed over thousands of years.

In the past there have been restrictions on who gets to answer that Call, and who gets to be “certified” and “labelled” as clergy, as religious doctors aka teachers. For instance, women have not been able to answer that Call until quite recently. And there are restrictions put on even the men — “requirements” and “rules” for who can do spiritual teaching, preaching, advising, life coaching. You have to be approved by committee and “authorities”.

Our Seminary and the Esoteric Interfaith Church, Inc. that founded it, believe only the Divine can choose who gets ordained, who gets degreed as a Doctor (“Teacher”) of the Faith. There should be no restrictions on who is allowed to answer the Call, as long as they espouse a positive spirituality, no matter if they are male or female, seminary trained or self-trained. When the Call comes to a person it is a very intimate, powerful, personal event. Who has the right to demean or disparage a person answering that Call to ordination, spiritual healing or teaching?

Of course clergy should be put through an application process where all who want clergy credentials are screened to make sure they are not pretending to have been Called, not intending to use their clergy status to harm others while claiming to want to help them.  We screen all our applicants via the application process, the compilation of the spiritual history, etc. and require them to make a pledge to use their ordination status only for the service of humanity. Each candidate must make that pledge or their application is not approved.

One major goal of the Esoteric Interfaith Theological Seminary and its parent the Esoteric Interfaith Church, Inc. is to end up with graduates spread across the country, in every state, in every county and city,  We actually have dozens of alumni now in many countries all around the world, including places you might not expect such as China, the Middle East, Nigeria, Indonesia (struggling population there as Islam continues to take over all aspects of life).

Our alumni give the people they serve an alternative to the restrictive, exclusive “club”, tired-old forms of religion. Today’s spiritual seeker wants a new kind of clergy, someone who can give them spiritual gems they can put to use immediately in their life. If you weren’t one of those “different kind of clergy”, it is my firm belief you would not be reading this.

spiritual counselor pastor reverend rabbi

You can read more about some of these legal issues on our FAQ page here:  http://northernway.org/faq.html

Get Ordained: to see the three-step process how to become an ordained minister, visit this page.

See our religious degree programs here, and for the PhD specifically go here.

Pastoral Counseling as an Ordained Minister

One of our ordained ministers, a Licensed Interfaith Minister and Pastoral Counselor, posted to our alumni forum about pastoral counseling in his state. Because the government does not control a minister, rabbi, priest, etc., clergy are exempt from the licensing requirement. They are offering religious / spiritual counseling, usually called in legal circles “pastoral counseling”, and not mental health counseling. No license other than legal ordination of course, is required for a clergy-person to be able to give spiritual / religious guidance.

Our alumnus asked:

Legal Question: Georgia does not license pastoral counselors. But I’m wondering what the legal parameters of pastoral counseling entails and if my minister’s license allows me to provide this service.

I’m also wondering if anyone has sought pastoral counseling / psychotherapy licensure through the Pastoral Medical Association.”

A faculty member (who knows the Law) responded:

You may want to review the licensing exemptions in GA Code 43-10A-7 and contact the appropriate state agencies for any needed clarification, especially as to (11). As usual, this is not legal advice, seek counsel in your state, etc….

a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a person who is not licensed under this chapter shall not practice professional counseling, social work, or marriage and family therapy, nor advertise the performance of such practice, nor use the title “professional counselor,” “associate professional counselor,” “social worker,” “marriage and family therapist,” or “associate marriage and family therapist,” nor use any words, letters, titles, or figures indicating or implying that the person is a professional counselor, associate professional counselor, social worker, marriage and family therapist, or associate marriage and family therapist or is licensed under this chapter.

(b) The prohibition of subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to the following persons:

(9) Active members of the clergy but only when the practice of their specialty is in the course of their service as clergy;

(10) Members of religious ministries responsible to their established ecclesiastical authority who possess a master’s degree or its equivalent in theological studies;

(11) Persons engaged in the practice of a specialty in accordance with Biblical doctrine in public or nonprofit agencies or entities or in private practice;

Start Your Own Church, Ministry, Spiritual Healing / Counseling Practice

Found a Church or Spiritual Healing Counseling Center Become ordainedWe help you become an ordained minister, so that you can found your own Church or ministry, start a Spiritual Healing Counseling Center, Incorporate as a church and become tax-exempt, thus being able to accept donations for your spiritual services.

For two decades now the Seminary has helped clergy get ordained and start their own churches and spiritual counseling / healing practices. Online here since 1999 we help you with all the paperwork to become ordained legally in three easy steps. You can then start the spiritual teaching and counseling, accept donations, and do the clergy work you have always felt called to do.

When ordained by us you become a wedding officiant at the same time, and can perform a wedding or weddings. You will have the legal ability to officiate marriages in all 50 states.

Some of our graduates have set up their own online and telephone spiritual counseling service (for example on Keen dot com) to compliment their live in-person house church, wedding chapel or ministry. A few have established spiritual healing centers where people come for all manner of spiritual services.

There is a great need in our uncertain times for alternative clergy, spiritual practitioners, ministers, rabbis, and anyone who can provide the public with the spiritual services mainstream churches, temples and synagogues deny them because they are not a member.

The Seminary also offers religious doctorate degrees such as the PhD in Religion, Metaphysics, the Doctor of Divinity, and Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) to those who want to enhance their minister credentials with a degree and the status of spiritual doctor. Free ordination with every degree if you are already not an ordained minister or other clergy.

PhD in Religion, Pastoral Counseling, Metaphysics, with a Concentration

Get a degree online PhD Pastoral Counseling Metaphysics ReligionCustomize your PhD Title

For years now the seminary has offered religious PhD degrees in Metaphysics, Religion, Religious Studies, Ministry, Pastoral Counseling, Spiritual Counseling, etc. Degree candidates can customize their PhD according to the work they are doing in the field of spirituality. Some are working in a spiritual healing center, or maintaining a spiritual counseling practice as a part of their ministry. (All of our PhD’s and Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Theology graduates must become ordained as clergy by us — which is free with their degree — if they are not already ordained elsewhere).

PhD with a Concentration

Not only can you choose your PhD discipline and thus your PhD title, you can also add a concentration on your degree diploma. For example, last month we conferred a PhD in Metaphysics with a Concentration in Holistic Counseling. Another concentration was PhD in Pastoral Counseling with a concentration in Ministry. There are all manner of ways to describe what you do. You must of course write your thesis / dissertation on that topic, but if it’s the area you are focusing your current spiritual work, writing the thesis about it will go easy.

Get ordained on Easter Sunday

Get ordained become a minister

Certificate of Ordination from our church

There is still time for Easter Sunday ordinations in 2014.  Every year we have people want to become an ordained minister on Easter Sunday.

For centuries since the earliest days of Christianity during the Roman Empire, the traditional day for baptisms and ordinations — either to the priesthood or to become an ordained deacon — were held on Easter Sunday.  It is a tradition many of our clergy want to be a part of.

If you want to be part of this tradition, all you need to do is follow the three steps to ordination, then fill out the online minister application and let us know you want Easter Sunday for your ordination.

(You can actually choose any date that has special meaning to you for your ordination)