There is biblical precedent for setting men apart for special work for God. Those set apart were expected, both by God and His people, to instruct, protect, motivate, and equip God’s people to know and glorify God personally and corporately by obedience to His will, including evangelizing those who were not God’s people, thus participating in building and advancing His Kingdom.
An example of ordination in the Old Testament is the appointment of Aaron’s sons as priests (Exodus 28–29, Leviticus 6–9); in Jesus’ words regarding His choosing and appointing the twelve (John 15:16); in the appointment of Paul and Barnabas for missionary work; in the appointing of elders in the churches by Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:23); and in the appointment of elders by Titus at Paul’s direction (Titus 1:5). In Ephesians 4:11–13, apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors/teachers are described as “given” to God’s people to equip them for serving and living for the Lord Jesus Christ. Timothy was “ordained” to special work for God and His Church (1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6), with Paul and the “body of elders” participating in “laying hands on” Timothy.
The practice of “laying on of hands,” though not limited to activity resembling ordination, has accompanied setting persons apart for God’s work at every ministry level and is an Old and New Testament practice. God shall choose this occasion to impart spiritual gifts and/or special empowerment of the Holy Spirit for the ministry to which that person is called.
In accordance with the Uniform Constitution for Accredited Churches which identifies that “elders shall be male members” and that all pastors are understood to be “elders,” the ordination process is applicable only to male candidates. The consecration process, which acknowledges a woman’s call to serve the Lord’s Church in other equally important roles, will apply to female candidates.
Ordination is the Church’s public recognition of the call from God, distinct from human vocational choice, to men for a lifetime ministry, through speech and exemplary lifestyle, of preaching and teaching the Word of God, protecting God’s people from spiritual enemies and doctrinal heresies, overseeing and promoting the spiritual development of God’s people, and equipping God’s people to fulfill the Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations” for the purpose of knowing and glorifying God by obeying His will and building His Kingdom. The occasion for setting men apart for such ministry is the Church’s affirmation of the candidate’s faithful completion of preparation for ordination through approved education, in-service training, field experience with mentoring for a minimum of two years, and examination by a qualified council of peers.
From Section E-4 of The Official Manual of The C&MA