Candidates in Ministry

 
Candidacy FAQ’s
 

Q. I feel called to ministry. What should I do?

A. First and foremost: pray! If you feel God calling you to explore licensing or ordination in the UMC, meet with your pastor.  Ask questions about licensing and ordination and about the process of licensing and ordination; ask about it means to be clergy in the UMC. And, ask for a candid answer, so you can enter the process with realistic expectations. Pray with your pastor knowing we are all called to ministry. The question is: are you called to licensed or ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church?

 

Q. How long is the licensing and/or ordination process?

A. The answer to this question is: it varies. What causes variation? Mostly, education and licensing or ordination track. Most candidates experience the process to be longer than they expected at first. The United Methodist Church takes great pride in licensing and ordaining women and men who are well-prepared, well-educated, and well-trained. The candidacy process is a carefully thought-out process and seeks to mature persons going through it.

 

Q. What does it mean to call United Methodist elders “Itinerant”?

A. The United Methodist church practices itinerancy, which means ordained elders are moved and no appointment is forever. While clergy are usually given a chance to provide their District Superintendent with input on a variety of factors, the Bishop and his/her Cabinet make the final decisions, and they make these decisions based on their prayerful consideration of what the needs of the mission field and local churches are. Our Bishop is clear that in appointment matters, his first consideration is Christ, then the mission field and local church, then the clergy.

 

Q. Speaking of elders, what’s the difference between elders, local pastors, and deacons?

A. This is a question of call. Elders are called to word, sacrament, order, and service. Plus, they are itinerant. Deacons are called to word, service, compassion, and justice. Local Pastors are licensed to word, sacrament, order, and service, but they are called within specific contexts and congregations.

 

Q. What does the Book of Discipline say about the candidacy process?

A. Great question! We encourage you to check out what the 2016 Book of Discipline says about candidacy beginning in ¶310.

 
 
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