How do I become a candidate for ordained ministry or licensed local ministry?
Meet with your Pastor first.
If you feel like you might be called to ordained ministry, seek out some time to talk with your pastor. She will be the one to help you discern the path God is leading you down. He will likely offer you a book to read called, Christian As Minister.
Contact your District Superintendent.
If you and your pastor feel that licensed local ministry or ordained ministry is the work God is calling you to, your next step is to write your District Superintendent. Ask your pastor if you are not sure who that is. In your letter or email talk about your call to ministry and ask to begin the candidacy process. Your District Superintendent may want to meet with you so that you can discuss your call in person. You will tell your call story many times; this is a great way to practice. Depending on your conversation with your District Superintendent you will become a declared candidate and be registered in UMCARES (United Methodist Candidate and Record Entry System) and assigned a mentor to help you complete the next steps of the process.
Every step in the candidacy process is now tracked and completed online using UMCARES. You, your mentor and your District Superintendent have different tasks to complete through this system, and some of the information the District Committee on Ministry will need to meet with you should be accessed through this system.
Then broaden the conversation.
If this experience continues to affirm your call to ordained ministry, you are ready for the Orientation to Ministry event (O2M). This free event happens once a year, the day before annual conference in June. During O2M you will have the opportunity to hear about the various paths of ministry, learn more about the ordination process, speak with representatives from the UM seminaries and more. O2M is also a requirement to become a certified candidate and registration is mandatory to attend the event.
In the meantime, have your pastor bring you to your church’s Pastor-Parish Relations Committee (or equivalent body) to involve a wider group of people in your call. The Pastor-Parish Relation Committee will interview you in light of these historic questions from John Wesley (¶ 310.1.d The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline):
- Do they know God as pardoning God? Have they the love of God abiding in them? Do they desire nothing but God? Are they holy in all manner of conversation?
- Have they gifts, as well as evidence of God’s grace, for the work? Have they a clear, sound understanding; a right judgment in the things of God; a just conception of salvation by faith? Do they speak justly, readily, clearly?
- Have they fruit? Have any been truly convinced of sin and converted to God, and are believers edified by their service?
The Pastor-Parish Relation Committee (or equivalent body) will then vote to approve you to continue in the process.
And that’s when your church will Make It Official.