What Are the Requirements to Become a United Methodist Minister?


Quick Answer

The requirements to become a United Methodist minister are to have a personal faith in Christ, an ability to communicate that faith persuasively, a personal calling to serve as a minister, a commitment to Christian, faithful living as defined by the United Methodist Church, and the appropriate education for the desired position. The church considers these standards minimum, and the voting members approve each candidate individually by vote.

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Full Answer

In its written document, "Qualifications for Ordination," the United Methodist Church says that when God calls a person to ministry, the person behaves in a way that evidences the call. Although the qualifications say that no specific behavior evidence's God's call, the document references tithing and an acceptance of church authority as behaviors demonstrating a call to ministry. The church says it expects ministerial candidates to practice "complete dedication" to Christian living.

To demonstrate dedication to Christian living, a candidate must acknowledge that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ. A person must show knowledge of the Bible, theology and the history of the church. An ability to communicate faith requires the candidate to possess the leadership skills necessary to share the gospel effectively.

Behavioral requirements also include that candidates adopt personal habits that foster good health. Candidates should remain faithful to spouses, if married, or celibate, if single. In addition, the church disqualifies practicing homosexuals from election to ministry. The "Qualifications for Ordination" say that homosexual practice "is incompatible with Christian teaching."

Local pastors need to complete a basic five-year study course. Elders each need a master's degree in divinity from an approved school. A deacon needs either a master's degree in divinity or a master's degree in another discipline with additional divinity study.

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