Follow the paths of ministry

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.”  —1 Corinthians 12:4-6

If you feel called to professional ministry in The United Methodist Church, there are several ways in which to serve:

Elder: Elders are ordained for ministries of word (preaching and teaching), sacrament (communion and baptism), order (administration), and service. Most elders serve as pastors, though some serve as chaplains, campus ministers, professors, or in other ministry settings. Those ordained as an elder have met specific educational requirements. Read more about the ministry of elders.

Deacon: Deacons are ordained for ministries of word, service, compassion, and justice and serve as a bridge between the church and the world. Many deacons serve in agencies outside the church, in ministries of outreach, mission, and justice. Others serve within the local church, as associate pastors, or in areas such as Christian education, youth, children, music, or missions. Those ordained as a deacon have met specific educational requirements. Read more about the ministry of deacons.

Licensed local pastor: Local pastors are licensed for ministries of word, sacrament, order, and service in a particular congregation. The educational requirements and procedures are different for local pastors than for elders. Read more about the ministry of licensed local pastors and the educational requirements.

Lay person: Through baptism, we are each called to serve God and others. Lay people may be called to serve through a secular career, their role in their family, or as a lay staff person or volunteer in their congregation, district, or conference. Read more about the ministry of laity. / Learn about lay servant ministry opportunities within the Minnesota Conference.

The candidacy process

Start with these inquiry steps:

  • Contact your district superintendent (your pastor can provide you that information) or a deacon or elder.
  • Read The Christian as Minister (recommended but not required). Your district superintendent can tell you more about this.
  • Participate in the Ministry Inquiry Process (recommended but not required). Your district superintendent can tell you more about this.

Then pursue candidacy:

After you’ve completed these inquiry steps and have the encouragement of your district superintendent, you may begin the candidacy process. This requires:

  • Your membership in the United Methodist Church (or status as a baptized participant of a recognized United Methodist campus ministry or other United Methodist ministry setting) for one year
  • Your application to your district superintendent in writing, including statement of call and request to enter the candidacy program and assignment of a candidacy mentor
  • Completion of online enrollment (your district superintendent will provide instructions) and payment of $75 enrollment fee
  • Completion of beginning stages of candidacy process with candidacy mentor

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry provides more information about the candidacy process.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058