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Is licensed or ordained ministry right for you?

Bishop Bruce R. Ough

Dear Friends in Christ,

Across North and South Dakota and in Minnesota, we are on a shared journey toward God’s vision of each congregation growing in its capacity to love God and neighbor, reach new people, and heal a broken world—all to the glory of God and the fulfillment of our mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Let me tell you a bit about ministry in the Dakotas-Minnesota Area:

We are investing in the future. Systems are in place to bring new leaders on board, including internships, coaching, financial education, and debt relief. New clergy are immediately eligible for financial benefits.

We are growing. Across the area, we have started more than 10 new worshipping communities in the past two years and are working to substantially increase that number. The area is the home of Embrace Church, one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States.

We have churches that practice and measure signs of vitality. More than 125 churches are engaged in revitalization processes, resulting in increased numbers of baptisms, professions of faith, and people doing mission work outside the church walls.

I ask that you prayerfully consider joining us to reach the next person for Jesus. As you discern, I and all United Methodists in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota will be lifting you up in prayer.

In Christ’s love and service,

Bruce R. Ough, Resident Bishop
Dakotas-Minnesota Area, The United Methodist Church

Why choose to become an elder, deacon, or licensed local pastor?

Do you have a heart for people and a passion for reaching new people with God’s message of grace?

Are you gifted with leadership skills and can you speak truth with compassion?

Are you open to the mystery of the Holy Spirit and are you growing in your relationship with God?

Does your heart break for the broken world and do you respond with actions, prayers, and finances?

Then you may be called to professional ministry! This is rewarding and challenging work that can provide meaning and purpose to your life and the lives you impact. The role of clergy is multi-dimensional, creative, and innovative and often brings abundant opportunities for deep personal fulfillment and growth. Studies have found that clergy have one of the highest levels of job satisfaction.

The Minnesota Conference of the United Methodist Church is looking for passionate leaders who are fruitful, on fire for Christ, and faithful in their work and witness. If you feel called to professional ministry, take a deeper look at your options and the first steps you’ll take in the journey to becoming clergy in the Minnesota Conference!

Why choose to serve in the Minnesota Conference?

We are a movement that’s about changing the world. We come alongside our leaders, invest in them, and develop their skills so that they are equipped to make a difference in their communities and reach new people for Christ.

We care about our leaders and are deeply committed to helping them fulfill our shared mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Here are a few ways in which we’re investing in our ordained and licensed leaders:

  • Seminary debt relief: The conference provides $10,000 over five years to shrink your educational loans. Eligible clergy can also apply for additional student debt reduction grants of up to $15,000 over three years. Learn about the many financial aid programs and grants available to Minnesota's current and future clergy.
  • Clergy Leadership Academy: We know clergy need support, especially in their first appointment. The conference offers a three-year program for new pastors to learn about leadership styles and strengths, building leadership capacity, and practices of fruitful congregations.
  • Strategic appointments: We intentionally place clergypersons in settings where giftedness and congregational needs match.
  • Lilly grant to strengthen leaders: The Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment to address challenges facing pastoral leaders. Funds are being used to help pastors develop stronger financial literacy skills, reduce or eliminate personal debt, and become equipped to foster a theology of generosity within their congregations.
  • Proven help for “stuck” churches: The conference invests significant resources in three established transformational processes for churches of all sizes and supports church leadership with specific prescriptions and coaching.
  • Church planting: The conference consistently has at least a dozen new church starts being nurtured and is planting more churches all the time in high-potential geographic areas. We are committed to reaching new people for Christ.
  • Church-school partnerships: More than 55 churches in the conference have partnered with a local school to provide abundant life for God’s children. Partnerships include everything from supplying backpacks, clothing, or weekend meals to tutoring students.
Photo credit: jpellgen

Why live in Minnesota?

  • The Land of 10,000 Lakes (actually 11,000) has more shoreline than California, Hawaii, and Florida combined and is home to the beautiful Lake Superior coastline stretching from Duluth to Canada.
  • We have four distinct seasons; yes, there is winter, but Minnesota excels at snow removal! We also have gorgeous springs, warm and sunny summers, and crisp autumns. We love them all.
  • In 2018, U.S. News & World Report named Minnesota the second-best state based on factors including health care, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and corrections, fiscal stability, and quality of life. It’s home to a whole host of well-known companies, including Target, Cargill, General Mills, 3M, Best Buy, and U.S. Bank—and it has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.
  • Minnesota has some of the best K-12 schools anywhere and consistently boasts one of the highest average ACT scores in the country.
  • There are fantastic hiking, cross-country skiing, camping, and canoeing opportunities throughout the state, which also has a strong bike culture, a vibrant arts scene, a wide variety of music, scads of coffee shops, and three United Methodist camps that offer a wide array of programs and opportunities.

In their own words: licensed and ordained leader profiles

Read the call to ministry stories of several of our ordained and licensed leaders, and why they like serving in the Minnesota Conference.

Leah Rosso: Elder 
The Minnesota Conference has a collective mission of growing in love of God and neighbor, reaching new people, and healing a broken world. I appreciate this three-fold focus because it means that I get to be a healthy, whole person, even as I am leading a healthy and whole church.  Read more

Terri Horn: Elder
God called me when I was in college, and I finished my master of divinity soon after, but family challenges sent me into nursing, where I spent the next 20-plus years believing that God would let me “off the hook.” But God was quite persistent, despite all of my dodging... One week after I left nursing, I stepped into my role as pastor. I am now where I have always belonged!  Read more

Tyler Sit: Elder
My friends and I started New City Church. As a church plant, we built everything from scratch, which was perfect because we knew we wanted to do church differently... In seminary, I realized that I could not not church plant—I knew that for the sake of my community and the gospel, we needed New City Church. The Minnesota Conference not only embraced me with open arms but also funded extended learning experiences so I was well prepared to start a church. My clergy colleagues and I have received enormous receptivity to trying new things and starting new communities.  Read more

Whitney Sheridan: Elder
I was not raised attending church. It wasn’t until I was 16 that my parents felt compelled by the Spirit to join a church... Very quickly, church became part of our life as a family. During a mission trip that summer, it was affirmed to me by a classmate that I had gifts for pastoral ministry, and my discernment process began.  Read more

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058