I would like to explore ordination in the United Methodist Church. What should I do?
Pray about it! If you feel God leading you to explore ordination talk to your pastor. Ask lots of questions about what life as clergy is like. Ask for honesty, you don’t want a sugar-coated picture that isn’t realistic.
How long is the ordination process?
While it depends on which track you’re taking, most find the process to be longer than they thought it would be. The fact is the United Methodist Church takes great pride in ordaining women and men who are well prepared, well educated, and well trained. What some may see as “jumping through hoops” is really a carefully thought-out process that seeks to mature persons going through it. In general you are looking at several years, but again remember it all depends on your end goal.
What does it mean to call United Methodist clergy “Itinerant”?
The United Methodist church practices itinerancy, which means the church moves pastors every so often. 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. Moves are generally within Conference, but that can still mean moving several hundred miles away.
How much are clergy paid?
The United Methodist Church goes to great lengths to provide its clergy with fair pay and benefits. In fact, the UMC continues to rank among the most generous of organizations in terms of benefits packages. Still, the fact is no one is going to get rich in any form of ministry, and that should be dealt with realistically up front.
If I’m a pastor do I automatically get to live in a Parsonage (church-owned home) for free?
No, not necessarily. Not every church owns a parsonage, though most do. When new appointments are made clergy are given the option of living in the church’s parsonage if one exists, but they do not have to if they would prefer not to. Contrary to popular belief, becoming a pastor does not mean automatic free housing. If a church does not own a parsonage and if their budget allows, the pastor will be given a housing allowance as part of their salary package.
I love to lead worship, to preach, and to do ministry with people. Is that enough to be a good pastor?
Those things are key to being an effective pastor, for sure. That said, in the United Methodist Church pastors are responsible for overseeing all administrative functions of their church too. With a good administrative staff that can be accomplished. The pastor must be attuned to all the workings of the church and find the staff and lay volunteers whose gifts and skills will help create a well running organization.
Ordained Ministry FAQ
Ready to begin?
Click here to go to the "Candidacy Inquiries" page. On it you will find all the information you need to discern your candidacy path and how to begin the process.
For any questions, contact The South East District Committee on Ordained Ministry (dCOM) Registrar, Elizabeth Flynn