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Candidacy Process for the Deacon, Elder, and Local Pastor
Inquiring Candidate: 2016 Book of Discipline ¶ 310
- Contact your pastor, district superintendent (DS), or another deacon or elder
Read The Christian as Minister
Beginning Candidacy: ¶ 310.1.a-c
- Member of The United Methodist Church or baptized participant of a recognized United Methodist campus ministry or other United Methodist ministry setting for one (1) year
- Apply to DS in writing, including statement of call; ask for admission to candidacy program and assignment of a candidacy mentor
- Complete candidacy online enrollment and $75 payment
- Complete beginning stages of candidacy by attending the Candidacy Summit and participating in the group candidacy mentoring process with a trained candidacy mentor.
Declaring Candidacy: ¶ 310.1.d, e
- High school degree or equivalent is required
- Request interview by Pastor/Staff Parish Relations Committee or equivalent in your ministry setting; provide statement of call; and responses to disciplinary questions in 310.1.d
- Request recommendation by charge conference or equivalent as specified by district committee
- Continue candidacy program with group candidacy mentor and academic requirements
Certified Candidacy: ¶ 310.2
Completion of the following:
- Written response to ministry questions in ¶ 310.1.d and .2a
- Psychological assessment, criminal background, and credit check
- Notarized statement certifying have neither been accused in writing nor convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or any incident of sexual misconduct or child abuse
- Provide other information upon request
- Agree to make a complete dedication to the highest ideals of the Christian life
- Examination and approval by district committee on ordained ministry
Local Pastor - Completed candidacy certification, licensed, and assigned a clergy mentor ¶315
Continuing Candidacy: ¶ 313
- Annual recommendation by charge conference
- Annual interview and approval by district committee
- Annual report of satisfactory progress of studies and copy of transcripts from university or school of theology
Completing Candidacy: ¶ 324
- Certified candidate for minimum of one (1) year, maximum twelve (12) years
- One (1) year in service ministry
- Completion of one-half the basic graduate theological studies to be eligible for commissioning
- Health certificate completed by medical doctor
- Written and oral doctrinal exam and written autobiographical statement
- Interview and recommendation by three-fourths vote of district committee
- Interview and recommendation by the board or ordained ministry
- Election to provisional membership by clergy session
Commissioned to ministry of elder or deacon as provisional member
Elders are ordained to a lifetime ministry of Service, Word, Sacraments, and Order. They are authorized to preach and teach the Word of God, to administer the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and to order the life of the Church for mission and ministry. The servant leadership of the elder is expressed by leading the people of God in worship and prayer, by leading persons to faith in Jesus Christ, by exercising pastoral supervision in the congregation, and by leading the Church in obedience to mission in the world. Elders itinerate - appointed by the Bishop to serve where needed.
Deacons give leadership in the Church's life: in the teaching and proclamation of the Word; in worship, and in assisting the elders in the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper; in forming and nurturing disciples; in conducting marriages and burying the dead; in the congregation's mission to the world; and in leading the congregation in interpreting the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. Deacons are persons called by God, authorized by the Church, and ordained by a bishop to a lifetime ministry of Word, Service, Compassion, and Justice to both the community and the congregation in a ministry that connects the two. Deacons are non-itinerate – they negotiate service appointment and the Bishop grants the appointment.
Local pastors (full time or part-time) approved annually by the district committee on ordained ministry may be licensed by the bishop to perform all the duties of a pastor, including the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion as well as the service of marriage (where state laws allow), burial, confirmation, and membership reception, while appointed to a particular charge.
Chaplaincy and Related Ministries
One of the ways ordained clergy serve God through the church is through ministries of witness and service which extend Christ's love and justice. Deacons and elders in ministries of pastoral care in specialized settings as chaplains and pastoral counselors are endorsed by The United Methodist Endorsing Agency. Persons serving in these unique settings are expected to have specialized training to qualify for endorsement. Serving in extension ministries or appointments beyond the local church include: military chaplains, hospital chaplains, Industrial chaplains/workplace ministry, prison chaplains, and pastoral counselors.
Ministry in Higher Education
The United Methodist Church supports more than 700 persons who serve as ministers in higher education as campus ministers, campus chaplains, professors, etc. as they minister to the needs of students, faculty, staff, and administration.
Missionaries serve in many different capacities to enable the church's mission. They may serve as teachers in mission schools and on college campuses, or serve on staffs of church-related social welfare agencies as executive directors, program directors, outreach workers, and community organizers. Missionaries serving beyond the U.S. carry out mission strategies within the context of the cultural and historical understandings out of which relationships have developed with Christian communities in these nations.
Specialized Ministry Certification
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has developed standards for certifying professional ministry careers in the areas of camp/retreat ministry, children’s ministry, Christian education, collegiate ministry, evangelism, ministry with people with disabilities, ministry with the poor, music ministry, older adult ministry, spiritual formation ministry, urban ministry, and youth ministry. UMCOM provides certification in Christian Communications. The General Council on Finance and Administration provides a certification for Church Business Administration.
Candidacy Program Resources
The Christian as Minister
This is the basic resource for those considering ministry. Be sure to get the eighth edition 2013. The book, which can be ordered from Cokesbury, introduces you to the different forms of ministry, such as elder, deacon, local pastor, chaplaincy, mission work, and professional certified ministry.
The Candidacy Guidebook
After being a member of The United Methodist Church for one year
s (with one year of service in some form of congregational leadership), talking with your pastor and reading the Christian as Minister, apply in writing to your District Superintendent for admission into the candidacy program and you will attend the Candidacy Summit and be assigned a group candidacy mentor. You will be invited by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Online Candidacy Process (UMCARES) to receive a Candidacy Guidebook. Cost for the guidebook is $75.00.
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